The smallest beginnings can lead to meaningful impact in unexpected ways, and our guest today exemplifies this kind of powerful story. Youmna Chamcham from the Live Love movement talks to us about starting small in Beirut and how the early work she and her team put in has created rippling effects and grown into a massive, global force. Live Love started as a simple idea for bracelets and a positive message and now has 315 chapters across the world, with 1.5 million active followers. They managed to recruit 15 thousand volunteers in aid of rebuilding Beirut after the devastation of the explosion in August 2020 and have also spearheaded recycling programs in the city.
Intentionally for the youth, by the youth, Live Love fits Lebanon’s predicament well, and as our guest explains, the positive changes in the country are a result of the younger generation’s refusal to settle for the problems they have inherited. We chat about fighting apathy and the role of hope in igniting and keeping fires of change alight. Youmna and Live Love are doing some of the most inspiring work at the moment, empowering individuals to see how they can make an impact in the world, exactly what we stand for here at Impact Everywhere! To hear all of Youmna’s thoughts, be sure to check out the full episode at one of the links below:
Key Points From This Episode
The power of social media was shown in the wake of the devastation. Though not in Lebanon at the time of the explosion, Youmna was able to quickly set up fundraising efforts on social media. The peer-to-peer style of relief that came from posting urgent, specific requests for assistance was very effective.
Storytelling helped those experiencing trauma after the blast. Sharing the information and videos was difficult to witness, but it helped people cope with their feelings of anger.
When building Live Love, they didn’t just decide on one method they would take to approach certain problems — what they do instead is more like improv. They see an issue, put a reaction out, and observe how people respond to it.
When presenting a problem, they always include a call to action — people are inspired when they are given a way to help. This is how they built their huge network of volunteers.
Don’t rally people around fear, but rather focus on fun, gamified campaigns.
Live Love addresses and provides aid to many different issues. Live Love Recycle came about after seeing that nobody recycled, despite existing facilities, because there was no system to pick up the sorted recyclables. They recruited volunteers to pick up recycling from homes, showed the success to Uber & piloted a program with them to pick up their recyclables, and were then able to build it independently after showing the demand for the service. Now, it has over 25,000 users, a membership fee makes it self-sustaining, and over 400 jobs were created. Oh — and less waste goes to landfills and the streets.
Live Love adopted a franchise model and has a goal for wide expansion. They trained Live Love ambassadors in different villages and cities in Lebanon and created frameworks for them to run their own events and rally their own volunteers. There are Live Love franchises in several other countries as well — the more the better!
Stuck with a million ideas? Start with something achievable and immediate. You might have to try several ideas before one stick, but the best ideas will always be the ones that make you happiest.
Keep in mind that it’s always easier to start something than sustain it. Maintain hope through the process, and always make sure you’re re-evaluating how your project is functioning to see if there can’t be improvements.
“It’s a lot like a theatre in a way, where we see something and we throw a reaction out and we see how people respond.” — Youmna Chamcham [0:08:55]
“The collective act of gamifying storytelling or your place in a collective narrative is what worked for us to build a following.” — Youmna Chamcham [0:12:57]
“We choose the problems that we tackle in a very instinctual way, the one that screams at us the loudest at a given moment is the one that we go for.” — Youmna Chamcham [0:14:17]
“Starting something versus sustaining something is two very different things. And sustaining is such a big part of impact.” — Youmna Chamcham [0:26:55]