23 August 2012
Ms. Khairia, a science teacher at the UNRWA girls’ school, took four of her students on visits to the Royal Scientific Society and the Jordanian Ministry of Agriculture, where they learned about conservation methods. Then she presented her students with a challenge: to reduce the amount of resources their own school uses.
“Jordan is one of the poorest countries when it comes to water resources”, she explained to her students. “By finding a way to reduce and reuse the water we consume, we can help in solving the water shortage.”
On Environment Day in June, they launched their innovation: with the excess water from the school’s taps and sinks, they purified the “greywater” to be reused in the schoolyard for irrigation and cleaning. The project will save the school from three to four cubic metres of water every month.
In addition, the students showcased solar energy panels that will complement the school’s electricity supply. Both of the initiatives will not only conserve resources, but also cut costs – welcome news for school officials trying to keep up with an increasing refugee youth population.
“I’m inspired by their creativity”, said Mike Oswald, the deputy director of UNRWA affairs in Jordan. “I’m even more proud that these initiatives have come from the students and teachers themselves, demonstrating their commitment to making our schools more environmentally-friendly.”
“Green schools” accomplish several goals for UNRWA, from improving efficiency and conserving the environment to protecting the health of Palestine refugee students. Many of the improvements also serve as educational tools for the students.
And for ninth-grader Amal Abu-Khalaf, the project has also been a confidence-booster. “It showed the local community that we have achieved something special.”