“A few years back, we read a report that showed that in 2019 alone, Palestine witnessed a huge surge in fire accidents, with around 40K in one year! The crazy thing was that the main cause for this was a lack of awareness and neglect. That is when we decided to act,” recalls Wasan AlSayed. At only 20 years old, Wasan and her friends Masa, Tamara and Zubaida, have achieved what many adults would only dream of: building a successful mobile app. Putting their computer science and engineering knowledge in common, they developed ‘Be A Firefighter’, a Virtual Reality (VR) based app, which seeks to raise awareness around fires in Palestine.
The innovative VR game uses artificial intelligence and interactive techniques to teach players how to deal with and extinguish fires. “We wanted to convey a message to people like my younger brother or our friends. To do that, we created a tool that they we knew they would use every day: mobile gaming,” explains Masa. Supported by the EU-Funded project MEDSt@arts, the group went through a series of training and mentoring that helped them finetune their business plan and improve the prototype which they are now about to launch for the 12-20 years old segment. “It started when we were only in elementary school, and look at us now! We have a full-blown prototype ready to be used,” recalls Wasan, adding “of course, we often heard ‘you’re too young to do this’ or ‘you are a girl you cannot do it’. But we always persevered.”
Whilst they do not yet consider themselves as ‘women scientists’, the four friends have already won a number of international awards and brought recognition to a country too often overlooked in the field of science. “The idea of building a business might be discouraging, especially in our country, but successes like our 2nd place in the Technovation competition -the first time for Palestinians- is a proof that our people, including young women, have a lot to offer.”
ENI CBC Med is the largest Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) initiative implemented by the EU under the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI). The Programme brings together the coastal territories of 14 EU and partner countries in view of fostering fair, equitable and sustainable development on both sides of the EU’s external borders. Through calls for proposals, ENI CBC Med finances cooperation projects for a more competitive, innovative, inclusive and sustainable Mediterranean area.
Women in Science
On the occasion of the International Day of Women in Science (February 11), the EU Neighbours South programme designed and launched a campaign to raise awareness about the inequalities faced by women in the field of science.
The campaign started on February 11 and ended on March 8 to mark International Women's Day. In the frame of this campaign, a high volume of content was produced and published on social media and/or ...