This PAP funded "Development of Books for Children Focused on Water, Energy and Environment" project had two main goals. The first was increasing the number of individuals who have increased awareness regarding sound environmental behaviors and challenges in Jordan. The second objective was to increase the number of children who read for pleasure. As for the Project's objectives; those included:
Develop 10 children stories aimed at energy and water conservation as well as anti-littering through Jordanian writers, illustrators and designers.
Develop through the assistance of Taghyeer's educational advisor pre and post surveys to measure children's awareness and behavioral change with regards to the environment. Print 3000 copies of 6-story book sets where every child that is read to receives 6 stories to keep Train 100 volunteers on the art of reading aloud to children from all parts of Jordan (actual number of volunteers trained was 175 volunteers) Trainees were also given a short session on environmental challenges in Jordan so that they are more aware of environmental issues while reading to children.
Before reading to children, volunteers were to give the children the pre-reading surveys to assess children's awareness levels of environmental issues. After two months reading the 12 stories to children, volunteers were to give the children the post assessment survey to assess children's environmental awareness levels and to measure whether or not reading stories actually changes children's perceptions and behaviors with regards to conserving the usage of water and energy as well anti-littering. Surveys were then sent to Taghyeer Organization via standard mail to be submitted to the educational consultant for a final report. (Final Consultant's repor t will be submitted end of March 2014) Lessons Learned and Recommendations:
We have learned that women in our local communities are already empowered in the sense that we had enrollment rates that exceeded our expectations. This shows that women are either decision makers or have very supportive families that have encouraged them to participate in a training opportunity that was vague to them.Projects that target women should be culture sensitive. This could be one of the main reasons that we had successful training enrollment rates. Our project empowers women but in a subtle way and in a manner that is culturally and socially sensitive.
We learned that one of the reasons that contributed to our training sessions' success was our team's attire. Women who were mostly modestly clothed could relate to us and as soon as they saw us they put down their guards and were open to what we had to say. Women in our communities; be they in the Capital Amman or in the deep Southern villages, all want to contribute to a better future. They are driven, confident, witty and hardworking. One of the stories that stand out is a young woman from one of Aqaba's remote villages. This young lady had to wait 3 hours on the highway to secure transportation to the training venue, and though her father was not very excited about her having to wait that long in the street, none the less she was determined to attend the training and finally made it.
We learned from these women as much as we have taught them. Working in rural areas is a heartwarming experience. People are very welcoming and open to new opportunities. We have also learned that local communities are skeptic as to USAID's support. In many cases, people turned down attending the training workshops after they found out that the project was USAID funded. Furthermore, we came to learn about children's immense capacity to absorb whatever is taught to them provided that the information is presented in a fun and interesting manner. When we initially started working on the story content, some said that we should make the idioms used easier and more familiar to the kids to insure they understood the language. To our surprise and at one of our site visits we say children using Fus-ha words that were not in their common dialect. This was a very important lesson as this also lead us to learn to never underestimate the capabilities and capacities of our children. They know more than we think they know.