Press Release

Anera Among Global Innovation Challenge Recipients


September 26, 2023 | Washington, DC — Anera is honored to be among the 50 community organizations selected for the inaugural Citi Foundation Global Innovation Challenge, announced this week. The Citi Foundation’s grant will support Anera’s sustainable rooftop gardens project in Lebanon, an innovative solution to combat food insecurity, mitigate against climate change and enhance the financial well-being of low-income families.

The grant will more than triple our rooftop garden installations from the current 54 families to an additional 126 Lebanese and Palestinian families across Lebanon, enhancing food security, climate resilience and economic stability. These rooftop gardens utilize modified hydroponic containers on rooftops to yield abundant crops, providing families with nutritious food and a surplus for income generation. This model offers a sustainable path to self-sufficiency while fostering social cohesion among families and neighbors.

This investment in sustainable rooftop gardens promotes self-sufficiency and food security within communities. The cost-effective technique fosters the growth of various crops, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers, feeding families by enhancing accessibility to essential vegetables, and mitigating climate change effects.

The grant empowers Anera to install modified hydroponic rooftop gardens, provide essential technical support and training for sustainability, and create income opportunities through surplus produce sales or processing into products like jam, tomato paste, and pickles.

Anera’s proven custom-designed rooftop gardens feature wicking beds that combine soil farming and hydroponics within a small greenhouse that’s approximately the size of three to four parking spaces. This system optimizes resources with minimal water usage, ensures high crop yields, offers resistance to pests, and simplifies crop management.

“Amidst Lebanon’s pressing economic challenges,” says Anera Lebanon Country Director Samar El Yassir, “these rooftop gardens emerge as a shining beacon of innovation, directly addressing the widespread food insecurity many of our people face. Beyond just nourishment, these gardens are sanctuaries, fostering psychological well-being and a healthier environment. Our heartfelt thanks to the Citi Foundation for recognizing the transformative potential of this initiative and for their partnership in bringing sustainable change to our communities in Lebanon.”

These rooftop gardens transform urban spaces into green farming areas, improving living environments and contributing to climate change mitigation. Amid Lebanon’s severe economic crisis, marked by soaring prices of basic necessities, including fresh produce, these gardens play a crucial role in combating acute food insecurity, a problem affecting 37% of the population.


For more information:

Steven Fake
Media Relations Officer
[email protected]

Farah Maalouf
Lebanon Communications Manager
+961-1-426107/8 Ext:135
[email protected]

About Anera

Since 1968, Anera has helped refugees and others hurt by conflicts in the Middle East live with dignity and purpose. Anera, which has no political or religious affiliation, works on the ground with partners in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, Lebanon, and Jordan. We mobilize resources for immediate humanitarian relief and for sustainable health, education, and economic development efforts. Our staff are from the communities they serve, navigating the politics that constrict progress to get help where it’s needed most. We will keep building better lives until hope finds its way in the Middle East.