Qatar’s Food Heroes
WA’HAB IS A NEW COMPANY THAT AIMS TO REDUCE, RECYCLE AND RE-USE SURPLUS FOOD, KIM WYATT GIVES US THE LOWDOWN ON WHAT THIS COMPANY IS ALL ABOUT.
Behind the scenes of last month’s Qatar International Food Festival was a team of volunteers quietly working late into the night. After the festival goers began to trickle back home and the bright lights began to fade, the team aptly named “Food Heroes” set to work. Their mission was to collect surplus food from the festival stalls, vendors and outlets to repackage and redistribute to those in need throughout Doha.
The volunteers work for a local startup named Wa’hab which translated into Arabic means “to give.” Wa’hab is Qatar’s first company that aims to reduce, recycle and re-use surplus food. This year’s most popular food festival highlighted the growing awareness and concern that surplus food has on the
environment and community.
Globally, over one third of the world’s food (approximately 1.7 billion tons) is dumped annually into trash cans or landfills contributing to carbon gas emissions and environmental damage. Added to this, over 800 million people are starving throughout the world every day. Wa’hab Director of Communications and Marketing, Kim Wyatt adds, “Food wastage is wreaking havoc on our planet and society. It’s an issue faced throughout the world and it’s an issue here in Qatar. With one of the highest rates of food wastage in the region, Wa’hab felt an urgent need to address the issue. We’ve been fortunate enough to have high profile companies such as the Qatar Tourism Authority collaborate with us. People from all walks of society are concerned, and they want to help out.“
So how does Wa’hab reduce food wastage? Says Kim Wyatt, “Wa’hab connects the food and beverage industry with local charities and the community. We identify areas of surplus food and redistribute through various methods – either giving to people in need via charities or by creating compost using sustainable methods for use in the local agricultural sector. We don’t want any food to go to waste and we know a lot of people feel the same.”
At the core of Wahab’s mission is community service. Originally set up by founder, Wardha Mamukoya to help the less fortunate of society, volunteers provide the backbone of the company and are vital in activities such as the recent Qatar International Food Festival. Wa’hab Operations Director, Dr. Ramees Kakkodan agrees “Volunteers are the most important part of Wa’hab. We even rebranded our logo to emphasize the importance of our volunteers whom we have named Food Heroes”. During community efforts, volunteers help to collect food – including good quality meals plus dried and nonperishable items from food and beverage outlets throughout Doha. The food is then repackaged and delivered to partners for redistribution.
So why the name Food Hero? Kim Wyatt says, “Our volunteers give up valuable time to assist us. They have personal responsibilities such as jobs or families, yet they dedicate their nights or weekends to our cause.Without them we couldn’t complete our work. We wanted to acknowledge their assistance and give them a fitting title.”
For Wa’hab Executive Director Reem Al-Muftah, joining Wa’hab was a great opportunity to fulfill her passion for working with the local community, “I saw Wahab on social media and wanted to get involved because it’s a great initiative for Qatar. I initially started as a volunteer and then I was asked to join the company. I love volunteer work as it’s a very direct way of helping our community and our country. It’s critical for Qatar to reduce food wastage and become more environmentally sustainable – it’s part of our National Vision for 2030. As a community we should all work together to reach that goal.”
Tips For Reducing Food Wastage at Home:
- Use leftover food in soups,stews and curries
- Freeze fruit and veggies
- Shop smart – Create a shopping list before you go to the store
- Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach
- Understand expiration dates on food packaging
- Turn food wastage into compost
- Reduce food portions at meal times
- Store food appropriately to extend shelf life
With a growing number of volunteers from all walks of life, Wa’hab is expanding community efforts throughout Doha. As the message of reducing food wastage becomes more known, Food Heroes such as Wa’hab volunteer, food blogger Dionne Lobo Marks, sees the need for the new generation to become more active in community projects. As Dionne says, “Getting children involved is a great way to instill the values of sharing and giving to others”. Kim Wyatt adds, “Volunteering is a great way for many people to connect to others and form a social bond. It’s rewarding in so many ways and many volunteers love giving to the community and meeting other likeminded people.”
What is the future for Wa’hab and the Food Heroes? Recently, Wa’hab became a winner of the Qatar Business and Incubation Centre (QBIC) Lean Start- Up program which aims to foster and promote innovative entrepreneurial ideas in Qatar. With this support, Wa’hab is hoping to form more working partnerships from the food & beverage industry, develop Corporate Social Responsibility Campaigns and inform the community of ways in which to become active in reducing food wastage. Kim Wyatt adds, “We want to promote and celebrate success stories and collaborations within our community. We want to highlight the issue of food wastage and bring about change. At the end of the day we want to achieve three things – we want to help save our planet, we want to feed people and we want to create a better environment for future generations. We have a lot of work to do!”
Kim Wyatt is a Co-Director and the Communications and Marketing Director for Wa’hab.
Follow Kim Wyatt on Instagram @mama_baba_ganoush
For more information on Wa’hab please visit: Website – www.wahab.qa
Instagram – @wahab_qa | Twitter – @Wahab_qa
Facebook – @wahab.qa | Email – firstname.lastname@example.org