Innovation Awards Finalists

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ShelterTech Finalists

This category focuses on technological innovations (product & services) from the private sector that provide practical solutions to affordable and/or sustainable, resilient housing challenges, and can be commercially scaled and replicated to increase impact on low-income households and communities.

Société industrielle de SOIB


The Tunisian start-up has collaborated with research centers and academic institutions in Tunisia and abroad, establishing itself as an innovator in sustainable construction solutions. It has capitalized on the country's  availability of construction resources such as marble, sand, gravel and gypsum; developing environment-friendly construction materials and creating building moulds that do not require a binding agent such as cement.

The moulds  which interlock, reduce dependency on usage of cement by 90% and  hence reduce construction costs. The moulds provide thermal insulation, and are earthquake- resistant and bulletproof.  Easily dismantled and reinstalled, they have been used for homes, eco-tourism and agricultural projects across Tunisia. Production is energy efficient and  can create as many as 5000 jobs in country with high unemployment amongst its youth.

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Zelij Invent


Zelij Invent aims to support construction stakeholders towards net-zero emissions through  housing solutions  that utilize eco-friendly practices and green technologies. The company transforms plastic waste into construction material. Its 50% plastic waste and cost-effective production process creates  RECYBLOCK; a hollow block that can be used the same way as cement hollow.

Through moving away from using sand as integral component of construction material, and using recycled plastic instead, the company believes it reduces dependency on sand extraction which cause coastal erosion and disrupt ecosystems of oceans and seas. The company has effectively activated its local community for recycling efforts and collaborated with them to develop production techniques and workshops.

The project aims to target households with no access to decent housing in Africa, municipalities and cities committed to sustainability in their efforts to build or maintain infrastructures and green-tech-oriented construction companies. 639 people have participated in the awareness raising and recycling efforts and five cities in Morocco have used the blocks to build houses and/or restore infrastructure.

technology category

Konn Technologies


The populations of the MENA region is expectedto grow by 40%-50% by 2030. To keep up withthis demand, there is a need for 10 million new affordable homes in Jordan, Egypt, KSA, and Iraq inthe next 10 years. But worldwide, most  projects have defects, and more than 80% run over the time and budgets allocated.

This is largely due to the lack of innovation and technology integrations and the outdated practices.Konn addresses this problem by creating innovative technological solutions for fast and affordable production of high-quality housing. It employs offsite and modular construction methods, adapted for the local environment and economy; making sustainable homes attainable to a large number of people, by using modern design and construction technologies to deliver individual homes that are manufactured offsite and assembled onsite in 8-10 weeks.  

The technology aims to improve the quality of residential units in terms of indoor temperature and air quality,  make housing safer and more durable at affordable prices and shorten the time for construction by 75%.

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Best Practices Finalists

This category focuses on policies across all government level that help to reduce housing deficit while taking into considerations the specific needs of minorities, vulnerable and marginalized populations.

International Center for Human Sciences (CISH)


Triggered by the ongoing economic crisis in Lebanon and the dependency on fuel-driven energy solutions,  the International Center for Human Sciences was inspired to initiate a pilot project that would utilize energy efficient solutions and install solar panels in UNESCO heritage sites.

By joining global efforts to mitigate effects of climate change and similanteously contribute to preservation of historical sittes, the center aims to position itself as model that can be replicated across the Arab region. CISH stands ready to shift to an eco-friendly sustainable center serving the community.The center will publish a guide that allows other sites to transition to sustainable and energy efficient solutions.

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Public Works Studio


The Housing Monitor (HM) is a community housing tool developed by Public Works Studio to protect and advancehousing rights in Lebanon. Operational in Beirut and its suburbs, and expanding to cover more cities, the tool is usedby residents from various marginalised social groups to report on housing vulnerabilities and eviction threats.

In response, Public Works Studio provides individualised legal and social services, gathers tenants around shared grievances, and produces knowledge on trends in housing injustices in the form of reports, memos, and stories. In doing so, it empowers marginalised city dwellers to claim their housing rights, while raising attention over detrimental housing policies in Lebanon that have affected vulnerable residents.

To date, Public Works has received more than 700 housing violation and eviction threat reports, for which consultations, legal tips, and landlord negotiations were provided, and tens of evictions were deterred. A specialised emergency reporting channel for city dwellers impacted by the Beirut blast was also created, and over 15 post-Beirut blast community meetings with impacted bene carries were conducted. There is considerable potential to replicate in the MENA region given the current rights-to-the city movements happening in Arab cities. There are activists in Tunis, Cairo, Baghdad, Amman and Kuwait advocating more inclusive, just and sustainable cities.

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The central question of SHAWER’s team in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic, was is it possible for the built environment to be ready and equipped to protect people in the future from the dangers of diseases and epidemics?

Its researchers  thoroughly reviewed all local and international codes, references, and regulations relating to protecting the built environment against diseases and epidemics and  assembled them into a single, reliable scientific and technical framework, and presented a purely Egyptian system for assessing and developing the built environment in the post-pandemic stage.

Futhermore, SHAWER (the Arabic word for consult) wanted to present a new and post- pandemic architectural trend inspired by the country's rich heritage, and founded on scientific and applied technical bases that promoted public heatlh and hygiene. A reference code  was designed that focused on critical issues such as climate change, sustainability, and urbanization, and integrated epidemic mitigation and adaptation framework and policies.

technology category

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