Lebanon Mountain Trail Association helps preserving water springs
PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE USE OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
Building on the success of the Lebanon Mountain Trail (LMT) project (2005-2008) and the momentum generated by the Lebanon Mountain Trail Association (LMTA) (2007-Present), LMTA developed a project aimed to promote water awareness and conservation. “Water Awareness on the Lebanon Mountain Trail – WAT”.
In September 2012, USAID Lebanon awarded the LMTA a two-year Cooperative Agreement. The project has been designed to protect the Lebanon Mountain Springs through developing a methodolical approach to protect mountain springs in Lebanon while promoting water awareness and behavior change.
The overall purpose of the project is to raise awareness on water status in Lebanon through producing communication materials to be used by hikers and educational materials to be used by teachers in public and private schools in Lebanon and abroad.
Throughout the project implementation, WAT facilitated the water dialogue with students, teachers, municipalities, water establishments, trail guides, hikers, scouts members, ministries and ministers.
As a result, WAT i) conducted water testing for 53 mountain springs on the Lebanon Mountain Trail (LMT), i) conducted water knoweldge surveys on 100 households, 58 students, 100 farmers, and 50 hikers, i) produced 5000 water leaflet, i) faciliated 6 water dialogues with water establishments, municiaplities and ministries i) produced 300 water educational mdoules in three languages, i) 20 teachers from public and private schools were trained on the use of the module, i) 500 students from different schools visited the Lebanon Mountain Trail, i) produced 1000 guide books on the LMT Springs, i) trained 50 guides on trail protection and water conservation, and i) 6 water days were organized with scouts members and young volunteers and i) 6 water cascades and rivers were cleaned from solid waste.
CHANGE THE HABITS AND START FROM SCHOOL
The WAT project aim to promote water awareness and behavior change. Therefore, WAT conducted water testing of mountain springs on the Lebanon Mountain Trail (LMT) to develop a public database of the water springs. This database is continuously updated on the organization website (www.lebanontrail.org).
In addition, WAT produced a Guide Book addressed to hikers highlighting the springs on the LMT, its GPS coodinates, its location according to the trail and to the next spring, its historical significance and if safe to drink from. In addition, we mobilized the municipalities along the trail to protect the mountain springs in their village.
Therefore, we facilitated water dialogues with municipalities and local actors to dissiminate the spring results and work together to put an end for water pollution. We also worked closely with young volunteers and cleaned waterfall, rivers and river bodies from solid waste. The WAT project aim to infuse the water education in schools.
Therefore, we produced water leaflets and were distributed in municipalities, ministries, water establishments. We also developed a water module to be used by teachers in private and public schools. The Water Education on the Lebanon Mountain Trail module has been produced in three language; arabic, french and english.
The module is designed to be taught in an inter-disciplinary way, with activities suitable for the following classes; chemistry, visual arts, math, geography, life sciences and civic education. The module assists teachers with students’ different stages of learning grade 3 to 10 (age 8 to 15).
HOW LEBANON MOUNTAIN TRAIL ASSOCIATION’S ACTION IS ESSENTIAL
Based on the preliminary field work conducted by the LMTA team, different threats on mountain springs: urbanization and uncontrolled construction; illegal water pumping; mismanagement of public water infrastructures; excessive irrigation and grazing.
Therefore, LMTA designed WAT project to protect the mountain springs and promote water awareness and behavior change. LMTA developed the first database of mountain springs in Lebanon with focus on the springs on or close by the trail. The database is made public and will be used to develop future projects regarding the protection of mountain springs from high and medium level of pollution.
In Lebanon, different ministries and organizations plays a role in the management of our water ressources, but in reality water management starts at home though awareness and behavior change, and this can begin with the new generation who is more receptive to such messages. Thus, WAT developed the water module to complement the school curriculum and fills a critical water educational gap.
It could also be used by different groups as scouts and ngos, and could also be available in university libraries as a source of inspiration for students looking for interesting experiments and ideas for their projects. The WAT water module its one of its kind in the MENA regio because it is designed to be taught in schools.
Unlike the water awareness books produced by international and local organizations, the WAT water module is designed to fit perfectly within the Lebanese, French and English School Curriculum. The Lebanon Mountain Trail Association is currently looking to develop future environment educational books and design them to fit in schools curriculum.