FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.
Once upon a time (2008), in a land far away (a few blocks from our current office), co-founders Dima Saber and Munir Nabti were getting increasingly frustrated by severe shortcomings in Lebanon's education system and media environment. With an election half a year away, they decided to bring together their related interests of media literacy education and alternative media production to launch a youth-powered mass alternative media initiative built into an intensive training and skill development program.
Dima, a media studies doctoral student, was concerned by the lack of critical thinking and media literacy education in Lebanon's schools. She wanted to develop a fun, practical, and applied way to get young people thinking about bias, propoganda, and cultural messages embedded in the media.
Munir, a social entrepreneur and freelance journalist, wanted to build a youth-powered mass alternative media outlet that would give young people and civil society in Lebanon a strong voice without the filter of traditional mainstream media outlets in Lebanon.
It all started with a simple request: “Dima, just tell me your basic idea in 1 page or less. We can build things from there.”
Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date
As a totally independent, innovative, and youth-led alternative media outlet in Lebanon, Hibr Lubnani has been working closely over the last two years, with around 150 contributors to foster their strong sense of community engagement, critical thinking, and independent content creation.
We have trained more than 500 young people in citizen journalism skills, including basic writing, online and social media, and information and media literacy. Many of our trainees have become socially active bloggers including Assad Thebian (www.beirutiyat.wordpress.com) and Alaa Chehayeb (www.einshtein.wordpress.com). Alaa describes the Hibr workshops as "a life-changing experience".
We have played an active role in many civil society and media initiatives such as TEDxRamallah, for which we trained 10 Palestinian youths in reporting and social media, resulting in extensive coverage on multiple platforms. We have also trained youth reporters from the Ministry of Social Affairs and no2at3al7ourouf (a regional newsletter funded by IWPR, led by youth).
What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?
We aim to change the way people consume, relate to, and create media content in Lebanon, and beyond. Having become central to citizens’ on- and offline worlds, it will be a self-sustaining, online and mobile media platform that plays an increasingly important role in Lebanese civil society. After reaching sustainability with this project in Lebanon, we are keen to develop partnerships with people and groups in nearby countries, and to work with them to establish a branch initiative within their own countries that would be part of the expanding network of collaborating civil society media outlets in the region.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
To reach 3,000 readers per day; to receive contributions from 10 individual/groups to be published daily.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
To reach 6,000 readers per day; to receive contributions from 20 individual/groups to be published daily.