Yossef Ben-Meir, Ph.D.
High Atlas Foundation
I had such a memorable day today in Amman, Jordan, thanks to the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), with whom the High Atlas Foundation has a grants program to benefit local civil associations in this stunning country of thoroughly deep, even biblical, historical culture.
I met with members of civil organizations from different parts of Amman and in neighboring governorates. They all had clear visions on how they could advance the cause of environmental conservation and sustainable livelihoods in their community areas. I genuinely admired their strategic thinking, their understanding of local to global issues and the interconnections between them, as well as their past experiences and ongoing determination to make a enduringly good difference for everyone around them.
A common theme among the projects they discussed is training young people to be the teachers of environmental issues to even younger people, indeed for society at-large. They presented opportunities to expand upon successful pilot experiences such as bringing new environmental clubs to schools in the same region where they have already shown to be sustainable and successful, including by way of generating revenue from recycling. One project proposal is to bring craft supplies to ten primary schools so that students can draw out and visualize from their own handiwork the environment of the future that they want to see.
I met the Vice President of Academic Affairs of Al-Balqa Applied University, Dr. Ghandi Anfoka, together with faculty and students. They developed a project design to bring five Jordanian women university students from different campuses around the country to spend a week with HAF’s team in Marrakesh to visit together the schools with whom we facilitate environmental education activities, plant trees, and support infrastructure projects that enhance waste management such as bathrooms and water systems. It seems there is a strong desire to strengthen understanding that so much of a beautiful environment depends upon by building awareness, particularly among youth. Furthermore, in order to do this young people who are also intended to be the prime conveyors of the invaluable information need to have experiential learning opportunities. We feel we can provide them terrific ones through this partnership with OES, and by supporting these kinds of programmatic ideas that they have already.
I am so excited to hear about more innovations and projects through this week–starting again tomorrow with 100 university students. If you are part of a Jordanian or Moroccan civil group and seek partnership in order to implement your environmental and developmental initiative, we hope to hear from you.