Doha Mother & Child Community Center
The Bethlehem Development Foundation and the Doha Municipality are developing an operational plan for the Hussam and Suhair Abu Issa Mother and Child Community Center. The Foundation has used the expertise of its board members and external experts to survey community needs in and around Doha to determine the purpose of the centre and the optimal services it can provide. There was consensus on the need to allocate the centre to serve women and to work on operating it as a tool for empowering women socially and economically through programs and projects that the foundation will seek in partnership with the municipality to guide the centre’s management to formulate them. However, this requires, at the outset, the preparation of an in-depth study that clearly sets out the vision and objectives, an operational plan and an organizational structure that will gain the centre sufficient confidence and standards that qualify it to present these projects to local and international partners concerned in the sector of empowering Palestinian women. The cooperation that started 6 years ago, between the foundation and with the Municipality of Doha is still ongoing to develop an implementation plan with clear steps and a timeframe that allows the Doha Municipality to maximize the potential benefit for the whole allocated component. Mother-Child life-transforming Program Part of the constructed building will be used by the women of the community for physical exercise and indoor sports using specialized training equipment to help improve the physical and psychological wellbeing of the women of the community. Community-Based Preschool Education Program for Children Skills such as naming colours, showing affection, and hopping on one foot are called developmental milestones. Developmental milestones are things most children can do by a certain age. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (like crawling, walking, or jumping). Women Physical and Health Empowerment ‑Sports Center In the community centre Health and Fitness section we offer a superb variety of exercise classes, sports lessons, fitness groups and leisure activities for all women. We help them gain confidence and wellbeing, but most of all help them to enjoy exercise and sports. E-learning Program The aim of the capacity-building intervention is to initiate skill development and introduce foundational concepts in support of engaging online learners.
Efficient Street Lighting
Over the years, street lighting expense in Bethlehem has become a growing burden on the local authorities, even though part of it is directly paid for by the residents. Especially during the Christmas period, the cost of street lighting reaches $40,000 monthly. Additionally, the condition of the street lighting networks needs continuous maintenance often requiring new parts. These facts drove BDF to promote efficient street lighting efforts with solar energy. Starting with the main streets of Bethlehem Governorate, a needs assessment study was carried out by BDF to identify the needed electricity to light 28 kilometres of main and rural streets. The study identified the need for working on three levels in parallel. The first one is to design and install the needed PV solar farms, the second is to replace sodium lamps with high consumption of energy with LED lamps and last to install new lighting poles as needed. A project proposal was developed and submitted to the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), and in August 2020 AFESD approved to fund the first phase of the project. BDF agreed with the municipalities of Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour to prioritize the streets that need lighting according to their touristic importance and to the current condition of the existing lighting network. Priority was given to the historical core area of each city.
Shepherds’ Field Street Rehabilitation Project
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, public spaces, including streets, squares and parks, have become a central priority for local authorities trying to reassess how the users interact with these spaces. A year later, the way we look at and deal with public spaces has shifted. These places, which once acted as a stage for local authorities, are now being repurposed to serve the community in a way that resonates with the “new normal”. The ways in which the users previously interacted with these spaces, and their subsequent impact on the adjacent places, brings to question how they will be used moving forward. As people were locked down, they soon realized the importance of being able to be mobile by engaging in regular exercise, walking and participating in outdoor recreation. Now, more than ever, we see the need to provide the community with a clean, safe and free environment throughout the governorate of Bethlehem. In response to this need, and in collaboration with the Beit Sahour municipality, BDF put forward a design proposal to ameliorate the environment of the public Toward Sustainable Streets For All-spaces by creating the first sustainable roadway. Based on international standards of design, Shepherds Street will be the main link to the historic and touristic area that takes into consideration pedestrians, cyclists and motorists safety and comfort. This urban intervention, the first phase of the street rehabilitation program in Beit Sahour, will provide a safe and smooth link to the historical sites in the city and will encourage visitors to spend more time experiencing the city. This will also create new opportunities for the communities and visitors to interact in a new way. It will also encourage and support both the urban and economic development of the city. In order to materialize this vision, the urban practitioners at the Bethlehem Development Foundation (BDF), have studied global guidelines in order to put forward a locally viable proposal that creates multi-use and sustainable products that meet the needs of the community. The street also includes the use of progressive street furniture such as smart benches, which offer important tourist information and the installation of green solar canopies that provide power for streets lights and other public spaces.
Hussam & Suhair Abu Issa Community Center Building
The multipurpose hall was established on land owned by the Municipality in accordance with the current laws of the municipalities and local authorities. As a part of the Al Doha Strategic plan, the municipality aims at enhancing the community services by developing community participation and social integration, and by providing effective access to various activities and programs addressed to youth, women, and elderly people. Project Description Building a multipurpose hall will help Doha municipality to achieve this goal. Starting in 2015, the municipality allocated 1000 square meters of land to build the Doha community complex. Squiring a donation from the Bethlehem Development Foundation the municipality completed the 5x5 football mini soccer. A year later the concrete structure of the multipurpose hall was completed. However, and do you lack funding the municipality of Doha is unable to complete the finishing works of the two levels building and is approaching donors to do so. The two floors will host a youth centre. In 600 square meters per floor, the hall will have multipurpose meeting rooms, computer lab, youth and children rooms, library and archives room, family protection and program room, sports unit. Upon completion of the project, the municipality is hoping to be able to serve nearly 15,000 people yearly and create job opportunities. Estimate cost and duration At a total estimated cost of $350K, 10% of which will be covered by the municipality, the municipal council is hoping to complete the project in one year. “This project was graciously adopted by Mr Husam and Mrs Suhair Abu Issa”.
Nativity Church Restoration: A Project we Support
Restoration of the Church of Nativity: In the year of 2008 and by a Presidential decree, The Presidential Committee for Restoration of the Church of Nativity was established. The Committee is currently headed by Eng. Ziad Albandak and membership of Marwan Abdelhamid, Varsen Aghabekian, Nazmi Al Jubeh, Khouloud Daibes, Claudette Habesch, Nabil Kassis, Issa Kassissieh and Anton Salman. By the year of 2010, the Palestinian Authority and the Presidential Committee, after coordinating and getting the approvals from the different concerned churches, announced a design and assessment effort tender. This tender has been established to direct the restoration program of the Nativity Church. The Design agreement was signed off in September 2010 with the selected consortium in the presence and witness of the Prime Minister Dr Salam Fayyad and the representatives of the three concerned churches, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Holy Land Custody Terra Sancta and the Armenians Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The three stages of design were completed in October 2011. The design package comprised of a final report, tender documents, design drawings and a Bill of Quantities for each component of the restoration program of the Nativity Church. The Presidential Committee awarded the Italian firm “Piacenti spa” the contract for Phase I: “Roof and Windows Restoration” on July 25, 2013, since their submitted tender proposal on June 14, 2013, got the highest scores in both technical and financial offers throughout a competitive international bidding process. On August 26, 2013, an agreement was signed between the Palestinian Presidential Committee for the Restoration of the Church of Nativity as Employer and Piacenti S.p.a. – Italy as the “Contractor” to start the first phase of restoration “Roof & Windows”.The late Mr Said Khoury, Co-Founder of Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) and founder of the Bethlehem Development Foundation (BDF), spearheaded the needed studies and was the first to fund these restorations in 2011. In 2013 and beyond, BDF was able to secure a generous donation of $1M from The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development to fund the restoration of the external facades and internal plaster. In September 2018 BDF secured funding from the Levant Foundation to fund the restoration of the last 11 columns of the central nave of the Nativity Church. Since the commencement of the restoration works on September 15, 2013, the Committee has been receiving generous donations from different donors, which enabled them to start and complete other restoration tasks based on a list of priorities and according to the final study recommendations. These additional works included the restoration of the narthex, the narthex eastern wooden door, the external stone façades, internal wall plastering, wall mosaic, the Basilica metal doors, wooden architraves, the installation of the electrical systems “lighting and smoke detection systems”, 33 columns out of the Basilica 50 columns and two portions of the floor mosaic. For more information, please visit: http://www.nativityrestoration.ps/
Solid Waste Management
Solid Waste Management (SWM) was a challenging issue facing Bethlehem Governorate. It contributed to many pollution problems in spite of gradual improvement. There are some serious shortfalls in SWM in which are potentially causing a significant impact on the environment and public health. Wide improvements were urgently needed for the solid waste management system. The project consisted of two components: The first was the preparation of a solid waste master plan for serving the Bethlehem Governorate up to 2034. Focus group discussions, surveys for household residents’ and SWM program operators, on-site waste characterizations and field investigations, were conducted. Per capita, waste generation rates varied between different localities with a mean value of 0.74 kg /person/day. The average percentage of waste was organic (40.9% by weight), suggesting a strong resource recovery potential in terms of animal feed or compost. Recyclable waste (plastic, paper and card, glass and metals) made up 40% by weight of the waste composition suggesting an incentive to introduce source separation. Most localities (91.4%) in Bethlehem Governorate have a solid waste collection service. Different options for improving the efficiency of the existing SW routing system in Bethlehem have been studied, and the optimum one has been recommended. The core change to waste collection is a proposed new system to be implemented in 18 waste catchment areas. Efficient routing of solid waste collection vehicles have been designed which will decrease costs by reducing the distances to be travelled, labourers expended for collection and the number of collection vehicles. Forty-eight dumping sites have been surveyed in Bethlehem governorate and detailed recommendations for their rehabilitation and control have been presented a detailed financial analysis of two scenarios to have a transfer station (TS) or not in Bethlehem governorate has been investigated. The analysis shows that the mean direct and indirect operating costs for the collection and transporting of one ton from Bethlehem governorate to Al Menya landfill with a Transfer station will be at a higher cost. So, the final decision was not to establish a TS and re-evaluating the need for it every 5 years. The Master Plan recommended that the solid waste collection system for Bethlehem governorate should include construction and demolition waste in addition to the planning and construction of a sanitary landfill for these wastes. In order to reach a sustainable situation of SWM at Bethlehem governorate, different issues should be enhanced such as expertise, funding, public awareness and facilities and equipment that are currently lacking or inappropriate. SW recycling should be considered as an important option and a priority to reduce the degradation of the environment. The second component involved the procurement of solid waste containers, waste collection equipment and building of a central maintenance station. Comprehensive surveys in Bethlehem localities exposed the real needs of the different types of containers which includes steel and plastic waste containers, wooden dust bins for touristic areas, steel mesh basket containers for solid cardboard waste separation at source, plastic containers for butchers’ waste separation at source and a plastic container for compost at the household level. Solid Waste Containers was awarded to Al Marah Company for Industry and Trading with a Total Price of $400,234. Surveys also exposed the need for the procurement of solid waste vehicles including compactors, large street sweeper trucks, mini street sweepers, a skid steer loader, a mini-tipper truck, a roll-on-roll-off truck and a vacuum cleaner for street litter. The bulk of the heavy equipped was supplied by Al Assbah Company for Heavy Equipment (VOLVO). Other suppliers included BOW Equipment Co, Palestinian Tractor & Equipment Co (CATERPILLAR), Lot 3 The surveys found that the Joint Services Council for Solid Waste Management is in dire need of a central maintenance workshop, fully equipped with tools and machinery. The Construction of the Central Maintenance Station and Administration building was constructed by Al Helo Contracting. A public awareness campaign has been implemented during this Project. Four central workshops under the title “Towards a clean and beautiful environment in Bethlehem” that targeted related groups and individuals in Bethlehem governorate have been conducted. Workshops evaluation ranged from excellent to very good. At the end of the project, also 10 theatrical awareness plays were made in schools targeting all malpractices and encouraging good practices conducted by Al-Hara Theatre in cooperation with Al-Asbah Company – Volvo Dealer.
Manger Square Beautification
The late Mr Said Khoury, Co-founder of CCC and founder of BDF has pledged to rehabilitate and beautify Manger Square. Objectives and Rationale Manger Square is the iconic centre of Bethlehem and the hub of various religious activities and festivals celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. As well as national and social celebrations. Planning and \beautification of Manger Square aims at reclaiming the functionality of the square as an open space and its status as an urban landmark free of vehicular traffic. It will help in prolonging tourist stay in Bethlehem, job creation and the overall quality of life. Project Phase-1 KNT Construction Company executed works at the three municipal buildings surrounding Manger Square. At the old municipality building, the roof water distribution system was rearranged for optimal use and minimal load. The sixty-year-old waterproofing was replaced, the front facade windows were enlarged while all other windows were replaced and all the outside stone facades were cleaned and repointed. At the new municipality building, all facades were cleaned by water jetting and sandblasting and the roof was cleaned up. Similarly, the Peace Center facades were cleaned by water jetting and sand plastering. The roof was cleaned and the main façade doors and windows repaired and repainted. Project Phase-2 Works were executed by Al-Maher General Contracting Company and included: The Square Improvements: The Square improvements included various landscaping interventions including patching of damaged tiles, cleaning of stone elements, adding new signage to shops and installing two digital screens. The main entrance to the Municipality was changed by replacing the existing short wall with a planter, adding flag poles, fixing street tiling and drainage and streamlining traffic with fixed bollards and moveable planters and creating new parking for the Mayor away from the entrance Afteem’s Road is an essential exit of the square, the surface was tiled and the road had no drainage system, our intervention included asphalt with a rough texture to avoid a slippery surface, adding a drainage system to the road, and adding a new staircase for pedestrians.