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RIYADH: The General Authority for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, along with Umm Al-Qura University and Wadi Makkah Co., recently concluded the pilgrim-mobility enhancement challenge at the university’s headquarters in Makkah.

The one-week event, which started on May 12, aimed to enhance pilgrim services in innovative ways, focusing on assisting people with disabilities in completing Hajj rituals like Tawaf and Sa’i.

It featured four categories: Manual wheelchairs, electric vehicles, golf carts and trailers, alongside an open section for creative mobility ideas.

With 50 teams and 190 participants, the challenge also involved 19 mentors, 10 judges and 118 mentoring sessions.

During the closing ceremony, attended by Umm Al-Qura University President Dr. Moaddi bin Mohammed Aal Madhhab, and the CEO of the general authority, Ghazi bin Dhafer Al-Shahrani, an exhibition showcased contributions and innovative ideas from organizing bodies and participating teams.

Dr. Ammar Attar, adviser to the general authority, highlighted the importance of forging quality partnerships, citing Umm Al-Qura University as a pioneer in Hajj and Umrah sciences and technologies. He lauded the joint initiative to enhance Tawaf and Sa’i mobility as a significant outcome of this collaboration.

Dr. Ali Al-Shaeri, CEO of Wadi Makkah Co., praised the challenge’s success and impact, highlighting its role in the university’s broader innovation program to enhance the pilgrim experience through effective partnership with the general authority.

Majed Al-Fuwaiz, secretary-general of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, applauded the challenge for fostering innovation to create a safe and appealing working environment meeting both local and international safety standards for those serving pilgrims.

The ceremony concluded with the honoring of the winners: Masari team claimed first place for their development of a smart path system for electric carts; Maseer team secured second place with AI-powered carts designed for ergonomic comfort; Naqiloon team earned third place for their Tawaf trailers tailored for specific location needs; Tarrayath team took fourth place for their sensor-based device safeguarding pilgrims in the Grand Mosque; and Mu’een team clinched fifth place with an app connecting pilgrims to cart drivers within the Two Holy Mosques.

Targeting postgraduate students, university students, faculty members, international students and entrepreneurs, the challenge aimed to enhance the mobility experience for Tawaf and Sa’i.

Participants delved deeper into the challenge through field visits and interactions with service providers, leading to the practical application of their ideas.

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