Problem Solving Must-Reads: Rebuilding Gaza’s Economy Via Telecommuting

Plus: Simplifying the US immigration process, and cities asking residents for help with refugees

Problem Solving Must-Reads: Rebuilding Gaza’s Economy Via Telecommuting

Plus: Simplifying the US immigration process, and cities asking residents for help with refugees

Over the past seven years, Gaza has endured three wars. The most recent conflict between Hamas and Israel has left more than 2,100 Palestinians dead and more than 10,000 injured. Currently, Gaza is under an Israeli-imposed blockade that prevents people from leaving and goods from entering the region. The economy is on the verge of collapse. A report published by World Bank states that Gaza has the highest unemployment rate in the world. Youth unemployment is even worse, at a staggering 60%.

To help provide access to jobs, a US based charity, Mercy Corps, has found a way to harness the internet—the one piece of infrastructure that is still in good shape. They’ve created a nonprofit technology hub, which has helped provide jobs and support to young Gazans who are interested in the information technology field.  Gaza Sky Geeks, which gets its funding from Google and other prominent organizations based in the United States, is a tech incubator that facilitates startups and helps them develop into viable businesses. It assists startups by giving them a workspace. It also provides young entrepreneurs with training, consultation and also helps them find investment.  

Several startups that have come out of the Gaza Sky Geeks have become very successful in the Arab world. More than two thousand Gazans have participated in their programs. Although Gaza faces major economic challenges because of the blockade, the digital economy facilitated by Gaza Sky Geeks is providing at least some with a potential path towards economic success.

Read the full story here (via Quartz)

Here’s what else we are reading:

US immigration made simple

Photo: Borderwise

Every year there are millions of people who want to move to the U.S. to live and work here legally and permanently. However, the process of immigrating to the United States is both expensive and complex. An application to be a permanent resident of the United States, called the Green Card, requires about forty pages of paperwork on twelve different forms. So a Philadelphia startup called Borderwise is trying to make the process a little simpler by condensing the application into a simplified set of questions which it uses to fill out the forms. They’re also building a network of immigration lawyers, who, for a relatively nominal fee, will review user’s visa application and provide appropriate consultations. (via

Hamburg residents help in refugee resettlement

Photo: Fast Coexist

Since the beginning of last year, Germany has taken in more than a million refugees. With such an influx, finding homes and providing services has become a challenge. So the city of Hamburg turned to its residents for help. They asked the residents for their advice on planning shelters in which the refugees would be housed. The city even asked its residents for help in providing refugees with services, like teaching German as a second language. Similarly, other cities in Europe and Canada also found that simply involving their residents in the refugee resettlement process made the cities more successful at accommodating and integrating refugees. (via Fast Coexist)

Photo header via Quartz

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