At UNIFIL event, 1,200 schoolchildren learn value of water
After the winter rains south Lebanon looks lush in March. Farmers are already harvesting leafy vegetables from their fields, bright flowers are everywhere and green grass carpets the rocky hills. It feels hard to believe that in a few months water scarcity will become an issue. By the end of summer lack of fresh water is a real challenge for many of the municipalities, particularly those whose residents rely on ponds to collect rain water or who have to dig deep wells to draw fresh water.
On 27 March 2017, for the sixth year in a row, UNIFIL participated in a World Water Day event hosted by the Tyre municipality. The aim was to raise awareness among schoolchildren about the value of water and the need to preserve it.
Aziz Habib, from UNIFIL’s Civil Affairs Office (CAO), said the event is the culmination of a joint effort of UNIFIL CAO, Tyre Municipality and Nestle in the Middle East. About 1,200 young students from 15 schools from the area joined in. “The students take part in recreational and educational activities to learn about the value of water in our daily life, whether at home, office, town or school,” said Mr. Habib.
World Water Day is celebrated annually on March 22. It is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, better known as the “Earth Summit.” This day highlights the sustainable use of freshwater.
The 27 March event in Tyre also included structured learning stands and interactive exhibits where students engaged in practical activities and fun experiments about water-related topics such as the water cycle, ground water, wetlands and water conservation. Although many of the exhibitions were based on water science principles, the festival had a multidisciplinary approach, integrating social science, geography, math, language arts, and art.
Reflecting on the day, Maram al-Dor, a teacher from al-Ja’afariyeh School, said, “The programme is very interesting. The students learned the importance of water to our bodies, to nature, to animals, and plants. They also learned how to use it properly and wisely and how to keep water clean and unpolluted.”
Zahraa Mohsen, a student from Deir Qanoun-Ras al-Ein School, summed the day up well: “Today we learned about water, its importance, its elements, benefits, and how not to pollute it. Now, we should teach others about the water and its importance.”
Article: Aoibheann O’Sullivan
Camera: Mohamad Hamze
Editor: Aoibheann O’Sullivan and Ghifar Charafeddine
Stills: Pascual Goriz