Blood donations / Supplying labor camps

The idea behind our projects was to provide unique services to the community, as the team unanimously agreed that the element of success needs not necessarily be money, but a different measure altogether. As shallow as this may sound, money as a success measure could’ve turned the whole thing into a competition between the groups, burying the very ‘soul’ behind our projects.

Project Objectives and Methodologies:

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1) The blood drive aimed to create a convenient platform to bring together potential donors with a medical crew in order to support the local hospitals with blood packs. We started by contacting various hospitals to find out the procedures, terms and conditions needed to launch the event, fully knowing that it being a medical matter things will not go as smoothly as we hoped. Our contacts at the hospitals were kind enough to talk us through the requirements and pointed out the things we needed to keep in mind. We decided that it would be best if we held the event in the student lounge at the BIBF; a room large enough to be a venue and has a strategic location. The venue also allowed us to persuade spectators to participate, as we demonstrated that a measly 10 minutes of your time could save a couple -if not more- lives.

The blood drive was a complete success by all means and measures:

  • Due to short notice, the hospital offered to only accept 20 blood packs within a 2 hour time frame. By the time the drive was over, 13 individuals successfully donated blood, whilst 18 were disqualified due to various reasons such as smoking, alcohol, low blood pressure, and other blood related sicknesses. This brought us to a total of 31 participants.
  • Individuals that were not able to donate blood due to various reasons had the opportunity to have a quick medical checkup and consultation on their individual conditions.
  • The hospital congratulated us on a successful blood drive given the size of the venue and the very little time we had for arrangements.
  • Another prevailing success was gained by raising awareness of the importance of checking your blood for diabetes or other diseases caught by blood tests, something that a lot of people underestimate.

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2) Our second venture was to support labor camps; to supply and shed light on the difficult situations that the migrant workers live in, a hardship that remains fairly unknown to a huge number of citizens.

This project consisted of the collection of clothes, dry and canned foods (such as lentils, rice, and beans) and toiletries to migrant worker labor camps. Most of these camps are deprived of the very basic necessities that we take for granted. We placed a number of boxes in BIBF to collect the abovementioned items from the staff and students, which we in turn distributed to the labor camps that were among the worst in the country. We decided on splitting the group into two as it was best that a couple of members did the collecting while the other half was in charge of sorting out the items and managing distribution.

Supplying the migrant workers was also a success given that:

  • To our delight we were surprised with the amount collected: 4 boxes full of supplies. The boxes overflowed and donors had to use plastic bags and stash them next to the boxes.
  • We initially coordinated with the Migrant Workers Protection Society to visit 2 sites. We ended up visiting 3 labor camp sites that the society mentioned needed the most help.
  • Communicating with the migrant workers was hard as most don’t speak a single word of Arabic or English, but the happiness in their eyes spoke louder than any word could that day.

Advice for future teams doing similar projects:

  • Be sure to get the proper procedures, approvals and confirmations in time. Establishments such as hospitals are unpredictable and have certain terms and conditions that need to be met.
  • When it comes to lengthy procedures, do not make assumptions and always pursue facts and written communications. Do not hesitate to take brave decisions to save the situation by triggering contingency plans.
  • Choose a convenient location that everyone passes by. We had a healthy number of onlookers who donated on a whim because the event caught their attention.


Lessons learned about managing projects:

  • Communication: Projects give individuals the opportunity to share and discuss ideas without a bias outlook since you all share a common goal. Although each individual has a different personality, effective communication creates solidarity which is key for any project’s success.
  • Coordination: Assign each individual to a task he excels at, or at the very least comfortable with. Forcing roles on team members creates bottlenecks as the individual struggles to pull his weight. Therefore it’s best to coordinate accordingly; after all, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
  • Plan, plan and plan! No amount of planning is excessive. Exhaust all your options and weigh your pros and cons. Use your planning phase to assess your risks, to have a clear and concise action blueprint, and to come up with contingency plans. If plan A doesn’t work, don’t fret, the alphabet has 25 more letters!


Bonus Tip: Have fun!



Fawaz Alabdulla – Ahmed Jahromi – Ahmed Buhejji – Hisham Engineer – Mohamed Alkhalifa.

11 thoughts on “Blood donations / Supplying labor camps

  1. Having followed this project i came to conclusion that if you are not a determined person, you should reconsider doing a project! Projects are made for focused, decided, strong willed people. People who knows what stress is and they are somehow addicted to it.
    Hats off for a team who made the impossible possible. Well done and thanks for the advices.

  2. Hello spring of 2015 class in Bahrain. I think that I can speak for the rest of us when I say that we were all very impressed with your project when the professor explained it to us last weekend. I was able to learn a couple things from your project that I hope will help my group as we develop ours plan. First, I enjoyed how you thought outside the box of monetary donations, and found other ways to help the community. Also, I can see the importance of making a plan and contingencies early, it will get us planning our project earlier than we might have otherwise. Good job!

  3. Greeting from Chicago. I am also impressed with both of your projects given the time constraints mentioned by the professor. I appreciate and applaud the service aspect of both projects. Anyone can write a check and I surely don’t enjoy soliciting monetary donations. Based on your “Advice” and “Lessons learned”, I was reminded to remember the basics when approaching project work. Plan your work and work your plan.

  4. From what I know a one unit of donated blood can help save up to 3 lives. So this blood drive event is an absolutely great cause. However, I believe that given the time constrains of 2 weeks, this kind of event was rather difficult to organize. From reading this blog post I can see that the effort and dedication were great, but unfortunately time and other risks were not fully accounted for – there were limitations from the hospitals, disqualified donors, other specific medical and/or local requirements as well as uncertain number of participants. Additionally, organizing the 2nd event at the same time could have caused some shortage in time, planning, coordination and resources. So may be, concentrating on just one event would have been a better option…

  5. I’ve found your post to be extremely helpful. As my team begins planning for our project, I’ve found myself only thinking about “winning” on a monetary level. Your post, specifically the first paragraph, is very grounding. It reminds me that a winning project is one that successfully accomplishes a goal and that goal doesn’t haven’t to focus on raising money. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Hi team, I was first confused why you had two events until the professor explained your challenge during the class. I feel that you guys have done an outstanding job on both events and pulled off something that will leave a lasting impression on many of us. It was especially interesting to read that your team had to sort the donated items and not the charity. Rarely, we get to meet the people who we help and I am glad that your team had that experience.

    I liked your bonus comment: Have Fun! I think if the team feels passionate about a charity, then the pieces of the puzzle will fall in place.

  7. I have found your post regarding the blood drive to be very helpful. I liked that the event provided other benefits outside of the primary deliverable of obtaining blood donations. Specifically, the team was also able to create awareness and was able to provide a quick, free consultation on any conditions. This made me think that it is important to think about any other possible benefits of the event during planning. This will allow the team to have an awareness and secondary focus on these other benefits to gain as much as possible from the event. Understanding secondary benefits may also help guide decisions such as location.

  8. The lessons learned segment of planning, strong coordination and communication is very helpful.
    This event allowed me to not only look at raising money for a charity, but also focusing on a service event.
    Different options are on the table, but just like their project the goal is to help others.

    Thank you for sharing!! Great Job!

  9. The project seemed very heartfelt. At the end of the day, these projects should make a difference and help others. You definitely accomplished this goal.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement. It is important to remember if something does not work out, there are alternatives. I will definitely keep that in mind!

    Thanks and Great Job!

  10. I believe you are correct; focusing on monetary goals can destroy the good nature of a project. It is important for individuals to remember that the purpose of this project is to bring attention to and shed light on the incredible services that particular organizations offer. Your tidbits discussing location and planning are quite valuable. It is easy to forget that location can play a vital part in attracting individuals who were not initially invited. Planning is also very important as a successful project requires a high level of planning and execution. How you all were able to complete two projects in such a short amount of time, I will never know. You all did a phenomenal job. Thank you for the advice.

  11. This was a very motivating post to read as my group prepares to dive right into planning our field project for this class in Chicago. I particularly found you advice about hosting the event somewhere highly visible, helpful. I was previously only considering indoors venues that would be willing to “rent” for free, but am now thinking it may be a good idea to explore higher visibility venues or spaces in the middle of the city during a busy fall tourist season. Thank you very much for your motivating words and advice.

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