Many of the centuries-old mountain gardens have become derelict as the Bedouin moved into the towns. There is a general desire from the people to restore their gardens, but they cannot do so without assistance in repairing the wells, which are either no longer deep enough or have become damaged so there is not enough water.
Rainfall, which is scarce and vital for the survival of the gardens, has decreased over the last ten years as a result of climate change. Preserving it carefully is crucial. With the aid of working groups from the UK, small dams are constructed in side wadis of the high mountains. These hold back the rainwater and benefit dozens of gardens lying below the dams. This is urgent and vital work.
Many garden owners have come forward requesting assistance. These gardens are assessed to see if they are suitable for sponsorship and entry into the restoration scheme.
By November 2019, 236 gardens have already been helped, twenty-two small dams built, and a trial of one environmentally friendly pumps is underway. Some of the work completed is described in projects listed below.
The assistance this project offers has been received with great enthusiasm by both garden owners and sponsors from the UK. Thanks to these sponsors, the garden owners who have previously been unable to save their trees can now water them again and can tend their gardens with renewed vigour. They can grow food for their families and sell produce for a good income to support their families financially. Sponsors are able to visit the garden and meet the owner and receive regular reports which give them up-to-date information about both the family and their garden.
To encourage the Jebelia and Oulat Sayeed Bedouin to increase garden production for sale and for food.
To encourage sustainable development around the gardens.
To encourage eco-tourism.
The extended family of each garden owner and Bedouin employed in the herb and fruit drying centres.
The project is usually in three phases. Firstly, assistance is given to selected garden owners in repairing their wells. Secondly, using working groups, help is given to garden owners in repairing or building a small dam, which allows flood water to penetrate to the water table. Thirdly, green energy may be introduced in the form of an environmentally friendly pump.