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MASHAV: Activity Report - 2002

MASHAV is proud of a rich and varied program of training, both in Israel and in partner countries and demonstration, extension and infrastructure projects. MASHAV’s programming takes place in over 140 countries in five principle languages: English, Russian, French, Spanish and Arabic. The following are examples of new and innovative MASHAV programs in the year 2002.

MASHAV-USAID Partnership in Romania

In early 2002, a Grant Agreement was signed with USAID Romania for the funding of joint projects in the field of agribusiness. The MASHAV-USAID partnership in Romania aims at expanding opportunities for the people of Romania and improving their standards of living by developing a vital, competitive, export market-oriented agricultural sector. The program is targeted to achieve measurable increases in exports of competitive agricultural products through product development, increased efficiency, improved technology, farm management and seed varieties. In addition, it will catalyze and support creation of competitive private agribusinesses. The program intends to achieve the result of moving portions of the agriculture sector toward becoming commercially successful exporters through activities for quality improvements in food processing, agricultural policy and private sector advocacy. The program draws upon Israeli expertise in agribusiness and in important technologies such as irrigation for smallholder farms as well as the skills of some of the 250,000 Romanian speakers now resident in Israel in order to execute a capacity-building program. The program includes short and long-term technical assistance missions, training and grants.

MASHAV-Corvus Foundation Program For Combating Preventable Blindness

In July, the Corvus Foundation of Switzerland entered into a cooperative arrangement with MASHAV for the joint financing of “eye camps” for blindness prevention and treatment. In the framework of this arrangement, ophthalmologists were dispatched in 2002 to Nepal, Micronesia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda for two-week missions. During the course of these missions, thousands of patients were examined and hundreds of operations were performed to restore sight. In the context of the project, needed medical equipment for blindness prevention and care was donated to host countries and local medical staff received training from visiting ophthalmologists.

International Forum for Training of the Judiciary

In March, MASHAV, in cooperation with the Supreme Court of Israel, held a conference for 41 Supreme Court Justices, representatives of the World Bank and other high-ranking judicial personnel from around the world. The objective of the conference was to encourage, advance and promote judicial training, to share knowledge and ideas and to offer assistance to those countries that do not have judicial training organizations. Professional sessions were held on the guidance and training of judges worldwide, with one of the main topics the globalization of judicial training methods. During the conference, the decision was taken to establish the International Organization for Judicial Training which will work for the establishment of judicial training institutes, the promotion of the rule of law, exchanges between judges and the consideration of common issues for the education and training of judges.

Jordan Management Training Program

MASHAV held three management training study tours in Israel for Jordanian entrepreneurs and government officials from various regions of the country in 2002. The participants came from a wide range of backgrounds; educators, academics and representatives of the free professions. The study tours included lectures on management theory and a range of socio-economic issues, including welfare and education, combined with observation visits to relevant institutions in the Arab sector and informal dialogue with members of the Arab population. In addition, meetings were held with academics on the topic of Jewish–Arab relations and with members of the Druze community. Each study tour was adapted to the particular needs and composition of the group. Studies were conducted in both Arabic and English. The purpose of the program is both to develop needed skills and to help strengthen the bonds of peace between Israel and Jordan through encouraging contact between peoples of both countries.

China-Israel Demonstration and Training Center for Dryland Agriculture

In August, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Israel, the Ministry of Agriculture of China and the Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region of China. The agreement called for the establishment of a Sino-Israeli Demonstration and Training Center for Dryland Agriculture in a severely underdeveloped region of Western China, where Chinese farmers will be able to receive a wide range of training, extension and demonstration programming based on Israeli innovations in dryland agriculture. Among the key subjects to be covered in training and demonstration activities are: production of different crops under conditions of water scarcity, watersaving technologies, efficient water use, fertigation, production of crops under controlled conditions and management and transfer of know-how. The Center will operate a large working farm divided into two locations, one 8 hectare farm which will use greenhouse technology and open fields for raising of flowers and vegetables and the second, 160 ha. in six different plots, within the local Dogquan Cadres Agricultural School, of open irrigated fields for vegetable cultivation. The farm will be used as a basis for a wide-ranging training program to be implemented both by on-site long-term and short-term MASHAV experts and by local Chinese staff for farmers, researchers and government officials from the region. It will also serve as a research center for testing of methodologies, technologies and seed varieties for local needs. Construction of the project began at the end of 2002.

Thailand-Israel Techno-Demo Unit for Irrigated High Value Crops

Thailand and Israel signed an agreement in July calling for the establishment of a demonstration unit on the campus of the Faculty of Agriculture at Khon Kaen University in Thailand. The purpose of the project is to demonstrate water saving techniques that are relevant to the drought-prone northeastern Thailand ecosystem, such as the effective application of fertigation, micro-jet, drip and sprinkler systems with emphasis on smallholders; and multi-cropping and high-value horticultural production. As part of the project, a demonstration plot will be established on an area of 2 hectares and there will be regular short-term visits of Israeli agricultural experts who will provide on-site training for faculty and staff and project support. Construction of the project will begin in 2003.

Psychosocial Care for Children Dealing with AIDS

In 2002, MASHAV introduced a new course topic: Psychosocial Intervention with Children at Risk as a Result of AIDS. The AIDS pandemic is one with disastrous human, social and economic consequences not only for those inflicted with the disease, but also for their communities, families and, in particular, for the children whose families have been struck by AIDS. With nearly 15 million children worldwide having lost at least one parent to AIDS, and countless more living with HIVpositive family members, millions of children are growing up with the trauma of family deaths and the burden of having to support themselves and their family members at an early age. This course is meant to help caregivers, psychologists and directors of institutions of children at risk address some of the psychological and social consequences of AIDS on children, based on Israel’s own experience of helping children deal with trauma. The first course was held in Malawi, due to the high incidence of AIDS there. A second course was then held in cooperation with UNICEF in Zimbabwe. The skills imparted are intended to aid caregivers, grandmothers, older sisters in a sibling relationship, extended families and the children themselves to cope with the effects of AIDS on children. Topics in early childhood development were discussed, with particular emphasis on emotional development. Various skills were practiced to deal with children at risk as a result of AIDS. The participants had the opportunity to discuss many topics which social taboos have prevented them from exploring previously and to develop together methods for dealing with children in crisis.

Developing and Organizing a Trauma System

Over the years, Israel has, by unfortunate necessity, acquired unique expertise and experience in dealing with mass casualty situations. This expertise is relevant not only for dealing with terrorist events, but also for responding to natural disasters and other mass-casualty situations, where speed and quality of response can save countless lives that would otherwise be lost. In response to a growing number of requests from partner countries for training in this important field, MASHAV has launched a course module on developing and organizing a trauma system, in cooperation with the Rambam Hospital of Haifa. In 2002, an international course on this topic was held in Israel, aimed at sharing this expertise with other countries. During the course, medical personnel and officials in national and local emergency response systems studied topic such as preparation of and coordination between national and local emergency response systems, pre-hospital treatment, triage, transport and communications, treatment in the trauma center, rehabilitation and quality assurance.

Building of Medical Units in Jordan, Mauritania, Ghana and Peru

Every year, MASHAV builds a select number of needed medical units for hospitals in partner countries. At the end of 2001, Israel rebuilt and fully equipped a state-of-the-art intensive care unit in the Red Crescent Hospital in Amman, which serves much of the poorest population of the city. Due to security concerns, the Israeli construction team worked around the clock in shifts in order to finish the project, from floor tiles to entirely new wiring and distribution systems, in under four weeks. The project came to a close in 2002, as Israeli medical teams were dispatched to the Red Crescent Hospital in order to train doctors, nurses and technicians in the unit in operation of the ICU. In addition, construction continued on a Cancer Treatment Center in Nouakchott, Mauritania, and fully-equipped trauma and emergency medicine units were built in 2002 in Ghana’s Komfo Anokye Hospital in the city of Kumasi and in Eleazar Guzman Barron Hospital in Chimbote, Peru. Training of medical personnel for these units will continue to take place in 2003. MASHAV also upgraded the dialysis unit of the Arzobispo Loayza Hospital of Lima, Peru, including the donation of three dialysis machines, continued construction of the Cancer Treatment Center in Nouakchott, Mauritania, and donated a dialysis machine to L’Hopital Principal de Dakar in Senegal.

New Agricultural Projects

MASHAV launched a number of other new agricultural projects in the year 2002, including the construction of a fish hatchery in Kazakhstan in the context of a wider program with USAID for the environmental and economic rehabilitation of the Aral Sea area; the construction of a tree nursery in Uzbekistan, also in cooperation with USAID, in the context of a commercial bio-drainage program to deal with problems of serious flooding in the Ferghana Valley region and to provide the basis for commercial forestry activities; and the opening of an Irrigation Demonstration Farm on the Northern Campus of the University of Namibia, in cooperation with the Faculty of Agriculture there.

Sources: Ministry of Foreign Affairs