Conservation and Tourism in the Oasis

 

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Egypt

Conservation and Tourism in the Oasis Projects

Bahariya Oasis Initiative

The oasis is situated some 220 miles southwest of Cairo in Egypt’s Western Desert.  It is sometimes called the Gate to the Western Desert as it is the first oasis in a series of oases which extend almost as far as Luxor. In the last few years more and more tourists have discovered the beauty of the oasis and the desert. In 2006 the Bahariya Desert Lovers NGO was founded with an aim to conserve nature and environment, at both the Bahariya Oasis and the White Desert, and to develop the skills of natives working in eco and sustainable tourism. Up to now its main task has been, in collaboration with the annual rubbish collection in the White Desert, to organise a rubbish collection in Bahariya. Occasional courses have also been run for local drivers, dealing with first aid, geology, navigation and attitude to tourists.

Now the community is asking for more

They are launching projects to benefit and encourage the Bahariya inhabitants such as increasing environmental and cultural awareness amongst children and adolescents. The project hopes to achieve this by working with local schools.

The project’s top aims:

  • The involvement of nursery schools and other schools in the annual rubbish collection to create an “Earth Day in Bahariya”.  To improve local treatment of the environment the project is planning regular teaching sessions on health and the environment in schools.  With the aid of creative learning methods, these topics are to be introduced as early as preschool. Under the motto “Bahariya is our town and our home – keep it clean!” children and young persons will be made aware of environmental issues.
  • An NGO Club.  During out-of-school hours and long holidays the club will consolidate the work done in schools by enabling children to engage in creative play and take part in various work groups.  The emphasis will be on health and the environment without, however, neglecting fun and games.
  • A second-hand shop. The intention is to sell collected and donated clothing (especially children’s) at a low price.  Any profit will be used to finance the projects
  • A local shop, run by the project.  This will enable local people to sell their products to tourists, such as dates, olive oil, bread, biscuits and other delicacies, as well as embroidery and other souvenirs.
  • Health centre support. Health centres are an alternative to public hospitals.  They will have committed doctors, keen to help their patients.  The NGO will help by making available medical equipment and material, such as bandages, crutches, splints etc.

The appropriate education authorities have reacted positively to the project's plans and we hope that with your support we can make a big difference to this Oasis community.

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