QL Features: Jose Saucedo from DEAP Qatar
When Jose Saucedo shifted to Qatar in 2017 as an Operations Manager, never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that 4-5 years down the lane, he would have built an entire community of environmentali activists who will constantly be on a mission to #KeepQatarClean
Doha Environmental Action Project or DEAP Qatar is a group of activists who have been in a mission for a cleaner and greener Qatar. From recycling to beach cleaning, their aim has been to discover Qatar with a purpose.
An operations manager who was already an environmentalist back home in the States, Jose Saucedo joined DEAP as a volunteer, where a group of friends were hanging out on the beach, and cleaning it up as they explored. For someone who had lived on coastal cities before, Jose was surprised of the amount of litter found in the beach and the desert. What started as hobby, quickly became a mission for Jose, a continuous effort to make what we know today as DEAP Qatar.
For more than 4 years, Jose has been leading DEAP, something that takes up the majority of his time, to make it into one of the most active environmentalist groups in the country.
About Jose Saucedo and his journey
“It became me and I became DEAP ”
Even though Jose has his own consulting company, he considers DEAP Qatar as his full time job. Since the pandemic hit Jose increased the number of cleanups, although they had to be done with a reduced number of volunteers and following the preventative measures provided by the government. During the first 2 years of the pandemic Jose organized a cleanup every week without missing any Friday. In March 2022, as restrictions for schools were finally lifted, he rounded up a total of 18 clean ups, giving us an insight how his work involves building partnerships, the behind the scene works and one of his main goals: educating children about this.
The future of the world lies not just with us, but the next generation as well. On any given day if he’s not at the beach doing a cleanup, Jose will be seen in a schools, giving presentations and workshops, to students, or school eco clubs from KG to University level. In March alone, he visited 13 schools as part of his efforts to raise environmental awareness, and to inspire our youth to take action against plastic pollution. People from all segments of society in Qatar participate on DEAP’s cleanup activities.
Jose believes that one of his main jobs is to make the beach cleanup movement, something cool, interesting and engaging for the public. To date, 14, 000 people have been a part of the cleanups with him, with the majority of them being students. Even though the pandemic did not slow down, they did have to adhere to the restrictions and take smaller groups for almost two years.
DEAP Qatar family
You would think that DEAP Qatar was just about bringing people in and the job was done. Consistency and interest were two things that Jose wanted to build. He wanted this community to be the ones to start the conversation in their circles and to have everyone join in as they chatted and discovered new ways to encourage a cleaner home. DEAP Qatar clean ups are not about just picking trash, they are about engaging in new situations, new people, gaining more advocates for nature. What starts as a small group becomes a little community who has picked up thousands of kilos of trash an hour into their activity. And that is where you see the change, that is the conversation starter for many.
When Jose arrived in Qatar, he could see a lot of people were hungry for this conversation, eager to have activities and groups they could be a part of here. However, the ‘green state’ of the country was not easy to take in. Recyclable and trash products were going in the same bins, there was zero to no awareness and there was hardly any conversation about it.
DEAP Qatar attracts attention
An initiative that is believed to be a personal way of giving back to the community, Jose spoke about accountability and his role in the world a lot. His eyes would light up as he would tell us about his achievements and he would always come back to one statement; “It’s them. The community, the kids, the families who make DEAP Qatar. It is all them and their role in this group and this world.” He’d call his volunteers his ‘secret ingredient.’
Today, DEAP Qatar projects have been visited by Sheikha Mayassa Bint Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, the Minister of Municipality, and a number of embassies including Countries like USA, Mexico, France, England, UK, Italy, Vietnam, among others. All notable personalities have brought more awareness to the projects, resulting in more volunteers every time. In addition to that, dozens of schools, universities, and other organizations have participated on DEAP’s activities.
When prominent figures of the Qatari society, such as Sheikha Mayassa, showed interest, Jose felt the obvious change in the way they were perceived and how the community reacted to Sheikha’s presence and initiatives. In one of the cleanups with H.E. Sheikha Mayassa Jose recalls H.E. looking at what seemed to be a never ending amount of trash on the beach, and H.E. expressed her concerns. An hour later, Jose and his team of volunteers stood in front of a clean beach, as they showed H.E. Sheikha Mayassa the magnitude of the problem that plastic pollution poses, and also how much people care, and what a big difference we can make. Jose still remembers that as one of the most powerful moments of his journey.
If someone is looking to make a difference, and giving back to their society Jose Saucedo is the one to go to. An overwhelming journey that has resulted in a community that is fighting its battles as environmentalists, DEAP Qatar is continuously paving the way for future generations in Qatar for a more environmentally friendly country!
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