The Coca-Cola Foundation, in partnership with INJAZ Al-Arab, today announced the winners of the ninth edition of the “Ripples of Happiness” program.

Ripples of Happiness (ROH) is a youth entrepreneurship program aimed at empowering students to address social challenges in their communities through enterprise. More than 313 students from 13 high schools and universities across the region participated in the ninth edition that was launched in September 2016 and the projects were judged by a panel that includes representatives from Coca-Cola and INJAZ Al-Arab, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank and MasterCard.

The Coca-Cola Company logo
Securing first place in the competition and receiving a $10,000 grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation was a highly motivated team from Hebron University in Palestine for their outstanding “Take a Break” project. Coming in second position and receiving a $7,000 grant was another team from Palestine from the BirZeit University for their “Eureka” project. Last but not the least, a team from Saudi Arabia from the Dar-Al-Hekmah secured third place for their innovative “Bayenah” Project, received a $5,000 grant to implement and expand their project.  

The winning “Take a Break” project from the team at Hebron University in Palestine sought to reduce the risk of electronic addiction, especially among the youth, with the intention to increase social and family bonding. In addition, they also aimed to reduce the psychological problems resulting from excessive use of social networking sites as well as reduce health problems and road accidents due to this addiction.

For the project, the students developed a mobile application that alerts subscribers once they have exceeded an hour of using their mobile devices. Furthermore, the app also provides tips and advice for effective time usage.

INJAZ Al-Arab logo
The second runner-up, that featured the “Eureka” project from a team at BirZeit University in Palestine drew inspiration from a simple yet highly valuable insight on how there is a lack of entities that work to discover, develop and adopt talent in villages and remote areas of the country. The overall goal of this project was to identify their talents and provide them with opportunities to refine their personalities, increase their self-confidence and highlight the importance of talent development within the Palestinian community as well as provide financial and moral support for gifted children if required.

The third runner-up from Dar- Al-Hekmah University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with their ‘Bayenah’ project aimed to educate and raise the awareness on the rights and powers of consumers. In the Kingdom, at times being unaware of basic rights can cause significant and unnecessary problems. Being equipped with this knowledge could prove to be extremely beneficial and less stressful to anyone residing within the country in order for them to carry out their daily activities as consumers.

Akef Aqrabawi, CEO of INJAZ Al-Arab, congratulated the winners and commented on the significant role of the youth in building societies: “The beauty of The Ripples of Happiness program is that it enables important entrepreneurial knowledge to be transferred to the next generation in a fun, yet challenging environment. This empowers students to bring their own ideas to life, while educating them about the importance of social entrepreneurship and its impact on our communities. We are thrilled to continue the partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation to further reach and positively influence hundreds of students across the Arab World.”

Omar Bennis, Director of Public Affairs and Communications at The Coca-Cola Company Middle East, said: “We are delighted to work with Injaz Al Arab for another exceptional edition of the Ripples of Happiness program. At Coca-Cola, we strive to empower and provide young people with the necessary resources to become socially responsible members in their respective communities. This year’s submissions from high school and university students in Saudi Arabia as well as Palestine were incredibly creative and full of innovation as well as the entrepreneurial spirit. We encourage the youth of today to continue to share their ideas with the program and we look forward to seeing how the winners will inspire and positively impact their societies today and in the future.”

The “Ripples of Happiness” program was launched in March 2012 and took place simultaneously in universities across Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. It aimed at training students on identifying opportunities in their countries while inspiring them to implement projects that will have a positive impact within their communities.