Palestine: Palestinian Children, Rebuilding their Environment

Context:

The breakthrough for peace between Israel and Palestine is at last opening the way for reconstruction and development in a region which has lived through more than 50 years of war. There were many casualties in the conflict, but no group has been more affected than children. Children have been suffering from an environment, distorted by violence and destruction. In the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in particular, more than one million children (50% of the population is below 18 years of age) are now holding their breath, hoping that peace will bring security and happiness.


The major challenge will be to capitalise on the recent accord and build a solid, sustainable community for peace. One major need, in this regard, is to redirect the energies of the youth towards reconstruction rather than destruction.

Under occupation, no national policy was designed to protect and develop the quality of the environment. In the West Bank and Gaza, one major casualty of this neglect has been water reserves. Local practices at home, mismanagement of farm lands and industrial facilities did practically nothing to stop the deterioration of the environment. Garbage piles are everywhere in the streets, in the yards and even on the shores of the Gaza strip. The use of untreated sewage for watering farming lands is common in many areas.

Unless action is taken immediately, two recent studies show that an environmental crisis of great magnitude is likely to jeopardise the viability of Palestinian society and economy.

Objectives:

  • To develop a curriculum on the environment adapted for Palestinian school children from 8 to 12 years old;
  • To mobilize Palestinian children in concrete campaigns to positively improve their environment and through this process, to educate and sensitize them to the importance of environmental issues;
  • To build a strong network of environmental and youth groups in order to encourage discussion and problem solving of mutual concerns.
  • To build strong co-operation and solidarity links between Palestinian and Canadian organisations working for same objectives, mobilizing and educating children and youth for sustainable development.

Achievements:

  • The planning phase;

-Work session in both Canada and Palestine, between CEAD and NRRC, to establish the work plan;

-Meeting with Canadians partners from both side to improve networking;

  • Curriculum development;

-To create a task force made up of educationalists and environmentalists;

-To organize focus groups with teachers and students on selected schools in five areas in the Gaza strip and in seven areas in the West Bank;

-To test curriculum material in 14 pilot schools;

-To produce an environment curriculum for grades 3 to 6, that will be added to the ordinary curriculum in the school system;

-To train teachers in the use of the new curriculum;

-To create a resources centre on environment education;

-To evaluate the meeting of the Task Force, the environment curriculum, the resource centre, the entire process and writing of the evaluation report.

  • Campaigns;

-To organize environmental competition in schools and in summer camps;

-To organize composting demonstration;

-To organize tree planting campaigns;

- To organize clean up campaigns;

- To evaluate the public campaigns.

  • Networking;

- To organize networking meeting and seminars;

- To train people to use E-mail communication;

- To evaluate the use of E-mail and the network of youth and environmental groups.

  • Linkage;

-To develop partnership between Palestinian organizations and Canadian organizations involved in environment awareness programmes with youth and children.

Year: 
1994 - 1996
Locations: 
Palestinian Territory