Complex Made Simple

The Coca-Cola Foundation’s Ripples of Happiness Youth Empowerment Initiative announces winning community projects

The Coca-Cola Foundation, in partnership with INJAZ Al-Arab, recently declared the winners of the fourth edition of the ‘Ripples of Happiness’ program from a wide variety of projects submitted. Securing the first place position receiving a $10,000 grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation, was a team from Jordan University for their environmental conservation ‘Warm Light’ project.

Dar Al Hakma College in Jeddah came in close second with its child obesity ‘My Health, My Responsibility’ project, which secured them $7,000 grant to implement their idea. The University of Bahrain secured third place and $5,000 for their ‘You are responsible’ or ‘Enta el Mas200l’ project, that will raise awareness of the impact of electronic waste.

A common thread weaves through all the aforementioned commendable projects and that is resourcefulness. The students were given a mere sum of $500 dollars to work with to make them understand the importance of fiscal responsibility. They exemplified this trait seamlessly in their projects and were able to accomplish a lot with a small sum of money.

Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Bin Saqer Al Nehayan, Chairman of INJAZ-UAE and INJAZ al-Arab remarks, “We are thrilled to partner with the Coca-Cola foundation for yet another successful term of the Ripples of Happiness Program. This initiative corresponds with the very essence of Injaz Al Arab, in the sense that it aims to bridge the gap between education and work-force readiness. The Coca-Cola Foundation once again contributes to the cultivation of preparedness and compassion among young students allowing them to leave a positive mark on their respective communities.”

The winning project, ‘Warm Light’, from Jordan University aimed to tackle issues related to environmental conservation by using alternative energy sources. The students used mundane and recycled products to produce power. The end results were a decrease in the cost of lighting and increased heating without the utilization of electricity or petrol- an ideal combination for people living in impoverished communities.

The second runner up, My Health, My Responsibility from Dar Al Hakma college, sought to increase awareness on the issue of child obesity. The students were able to convince several restaurants, including fast food outlets, to provide healthy meal options. They also struck a deal with a leading telecommunications company, to send 5000 text messages raising awareness of obesity to mothers across the Kingdom. A final stunt to raise awareness was setting up an interactive booth in Red Sea mall with a nutritionist on the stand giving free health tips and advises.

The third runner up from the University of Bahrain, Enta el Mas200l, sought to increase awareness and reduce electronic waste via the implementation of a public relations campaign. The University of Bahrain hosts a two-day National Day event at its campus annually, so the students seized this opportunity by having a dynamic booth with activities and games at the event. Over 300 prizes were distributed. Furthermore, students were asked to fill out e-waste surveys and brochures were distributed.

Two other projects worthy of mention, are those of the highly commendable runner-up’s from UAE and Palestine. From Dubai Women’s College , ‘Minutes of Happiness’ was born, a program that sought to assist municipality workers to communicate more with loved ones without spending the majority of their salaries on making calls. This project was especially impressive because the female students demonstrated initiative by breaking down social barriers, entering labor camps and interacting with laborers.

Antoine Tayyar, Director of Public Affairs and Communications Coca-Cola Middle East Region comments, “It brings us great pleasure to witness how the Ripples of Happiness Program continues to gain momentum among the Arab youth and awaken social consciousness in the hearts and minds of every individual the program touches. The aim of Ripples of Happiness is to train the youth on the necessary skill-sets required to identify the problems that arise in their local communities and how to proactively tackle these issues by looking past the problem and into the opportunities. The program also drives public interaction and rallies the support of the society as a whole in aiding the students spread their messages. It truly is a beautiful thing to watch the ripples extend far beyond the end of a semester.”

Students from Palestine Polytechnic University, ‘Bosma & Basma’- leaving a print and a smile project, built a garden/playground for kids with special needs by using every day recycled objects.

The ‘Ripples of Happiness’ program is geared toward empowering the youth and equipping them with the ammunition they need to become socially responsible members of their respective societies. The program also instills a strong sense of entrepreneurship in the participants, and plants seeds of workplace readiness that continue to blossom even after the program has come to an end. The Coca-Cola Foundation joins forces with INJAZ-Al-Arab to train university students in the art of identifying opportunities in their local communities and how to implement projects that will leave a positive impact as a strategy to encourage other members of society to follow their lead, thus creating a ‘ripples effect’ that will continue to spread from one generation to another.

Upon its inception in 2012 the Ripples of Happiness program was rolled out in five countries, and across only two universities in each. Currently, the program has a remarkable presence in six countries and four universities in each. The program now takes place simultaneously across Palestine, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and most recently the United Arab Emirates, reaching 44 Universities with more than 600 participating students in total. An impressive 68 teams participated in the last ROH program, which is a stark contrast to the 24 participating teams when the program was born.

Sarah El Tarzi
Regional Communications Manager
Coca-Cola Middle East
Office: +97144444653

Antoine Tayyar
Public Affairs & Communications Director
Coca-Cola Middle East
Office: +97144444614

Feras Salah
Memac Ogilvy Public Relations, Dubai
Office: +971 (0) 4305 0319