Many of the centuries-old mountain gardens have become derelict as the Bedouin moved into the towns. Now 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 fifteen years as a result of climate change. Preserving it carefully is crucial. With the aid of working groups from the UK, small dams have been 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 for damaged wells. Their gardens are assessed to see if they are suitable for sponsorship and entry into the restoration scheme.
By March 2022, 265 gardens have been restored, 22 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. Some private sponsors have come to visit the garden they have sponsored and meet the owner. They receive periodic reports about 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 to provide water to gardens has three pillars. Firstly, the main form of assistance, is given to selected garden owners in repairing their wells. Secondly, once or twice a year, working groups from UK help garden owners to build a small dam, which allows stores flood water to penetrate to the water table. Thirdly, a new project to provide clean free energy to pump water may be introduced in the form of a solar powered pump.