A participatory lab for community development

Starting 2014
Objective To enhance the socio-economic situation of the Bedouin communities in Gaza.
Project Status In progress
Funded by unione europeavaldesi
– European Union, DCI-NSA program
– Tavola Valdese
– Private donors of Vento di Terra

Overall objective is to enhance the situation of the Bedouin communities in Gaza Strip, promoting socio economic empowerment and sustainable development strategies. Specific objective is strengthening the Children’s Land Center in the Bedouin village of Um Al Naser as a focal point for community development reducing the socioeconomic marginalization of Bedouin youth and women thanks to the promotion of basic educational services for Bedouin families.

Since the Bedouin village of Um Al Naser is undergoing a deep economic crisis and registers one of the higher level of poverty in the Strip, the project proposal, will also promote the activation of income generating activities for Bedouin women and youth.

The action is focused on the reinforcement and institutionalization of the Children’s Land Center in the Bedouin village of Um Al Naser.The project is targeting Bedouin women, children and youth, living in the northern area, closed to the Buffer Zone. Income generating activities for women and youth will be implemented to reinforce the offer of basic social services already provided by the Children’s Land center. They will be integrated, promoting a new approach in educational services development. Since Bedouin community is particularly restricted, and activities will have a huge impact on the Bedouin social structure, the strategy of implementation has been shared with the authorities of the village. As for the special requirements indicated, the action foresees a capacity building process for local actors and their qualified participation.

The aim is to formally recognize the Children’s Land Center and its role in community development. Considering its specificity, the process will focus on the promotion of innovative approaches in the educational field, in terms of social services implementation and qualified supplies to other centres.
The project also intends to guarantee to families and children of Um Al Nasser a safe and suitable place where to play, learn and grow, rebuilding a common community perspective. The village is located in a very crucial area: close to the border of the No Go Zone, surrounded by the basins collecting black water from all north Gaza, it is characterized by the worst environmental condition. Children grow up in an atmosphere of restriction and diseases, unable to experience the necessary freedom in their growing paths. The need for basic education services for children, is accompanied by the lack of activities in support of women. At the same time, it is necessary to create a link among those few experiences that are promoting new pedagogical interventions in the Strip, overcoming the oppression and the closure due to the occupation and to the problematic internal political situation.

The capacity building process represents the core of the action. It is intended as a basic instrument to increase management, directions, networking and fundraising skills ensuring the project sustainability, enhancing the endogenous resources already active in the targeted community. To empower skills and abilities, examples of good practices promoted at international level and in particular the experience of Reggio Children, to which the project is inspired, will be studied and analyzed through the establishment of an international networking. This process phase will enhance the local recognition of the center as knower and promoter of innovative approaches in childhood and community development programs.

The capacity building process will be also supported and made more effective thanks to the creation of extra spaces for the implementation of Center’s activities. A new building unit of 200mq made in bio-climatic architecture will be constructed to increase the availability of places for the Children’s Land Centre. The new building will host a women centre, targeting Bedouin women, and two income generating labs for Bedouin women and youth economic empowerment.

The project also includes the purchase of a bus that, properly equipped, that will serve as KGBUS for the realization of networking activities between different educational centers of the north of the Gaza Strip. Through open day and initiatives, about 400 children will be involved in activities by following innovative educational and participatory approaches.