Tajawoob committee in Qalqilya meets with Minister of Tourism and Antiquities

 Ramallah – Tourism and Antiquities Minister Rula Maayah promised to add the Qalqilya National Zoo and Park to the ministry’s brochures and guidebook on tourist areas in Palestine. Maayah welcomed all of the ideas and initiatives to promote the city and therefore revive internal tourism, also promising to name Qalqilya the 2016 tourist city, partly by working with Tajawoob’s committee throughout 2015 to realize this goal.

These promises were made during a meeting between Tajawoob’s Qalqilya committee and Minister Maayah. The committee briefing her on its initiative entitled: “Yes to placing the National Zoo in Qalqilya on the map of Palestinian tourism. Yes to Qalqilaya being named 2015’s tourist city.”

The committee’s delegation comprised of members of the community from civil society and youth activists in addition to the advocacy campaign facilitator Mr. Oday Abu Karsh, MIFTAH’s program director for Participation Enhancement Program, Lamis Shuabi , along with MIFTAH staff members Shadi Zeidat and Mohammed Abed Rabbo.

The meeting opened with a presentation by Ms. Shuaibi on the Tajawoob project ” Supporting Stability & Promoting Democracy in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”, which includes a consortium of Palestinian and international institutions; MIFTAH, BBC - Media Action, Pal vision, AMAN coalition, British Council, OXFAM and funded by DEFID . The project is aimed at creating a real partnership between local communities, decision-makers and those in charge of citizens’ affairs in official Palestinian institutions. The improved mechanisms utilized by Tajawoob to strengthen advocacy skills in Palestinian civil society through the formulation of local committees “Lijan Mahlieh” in 5 districts; Qalqilieh, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nablus, Jordan valley. The local communities “ Lijan Mahlieh” include all components of the local communities and are aimed at developing their potentials so they can eventually voice their communities’ priorities at the table of decision-makers and officilas. The project also seeks to promote the steadfastness an d stability of communities in marginalized areas, which suffer from oppressive measures by the Israeli occupation. This is all to guarantee that the demands of the committees are included within national agendas.

Coordinator of the Qalqilya committee Muath Zeid briefed Minister Maayah on the committee’s activities over the past three months, including expansive research on the support received by the governorate from state institutions and an in-depth discussion on the reasons why the only zoo in Palestine is not on the tourism map.

Zeid added that the “Yes Qalqilya” campaign had already collected more than 6,000 signatures of support from all over Palestine, adding that the process was still ongoing. Furthermore, he said the campaign’s plan would be broadcast on six local radio stations in various districts throughout programs around the clock. This is in addition to distributing publications on the campaign which the committee will post and distribute on its official page on social media websites.

Minister Maayah expressed her appreciation for the efforts of the youth, institutions and individuals who support national tourism projects, reaffirming her support for the national zoo and park in Qalqilya. She said she was regularly briefed on the zoo and park’s news by the Qalqilya municipality and in her meetings with the mayor. 

It should be noted that Tajawoob’s local committee is comprised of a volunteer group of political and social activists from Qalqilya who seek to improve the involvement of women and youth in decision-making.  It also aims at improving the system for formulating public  policies by improving the concept of participation in setting these policies. The project is being carried out in cooperation with the Qalqilya governorate, the Qaliqilya municipality, MIFATH, AMAN, Pal Vision, the British Council, OXFAM and BBC Action in addition to a large number of grassroots organizations in the city. 

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