20 Nov 2017
Bethlehem, Palestine
Organic cleaning products and cosmetics, Resource efficiency and sustainable waste management

As our environment shows resilience, so do men. And, in our strife to do so, we deal with new realities, and small and medium catastrophes. Having learned the history on the combination of environmental development, water, ecotourism, and renewable energy, Mohammed Obaidallah took sustainable development to a new level: integrating all the aforementioned facets to breed sustainable resilience.

 

Obaidallah, the founder and managing director of Nexus, studied biology at the University of Hebron in Palestine, then got his master’s in environmental sciences from the University of Cologne. He did not stop there; he earned his second -double- master’s degree in integrated water resources management from the University of Cologne and University of Jordan.

Amongst the many positions he held, Obaidallah was the director of communications at the Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACWUA). He took this vast experience to Nexus, working on all sides of sustainable business, from capacity building to solar energy, wastewater and water supply management. “Wastewater is a new field and there’s a high need for practical work. This is what we do — extract the potential of wastewater,” Obaidallah says.

He is also currently working on partnering with solar energy companies to install solar panels atop schools, hotels, and public facilities.

Challenges and contributing to the community:

Nexus is no stranger to challenges: the company has been working solo on projects with no help from governmental authorities. “Before, I worked side by side with NGOs, but this time, I’m on my own,” says Obaidallah. “Founding an entity is very costly and I find financing to be the most challenging.”

Another challenge Obaidallah highlighted was starting a company with great references to show as a trusted, professional one, that has worked on quality projects.

The entrepreneur is working, regardless, to instil a sense of community into Palestinian society by participating in a Public Heritage Market, helping two individuals sell their organic and Dead Sea products.

“In my free time, I try to build business relations to be in touch with the community, spreading ideas that healing the soul can be attained by hiking in the nature,” Obaidallah says. He often goes for three-hour hikes to reverse any negativity.

Working with Dead Sea Pearls:

Nexus has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Dead Sea Pearls (DSP) to manufacture the first-ever Palestinian products from the Dead Sea. The company produces all-natural cosmetic and health products off the shores of the Dead Sea.

“This agreement proved successful for many reasons,” Nasser Al Khatib, CEO of DSP said. “We managed to manufacture natural products from the Dead Sea, as well as provide job opportunities and involve society members to be part of the project.”

According to Al Khatib, the partnership with Nexus opened the door to ecotourism and international visitors who came to see Battir in west Jerusalem, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Along with Obaidallah, Al Khatib is also working on running exhibitions and local markets to sell DSP products

Obaidallah also founded a community called Battir 2020 which became effective in 2014. The community helps working women produce items like thoube (a traditional dress), with high demand from Europe and all across the world. “We would like the project to be supportive,” Obaidallah explains. “We also want it to be a model — running the community by itself for its people and without receiving any external funding.”

Obaidallah is actively working to spread the concept of a self-sustaining community across Palestine. “Now, we are calling for green economy, ecotourism, and even solar energy,” Obaidallah remarks. “I am going to sign another agreement with all facilities at Battir to further speed up operations, and today, we launched a training program for the Palestinian water service provider,” he adds.

Things are going fast for Nexus, but according to Obaidallah, they are not fast enough — he is on the look-out for the next best agreement so he can showcase what Battir and its community members have to offer.

 

Web: www.nexus.ps

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/waterEnv/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NexusNexus1017

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nexusps/

Photos: Courtesy of Nexus

Eman is the Switchers' Managing Editor and a long-standing finance and startup ecosystem journalist.Eman El-Sherbiny
Bethlehem’s sustainability scene: The heritage within | The Switchers
Nexus Resource Efficiency & Sustainable Waste Management
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