The Little Prince – Cleaning Jerusalem Together

Hacking Jerusalem Clean

It all started with #Made in Jerusalem‘s #HackJLM –  a bimonthly series of hackathons, dedicated to helping the tech platforms of a wide variety of nonprofits for social change in Jerusalem – that is helping to advance our Little Prince – Cleaning Up Jerusalem Together program.

Hi-tech for social change at #HackJLM

Hi-tech for social change at #HackJLM

Tal Kligman, the director of “the Little Prince” program, Michal Shilor, our Coordinator for Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance and in-house tech guru, and Lionel Wolberg from the Jerusalem Green Fund put out a call to hackers that they were interested in developing tech-based solutions to garbage problems. At the hackathon, Tal, Michal, Lionel, JICC Director Dr. Hagai Agmon-Snir and activist/hi-tech professional Polina Sklyarevsky, met up with a group of techies, and together they brainstormed about who, what and how this project should work.

Pausing to take a group picture

Pausing to take a group picture

During the evening they came up with an idea to develop an extremely simple to use mobile app for trash and other dangerous reports. The idea is that you in one click photograph the spot with your phone and send it directly to the Municipality, which will put it in its work plan to be taken care of. This app will operate in both Hebrew and Arabic. All this, without needing to call (and wait for) the Municipality hotline that deals with these issues. Hopefully, a more advanced version will include automatic GPS coordinates, so that Municipality workers will know exactly where to go. (Here’s a link  to the app that they’re trying to develop.) Right now, they’ve developed the first model of the app, and the backend aspects are now being worked on. We hope to have a beta version very soon.

Here’s a Facebook post about the event:

Here’s what #Made in Jerusalem wrote about the evening.

And here’s a video (in Hebrew) of the experience. This initiative starts at minute 17:

 

Wishing the developers well, and good luck to Little Prince!

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The Little Prince – Rolling Up Our Sleeves

We all have our differences but one thing that unites us – Arabs, religious, secular and Haredi Jews – is garbage. After years of working in the neighborhoods and speaking with residents from all populations about what they want to change, one thing always comes up – and it’s garbage. Inspired by the successes of our MiniActive project and its ‘We won’t live in filth!’ campaign, the Little Prince project seeks to help all communities in Jerusalem deal with their garbage.

150 people talking garbage

150 people talking garbage

An initial meeting was held in March at our offices on Mount Zion, which set the tone for this unique project. A true mix of the Jerusalem population – 1/3 Arabs, 1/3 secular/ religious Jews, 1/3 Ultra-Orthodox Jews – came to draw the broad strokes of the project.

Discussing ways to take care of garbage - together as well as separately

Discussing ways to take care of garbage – together as well as separately

On Wednesday, May 3, we rolled up our sleeves, and got down to work.

150 people came – 150 people who care about garbage! This included deputy mayors, the Haredi Deputy Mayor who is in charge of sanitation, the professional director of the municipal sanitation department, a number of members of city council, both from the coalition and from the opposition, lay leadership from a range of community centers, active residents, and more. Indeed, since the meeting they’ve been true to their word, helping us to help residents take care of our garbage.

Including Deputy Mayors and City Council Members

Including Deputy Mayors and City Council Members

“I’m participating this evening…in an amazing initiative of the Jerusalem Intercultural Center,” wrote Deputy Mayor Ofer Berkovich. “Those who dream of making a change in the field of clean streets in Jerusalem.” Here’s his Facebook post (Hebrew):

Yael Yechieli, Director of Jewish Pluralism programs at Shatil, happened to be in the Beit Alliance building, lecturing another group about activism. “I was telling them that the first condition for activism is when something gets you mad. The second condition is that other people tell you that you have no chance of succeeding and you ignore them. Then I remembered about the meeting and went downstairs to see more than 100 people, who had gotten mad about dirty streets, and who had been told that there’s no chance they’d succeed. What a wonderful coincidence.”

Here’s her Facebook post (in Hebrew):

This project is unique in that, on the one hand, it encourages different populations to work together. On the other hand, much of the work is done within individual communities. The initiatives are as diverse as Jerusalem’s populations – there are those aimed at individuals, those aimed at neighborhoods, those aimed for implementation citywide. There are those that deal with specific aspects of keeping the city clean (signs, garbage cans), and there are those that are more general (developing an interactive app). Each participant can choose whether he or she wants to work with the ‘other,’ solely advance his or her community, or do both. The true beneficiary – all Jerusalemites. Here are some examples of projects that are being advanced:

  • Connecting – connecting residents with municipal workers through creating a mobile app that will connect and update all factors involved – municipal departments, residents,
  • “Two Pieces of Garbage” campaign – a public awareness campaign to encourage each resident to pick up at least two pieces of garbage a day
  • Adopt a street
  • Adaptation of street cleaning according to special needs in East Jerusalem
  • Our Signs – ensuring that public signage is clean and free from defacing
  • Twinning neighborhoods – enabling two neighborhoods that are similar in character to plan and brainstorm together
  • Clean Neighborhood Committees in individual communities
  • Adopting public sites by local schools
  • Public awareness campaign, “Leave it the way you found it,” on returning garbage cans to their place, with the lids down
  • Increasing reports to 106 municipal hotline
  • Community cleaning events
  • Increasing recycling

Keep updated here for more updates on this amazing program.

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The Little Prince – Dutifully Making Sure Jerusalem is Clean

“It’s an issue of discipline,” the little prince explained afterward. “After we finish the morning washing up, we must dutifully make sure that the planet is clean.”

This passage comes from The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Svetlana Fedotenko, founder of the Gonenim Music Center and a former participant in our leadership training seminar, who died last year, had been inspired by this passage, and dreamt for a long time to create a project that will put residents in charge of keeping our streets clean. (Click here for more about Svetlana).

We, too, were inspired by Svetlana’s dream, and last week we took some steps to make that dream come true.

Meeting for the Little Prince

Meeting for the Little Prince

We have seen how, of all subjects, garbage can be a unifying factor. We saw it when our MiniActive project banded together to fight for improved sanitation in East Jerusalem. We’ve seen it in the French Hill  – Issawiya area, where Israeli and Palestinian residents banded together to successfully fight the placement of a landfill in their backyards. We saw in city hall, how the one issue that brought secular and Haredi city council members together was the subject of garbage collection. (Below is more information about the French Hill – Issawiya situation)

We had the first organizing meeting last week. More than 25 active residents and community leaders – astoundingly, 1/3 Arab, 1/3 Haredi and 1/3 secular/religious (Don’t remember a time when that EVER happened on its own!) – met at the JICC. We heard about the current awful situation – in collection, in enforcement, in recycling, in teaching toward cleanliness and in teaching toward reduction of waste. We heard about fantastic initiatives that are already taking place, and concluded that such initiatives, together with mutual learning and assistance, can really change the city.

Another picture

Another picture

The group is already beginning to act, and we believe that in another month we’ll be able to invite anyone for whom this subject is close to his heart – residents, professional, community center, educational framework, environmental groups, NGO’s – to join this initiatives. In honor of Svetlana, we’re calling the program The Little Prince.

We’ll be waiting for you, after the morning washing up…

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