Archive for May, 2014

‘The Railway Park Is in Our Hands’ – Continued

May 25th, 2014

We reported before about the exciting developments that we’re leading, thanks to the support of the UJA-Federation of New York, together with the Community Councils of Greater Baka’a, Gonenim and Ginot Ha’Ir. Now, almost three months later, we held a follow-up meeting, to see what progress has been made on the various projects that were discussed.

21 May Railway Park

21 May 2014 Railway Park Meeting

This time there were about 20 participants, all those and more who committed to advance different projects on the Railway Park that runs from the First Station near Liberty Bell Park to Teddy Stadium. Participants discussed projects such as:

Other ideas that were raised include:

  • A cooperative Cafe, similar to the Bar-Kayma in Tel Aviv
  • Establishing an Internet site for the Park
  • Live music
  • Communal painting drives

“What was noticeable was the creativity that rose out of a group of very different people, who all love the park,” said our own Na’ama Afek-Barzilay. “There were people there who had not been able to come to the first meeting. There were people there who told that they had moved into the area because of the park. The important take-away from this is that the future of these initiatives in the park really are in the hands of residents. The community professionals will lend their assistance, but their success is based on the residents.”

 

Deliberative Democracy in Gilo – Continuing the Process

May 12th, 2014

We’ve described before (here and here) our efforts of bringing deliberative and participatory democracy methods to solve everyday problems in Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood, thanks to the assistance of the UJA-Federation of New York. Recently, we’ve been helping to lead a new process of community initiatives, concentrating on two streets – Tirosh and Odem. This is done, of course, through our partner in Gilo, Gilo Community Council.

What? Only two streets? Bear in mind that Gilo is a huge neighborhood, both geographically and demographically (some 30,000 residents). Thus, Tirosh and Odem streets comprise more than 2,000 residents, according to the Jerusalem Institute of Israel Studies.

We held our first meeting on January 29, 2014, with about 30 residents, which raised initial concerns and issues that the residents sought to solve. Two weeks after that a number of residents toured the neighborhood together with the city planner assigned to southern Jerusalem, to go over the complaints and issues that were raised in the meeting.

Discussing issues for improvement

Discussing issues for improvement

On March 9 a second meeting was held, encouraging residents to take the lead in solving problems that are important to them. Seven initiatives were born at this meeting; a follow-up meeting to see how they are progressing is scheduled for next week, May 19. The initiatives included:

  • Creating a recycling / composting center on the street;
  • Safety of pupils going to school;
  • Improving the public garden on  Tirosh St.
  • Sanitation on the street;
  • Deal with issues of traffic and road safety;
  • Cultivating greenery and plants in the neighborhood;
  • Improving signage on Odem and Tirosh Streets.
Going into detail, formulating a plan

Going into detail, formulating a plan

Stay tuned for more updates!

MiniActive Peer Learning with Women from Kfar Qassem

May 8th, 2014

In the everyday operation of the MiniActive project in East Jerusalem, the focus is on that which is in the  immediate vicinity – one’s house, one’s street, one’s neighborhood. Occasionally, though, we have an opportunity to facilitate activities that enable our fantastic cadre of women to meet and learn from Palestinian women from other parts of the country. Over the past four months, a group of 25 MiniActive women has been meeting with a women’s leadership group from the city of Kfar Qassem, about an hour’s drive north-east of Jerusalem, just north – west of Rosh Ha’ayin and Petach Tikvah. This group focuses on healthy eating and natural beauty care products and how they relate to the environment. This exchange  was made possible through the Kidron-Wadi-El-Nar Program.

January 29 workshop Kfar Qassem

January 29 workshop – Kfar Qassem

Beginning in January, both groups participated in a series of exchanges, alternating between Kfar Qassem and Jerusalem. The first meeting, in Kfar Qassem, introduced both groups to each other. The theme of the meeting was healthy eating, and the teacher was a well-known chef from the northern town of Umm elFahem. The February meeting was held in Jerusalem, where the the guests heard and saw more about what MiniActive does. Both groups also went on a tour in southern Jerusalem to: the outlook point in Abu Tor, which overlooks the entire Abu Tor / Silwan area.

February 26 Abu Tor

February 26 – Abu Tor

The promenade in Armon Hanatziv, with its breathtaking view of the Old City.

February 26 Armon Hanatziv

February 26 – Armon Hanatziv

Then the group arrived at the Afak school in Sur Baher, which is a school for special needs children that works with its children in an on-site greenhouse, and saves water by using rainwater collecting system to help to water the plants and flush toilets.

February 26 school

February 26 – Afak school

In March the MiniActive women traveled again to Kfar Qassem, and learned about a school’s garden there, about compost, healthy eating. Part of their project includes producing natural plant-based creams and other products and nutritional supplements.

March 26 natural creams

March 26 – natural creams

Yesterday (May 7) we held the final meeting, also in Kfar Qassem. This included a tour of the area and a summary of the encounter series.