By Rania Khalil (SPNL)

Working closely with local communities brings a special touch to our approach in the himas. Asking and calling for their participation is our constant aim, and this encourages a feeling of belonging that leads to their valuable participation in project activities.

In January and February 2020, we met the mayors and locals of Hima Anjar and Hima Kfar Zabad to evaluate the work on communal governance systems. The mayors were very forthcoming with sharing information on the himas, and after responding to a wide range of  questions – on demographics, socio-economic statuses, youth conditions, immigration, nature, local capacities, environmental education, and so on – our conclusion was clear: what a great idea to establish himas with the involvement of local communities. They bring great enthusiasm as well as the roots we need for a sustainable life in harmony with nature!

Photo credit: Hima Kfar Zabad – by Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon

Jano, Hrayr, Berj, Khalil and Malek, engaged locals from the two himas, spoke passionately about their experience on the ground as part of the “hima team”, sharing stories of their adventures, constructive opinions, and both positive and negative comments on their work. This exchange of knowledge and experience allowed us to gain insight into their villages. We asked them many questions concerning their social and professional lives, and their economic situations, and linked all this to their work in the himas. We also learned about the natural resources found and used in the area, agriculture activities, ongoing reforestation efforts, environmental and social elements, and the roles of himas and community. Their participation in project activities has been truly exemplary, and a true indication of a flourishing village.

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