Elie Abousaab

Ashoka Fellow
Lebanon
Fellow Since 2014

Citation

This profile was prepared when Elie Abousaab was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
The New Idea
In a society unfamiliar with voicing its rights or holding authorities accountable, Elie is creating a new culture for engaging citizens in the local decision making process and pressuring governments to be responsive and responsible. Recognizing road safety as an important need but also as a neutral issue, he is using it to initiate non-confrontational communication between citizens and the government, bringing both to an equal playing field in the Levant region.
Elie has created a platform that allows citizens to easily and quickly express their concerns in an informal yet professional manner. This communication is channeled to local governments and serves as catalyst for dialogue between citizens and the government. Instead of feeling disillusioned and disempowered by the government, Elie is creating an opportunity for citizens to be engaged and for the government to be seen as an ally. Starting in Lebanon, a region that has been plagued by government mistrust, his work brings both key players together for the first time. More than just voice their concerns, citizens feel that they are helping the government to understand the local concerns and thus feel involved in the decision making process, thereby changing the way the public confronts and resolves problems caused by government negligence.
With a clear three-step process of reporting concerns, generating awareness and collecting public opinion around those concerns, and then monitoring government response, rewarding municipalities that take quick action, Elie’s new idea has been easily spread throughout municipalities around Lebanon. He plans to replicate the methodology to other social issues such as street garbage and electricity and spread his work to other countries throughout the Levant region and the Arab world.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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