Mona Itani – CEO & Founder of Shabab Lab – Lebanon
2021 WE Empower finalist, Middle East and North Africa
Transforming Arab youth into changemakers in their community is the foundation of Mona Itani’s online platform Shabab Lab. The e-learning programs provided online are self-paced and project-based in which students get hands-on experience with new technologies where they learn how to utilize them to create solutions to an issue within their community. Not only does the Shabab Lab platform teach entrepreneurship and technology skills, but it teaches a variety of other important skills such as teamwork, analytical thinking and effective communication.
Mona Itani and Shabab Lab
Itani, an ambassador of the UN Global Compact Network in Lebanon and the Ambassador of UNLEASH in the MENA region, utilizes the framework of UN Agenda 2030 to shape the core pillars of Shabab Lab. As an innovator and social entrepreneur, Itani realized that much of the youth of today utilize technology passively and as a means to become rich so she “created educational programs that leverage entrepreneurship and technology for the social good”.
Traditional to transformational education
Shabab Lab is integrated within educational programs and their school’s curriculum, which bolsters the student’s education and heightens their skills. Providing quality, applicable education for Arab youth exemplifies SDG 4 (Quality Education) through promoting youth education for students of all economic backgrounds. Shabab Lab does not simply provide basic education, but it “equips the youth for the new needs of the world and bridges the gap between the archaic educational system and the rapidly changing needs of the workplace”. Through innovating the educational system, the youth are better equipped for 21st-century work environments.
The power of female involvement
From teachers to students, Shabab Lab embodies SDG 5 (Gender Equality) through equal involvement of females within the program while also integrating women empowerment principles within the curriculum. Within the program over 50% of students are female as well as around 70% of teachers and mentors. The presence of female leaders within a learning environment empowers female participants of their programs further promoting gender equality within the learning and working environments.
Utilizing UN SDGs within the framework of businesses will create a more robust and sustainable business model that fosters people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. Female entrepreneurs, such as Mona Itani, have taken concrete steps in progressing their businesses for the benefit of society and the planet.
by Ellan Schnieder