The Jordan Valley Project site is the triangular section in foreground
As Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip escalate, more and more Palestinian civilians are being displaced by damage or destruction to their homes. The need for refugee shelter has become critical. Geoff and Nadia Lawton are currently working on a PRI project in a Palestinian refugee village in Jordan. The project, known as the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project, is an effort to set up a Permaculture demonstration and education center. Due to the increased influx of refugees that will need food and shelter, this project is essential for survival for these people fleeing to the very arid Dead Sea Valley. Geoff, Nadia and others are working at full speed to get this center established as soon as possible so they can train refugees and impoverished locals to set up similar sustainable systems (food, water, shelter).
Geoff and Nadia Lawton with Palestinian Children, January 2009
A little one-room building is already on site
The site is located in the Al Jawfa area in the western Jordan/Dead Sea Valley just 10 km north of the Dead Sea and 6 km east of the Jordanian-Palestinian border, directly east of the West Bank. The local population is made up of traditional Bedouin tribes and long-term refugees stemming from the creation of the state of Israel and displacement of local populations from within Palestine.
Like Geoff Lawton’s previous project in Jordan where he helped transform 10-acres of non productive, extremely dry and salted farmland into a sustainable and productive food source for the local community, this project will also be a model for sustainable arid land development. It will demonstrate that all the basic needs for a healthy, meaningful, peaceful lifestyle can be affordable, understood and achieved by those with little money.
The First Trees Planted Are Now Growing Well
The First Garden is
Producing Some Vegetables
The project site is a typical marginal arid land low-income settlement in the area. It will demonstrate energy-efficient appropriate housing with natural cooling systems and a plant nursery attachment, solar electricity, solar hot water, biological waste water treatment recycling, dry compost toilets, rain water harvesting earthworks and diverse interactive plant, animal and tree systems for local food production and processing. The demonstration house will function as a classroom and administration office for the project and local Permaculture group. Once established, the project will serve as a model that can be replicated within the village, throughout Jordan and other countries in the region.
The project, started in 2008, has already seen significant progress. The first trees were planted and are growing well and the first garden is producing some vegetables. Now, the water tank needs to be expanded, the fence and gate improved and the rest of the project started. The current focus is to set up basic living accommodations for volunteers coming to work on the project. PRI has the people power in place to move on this project, but is in great need of funds to purchase supplies. Any chance of the smallest financial support would be greatly appreciated. In this heightened time of great tragedy for the Palestinian people, this is something positive we can all do to directly affect their survival.
Items you could donate towards (in US$):
- Water tank: 3x 2 cubic meter tanks needed $120
- Chain link fence 2 meter with steel posts and gates $2,500
- Extension to the small house to build a small kitchen, store room and basic shower $720
- 2 Lockable steel doors for store room and main entrance $200
- 1 square meter of project land $15
- Kitchen basic equipment $95
- 100m of 20mm irrigation pipe $22
- 1 fruit tree $4.5
- Mains water connection $315
- Electricity connection $100
- 6 cubic meter of drinking and irrigation water $20
- Basic hand tools $250
- Truck load of manure $75
- Solar Hot water $750
- Plant Nursery $200
- Compost Tea Micro brewer $250