This project seeks to leverage the ingenuity and determination of the Sahrawi youth to create thriving local business ecosystems, thus reducing their dependency on unsustainable foreign aid and diversifying the local economy while also repairing ecosystems services and creating resiliency. Participants will be trained in Integrated design, whole systems thinking and business administration to create enterprises that leverage existing waste streams and link together to create a business ecosystem producing food, animal fodder and local products.
The regenerative business incubator will focus primarily on projects that seek to leverage existing waste streams within the camps that can be utilized to provide economic opportunities while eliminating harmful externalities. This is an amazing opportunity to utilize the vast resources that are imported from other regions to promote re-vegetation and effective water cycling of this desert climate. As the camps are located in the Sahara desert, where plant life is minimal, water tables extremely low, and rain rare, utilizing waste water and cycling it for multiple uses is an important opportunity. Currently each resident receives around 17 liters of water per day for all uses. Much of this water is used for cooking, cleaning, and wet toilet sanitation, and can be purified (using biological and vegetative filters) and reused multiple times. By healing the water cycle, promoting vegetative growth, and building living soils we can increase the carrying capacity of the land and create a thriving oasis in the desert.
Currently the Sahrawi people have minimal rights of employment in Algeria (where the camps are located) which hinders their ability for self-determination and creative personal/collective pursuit. The business incubator will attempt to leverage the existing informal economy within the camps, combined with existing waste products produced within to create microbusinesses and livilhood. Each business will link to existing enterprises, or newly created ones to create ‘ecosytems’ where the outputs of one become the inputs of another.
In spite of the harsh environmental conditions the Sahrawi people are amazingly resilient and relay on the bonds of community to survive, and prosper where possible. The project will draw upon this immense strength of cooperation to create collective businesses that allow the camps to produce more of their own necessities, and lower their dependency on external aid.