American University of Beirut

DAWWERA: Designing Alternatives for Water, Waste and Energy in Rural Areas

DAWWERA: Designing Alternatives for Water, Waste and Energy in Rural Areas

Food security is becoming an increasingly alarming issue in Lebanon. Already vulnerable, the agriculture  sector has suffered tremendously in the past couple of years due to the financial and economic crises  induced by political turmoil, COVID-19 and the world’s largest non-nuclear explosion in Beirut on August  4, 2020. These crises have added strenuous pressure to the local economy resulting in a nation-wide  hyperinflation. As a result, the reliance on locally produced crops keeps increasing thereby creating higher  pressure on local farmers most of whom operate small and medium scale farms (80% for the former and  17% for the latter). Marginalized social groups of the country are most heavily affected, among which  small and medium scale farmers and producers who are barely capable of sustaining through the  prevailing crises. A recent report by Save the Children showed that families in Lebanon are at grave risk  of malnutrition due to food prices increasing by 570% since 2020 and the Lebanese pound losing more  than 90% of its value. Lebanon’s national food security relies on the livelihoods of small-scale rural  farmers/producers thus increasing the need to prioritize the resilience of said sector.  

Moreover, the food security system is entwined with other systems such as the water, waste and energy  sectors. Overlooking these interconnections when designing policies or strategies for intervention might  lead to counteractive and unintended consequences. As such, adopting a holistic and integrated approach  is crucial to capture all social, economic and environmental aspects.​

Aim Of The Initiative

DAWWERA aims to empower stakeholders in the water-energy waste and food nexus through integrating the circular economy approach that considers the linkages  between these sectors, while capturing the social, economic and environmental aspects. 

Also work​​ on enhancing and empowering small-scale food producers in the rural areas of  Lebanon by integrating circular economy into the food value chain and by using the water-waste-energy food nexus approach. DAWWERA employs an innovative method based on Systems Thinking to map out interconnections between the different sectors relevant to each intervention.


  • Utilizing resources efficiently and effectively by designing out waste and regenerating natural  systems. 
  • Establishing a coalition based on the Quintuple Helix Approach(QHA); based on the interactive relationships between the three institutional  spheres (university – industry – government) correlated with the environmental and social actors.

The DAWWERA Steering Committee

Environment and Sustainable Development Unit, American University of Beirut 
Democracy Reporting International
Recycle Lebanon
Norwegian Refugee Council 
Development for People and Nature Association
Lebanon Waste Management Coalition
Sustain the World

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