In Jordan, the Mahali Lab at the International Rescue Committee works with Syrian refugees and socially and economically vulnerable community members to identify and solve challenges posed by long-term displacement. People from within communities can acutely understand them from the inside, but many don’t have access to training, resources, and networks to translate them into solutions.
Mahali Lab undertook three participatory design challenges to foster community engagement in developing solutions to three major issues: access to basic income, improving health services, and strengthening education. Participants built up entrepreneurial teams while working to solve these major challenges. They were able to access co-working space, financial support and access to experts, such as analysts and human-centered designers. The IRC works with teams with the most promising solutions in an effort to find funding and support their implementation, validation and scaling.