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    Posted: 01 June 2005 at 11:23am
The Fourth Annual International Summer Camp
"Volunteers for Development" 2005
A Tradition That Will Go On…

      Who are we?

This camp is being organized in cooperation between two well known Palestinian NGOs, the Agricultural Development Association (PARC) and the Youth Development Association (YDA).

Since 1983 PARC cherished voluntary work and volunteers and considered them as its pillars. Despite its expansion PARC depended greatly on volunteers' efforts in the implementation of its programs and activities. The importance of those volunteers and their committees was evident after the outbreak of the second Intifada since they’ve implemented most of PARC’s projects when the employees where unable to access the targeted villages due to the imposed siege. It is worth mentioning that in 2003 voluntary work was equivalent to 146% of the paid work.
Believing in the importance of voluntary work and in youth as Palestine's main natural resource in 2002 PARC paid more attention to rural youth and formed the Youth & Voluntary Work department. The idea of establishing youth gatherings flourished to serve the integration of the developmental process, to reinforce the voluntary work as a basis for an economic and social development, in addition to build a youth generation capable of assuming leading roles in its society. Accordingly work was initiated with a group of activities aiming at gathering youth as a basis for building a vital youth movement in Palestine

In 2002 54 youth gatherings were formed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The total number of members who were subscribed to these gatherings has reached 2553 in 2002.

In 2003 the number of youth gatherings with which we cooperated has increased to become 70 youth gatherings spread all over the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The total number of youth members has reached 2639 throughout Palestine. Moreover, work has been made with 40 environmental clubs throughout schools in Palestine. The total number of club members has reached 1509.

Due to the youth gatherings' expansion and development there was a need to provide legal coverage for them, a thing that was achieved by the end of 2003 through obtaining the official authorization as an independent entity from the Palestinian Ministry of Interior under the name of "Youth Development Association" (YDA).

YDA focuses in its programs on training young leaders, promoting voluntary work and empowering youth to reinforce their role in building the Palestinian civil society.

YDA aims at:
•      Building and developing the youth capacities.
•      Promoting voluntary work.
•      Contributing in solving unemployed youth problems.
•      Providing places for youth to practice and develop their talents.
•      Creating youth leaders and building their capacities to lead & protect the Palestinian youth movement’s objectives and to serve the democratic Palestinian society

Currently YDA is part of PARC's coalition and both will cooperate to organize this Summer International Camp.  

      How we started?

The idea of organizing a summer international camp sprang in 2002 as an attempt to revive voluntary work tradition in the Palestinian rural areas after it witnessed a considerable deterioration since the return of the Palestinian National Authority in 1994.  That same year the camp "Volunteers for Development" was organized and it took place at Al-Zababdeh training center for 10 consecutive days to promote solidarity with the Palestinian people and to develop voluntary work for the benefit of the rural areas. Seventy (70) volunteers participated in that summer camp, half of them were local volunteers the other half were international.  The volunteers were split into groups volunteering in different fields.  A group rehabilitated a farm that belonged to a poor farmer. Another group rehabilitated Al-Zababdeh public school garden.  The third group conducted small PRA research in two villages. Moreover, journalism groups were also formed to introduce the volunteers more closely to the political, social & economic conditions of the Palestinian people.

Upon the success of 2002 International summer camp, PARC committed itself to organize annual International summer camps as a tradition. Consequently in 2003 the second International summer camp was organized under “Resisting the Wall” theme. In 2003 the summer camp was innovated and developed.  The volunteers were distributed on 5 villages that were Tubas, Beit Fureek, Faqua, Al-Jadidah and Shwekeh. One hundred (100) direct International and Palestinian volunteers participated in that camp; however 400 local people from the villages joined the summer camp volunteers and participated in the activities.  The camp duration was 10 days. It is worth noting that the activities accomplished by the camp volunteers in the villages were chosen upon a PRA study made to identify the villages' most urgent needs.

In 2004 the third "Volunteers for Development" camp was organized under the theme “The Apartheid Wall Impact on Palestinian Youth”. The camp has lasted for 10 days starting from 6th to 17th of August.  This time the camp has been hosted in YMCA premises in Bethlehem. The camp mainly aimed at highlighting the Palestinian rural youth’s realty through conducting PRA studies based on intercultural learning and youth participation approach in 5 villages harmed by the apartheid wall.  Sixty (65) youth volunteers participated in that camp from whom 25 were Internationals. 

The volunteers were distributed into working groups that volunteered in Housan, Alwalajeh, Al-Khas We Al-Nouman, Wad Foukin, Nahalin and in Bethlehem city. All of these villages suffer greatly from the Israeli Occupation followed procedures such as the Apartheid Wall and the Israeli colonies.  Each working group has done two kinds of voluntary work, a PRA study on the Wall impact on the Palestinian youth and manual work according to the targeted villages needs. 

This camp was innovative and distinguished than the previous ones because first, it was held in Bethlehem. Second, the recruitment of volunteers followed very strict selection criteria and procedures. Third, volunteers had the chance to encounter the consequences of living under isolation through individual observations, research, and interaction with the villagers that are affected by the wall construction.  The volunteers' awareness of the Apartheid Wall details was also raised and deepened through the lectures that were held in the evenings by specialist speakers. 

As part of our constant effort to improve our gained experience in deepening cooperation ties between the Palestinian and International youth to further enhance the international solidarity with Palestinian people and their legislative rights the fourth International summer Camp "Volunteers for Development" will be held on 10th -20th of August 2005.

      Our theme for this year:

On September 29th, 2000 the Palestinian Uprising broke out expressing general feelings of frustration of the retarded peace negotiations between the Palestinian authority and Israeli government. According to the statistics recorded until September 25, 2004 the intensive military repressions used by the Israeli Occupation army have claimed 3334 Palestinian lives from whom 18.63% are children under 17 years old . Moreover, The Palestinian territories were ripped by 120 Israeli checkpoints. These checkpoints divide the West Bank into 300 separate clusters and the Gaza Strip into 3 separate clusters. The imposed Israeli siege and the construction of the “Land Grapping Wall” in the Palestinian territories have had their destructive consequences on various walks of the Palestinian life.
Despite the enormousness of the Palestinian human crises little is known by the international community on the real situation in the Palestinian lands. We believe that 2005 "Volunteers for Development" camp is a golden opportunity for whoever interested in going into the depth of the Palestinian –Israeli conflict.
Through this camp we aim at highlighting the isolation conditions that the Palestinian people are experiencing and their impact on the social, economic and political aspects of the Palestinians' lives. Thus 2005 International summer camp will be held under the theme:
"Apartheid Wall Impact on Palestinian Life"

      2005 Camp's Description:

The Camp’s specific Objectives:
Through this camp we aim at achieving the following objectives:
-      Raise the international youth’s awareness on the wall threat on learning among the Palestinian & International volunteers.
-      To support and promote youth participation in voluntary work and youth exchange activities.
-      To promote cooperation with rural community.
-      To increase solidarity towards the Palestinian people
Camp’s Duration:     
The planned duration of the camp is ten days starting from August 10th, up to August 20th, 2005. 
The Camp’s Methodology & Calendar:
During the camp the volunteers will conduct two kinds of voluntary work, mental and manual work. They will be distributed into five working groups ideally balanced between international and Palestinian volunteers.  Each working group will provide two days of mental voluntarism through conducting field visits and writing articles on the impact of the apartheid wall on different aspects of the Palestinian life. The volunteers are also expected to publish these articles and distribute them to as many newspapers, magazines and websites as possible. In addition to the 2 days of journalism each working group will provide 5 days of manual work based on the targeted villages needs.
Through this camp 5 villages will be targeted, three (3) from Jenin Area and two from Tulkarem area. The targeted villages are basically harmed by the Apartheid wall and suffer from high levels of poverty. On the other hand, these villages are well known for their people's activism and hospitality.

The Camp’s Location:
The camp is located in Al-Zababdeh village. Al-zababdeh is located 15 km. to the eastern south of Jenin city. Its topographic relief is plain and 330 m above the sea level.
The villages’ spaces are around 5700 dunums in which cereals and vegetables are cultivated. The most important source of income for the inhabitances of Al-Zababdeh is the cultivation of Olive trees, Figs and Almonds.  Al-zababdeh village is surrounded with Talfit, Msalyeh, Seer and Qabatia villages.
On 1922 Al-Zababdeh population was 482 inhabitances, 870 inhabitances in 1945 and 1500 inhabitances in 1967.  In 1996 Al-zababdeh population was estimated to be 3586 inhabitances. Most of them are originally from Rafeedia, Burqa, Nisef Jebail and AL-Taybeh villages.
The village has a village council, one mosque and four churches. Moreover, there are 2 private girls’ schools as well as few public schools for all educational stages.
PARC has chosen this lovely village to establish its training center named after “Al-shaheed Naim Khader “. It is worth mentioning that this center is the only training construction in the northern districts of the West Bank.

The camp volunteers will be hosted in “Al-Shaheed Naim Khader” training center. It is a fully equipped center for theoretical & practical training purposes. The training center could also be used by either PARC’s target groups (Farmers, rural women and youth) or by the new graduate agronomists through PARC’s training program.  The training center is established on 10 dunums piece of land. It’s outstanding location   makes the training even more interesting and useful.  Naim Khader center is close to agricultural areas and surrounded with a number of villages.

The Center Equipment & Possessions:

•      Fully equipped 4 halls that could absorb 900 people.

•      Two floors hostel that includes 27 master rooms that could absorb 60 people.

•      In each floor there is a big resting room. The hostel is fully furnished.

•      Computer lab includes 8 computers, printer and internet.  It is worth mentioning that soon more computers will be added.

•      General library that includes more than 500 books and magazines in addition to the researches and practical projects.

•      A comprehensive training unit. This unit includes poultry raising and sheep breeding yards.  Each yard is 200m2 . In addition to that the center includes a 500m2 green house and bee keeping farm.

•      Water treatment plant for agricultural uses.

•      A big water cistern for drinking and domestic uses. Around 13 cubic meters are pulled out each hour.

The Camps’ Participants:
The camps’ capacity is to host 60 volunteers, 30 International volunteers willing to share life and exchange with 30 Palestinian volunteers.
The door is opened for youth leaders and youth workers who are:
-      Active in local associations, community organizations or youth services.
-      Willing to provide voluntary services to some Palestinian villages were they could interact with the Palestinian youth and the Palestinian rural community.
-      Ready & able to attend the full duration of the summer camp.
-      Aged between 20-35 years inclusive.
-      Able to work in English or Arabic.
-      Master computer skills.
The Camp’s Working Languages:
The camp’s main working languages will be Arabic and English.
      Useful Logistics:
Transportation and Accommodation:
The participants will finance their own external transportation (Airplane tickets). Accommodation expenses including food and inner transportation will be taken care of by the camp's organizers. 
The participants will spend the camp duration in Al-zababdeh training center were they would share rooms and benefit from all the other available facilities.

The Camp’s Climate:
The camp will be held in August in Al-zababdeh village therefore the expected weather will be sunny, hot and with high humidity. Expected temperatures are around 30 C.
Insurance & Security measures:
It is expected that participants will have an insurance policy before arriving Palestine. In respect to security, we have a long experience in organizing such activities, starting from being part of the campaigns organized by GIPP & PNGO network. Internationals rarely confronted danger on the contrary their presence indirectly contributes to the security of the areas in which they operate.
      How to Apply for this Camp:
People who are interested in participating in this voluntary camp are asked to fill the attached form and to send it to the camp coordinator via fax or e-mail on the following contact numbers before June 15th,2005:
      Attention Ms. Maha Abu Shama'a
      Subject Volunteers filled form
      Tel: 00 972 2 296 38 40
      Fax: 00 972 2 296 38 50
      e-mail: [email protected]

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