Palestinian Refugee Woman Wins Earth Prize Educator of The Year

Palestinian Refugee Woman Wins Earth Prize Educator of The Year

Safaa Obeid, a teacher at the UNRWA Sweileh Preparatory Girls’ School in Jordan was just announced the winner of the Earth Prize Educator of the Year for her climate action leadership. (2022 UNRWA Photo by Dima Ismail)

Safa’ Obeid, a teacher at the UNRWA Sweileh Preparatory Girls’ School in Jordan, was selected as the Earth Prize Educator of the Year.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced that Safa was awarded a prize of US$ 12,500 and was selected by Professor Mario Salomone from the World Environmental Education Congress.

Safa entered her students in the Earth Prize competition – an environmental sustainability competition for students between the ages of 13-19 – under the themes of concern to them as Palestine refugees in Jordan. These include desertification of the Dead Sea by 2030, making camps more environmentally friendly and managing food waste in Jordan.

Obeid entered three UNRWA Sweileh Preparatory Girls’ School students teams into the competition, where they designed creative solutions for the environmental challenges facing their communities.  The team’s practical, innovative solutions included data from the Jordanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation. Her initiative and leadership were recognized by the Earth Prize selection committee and after an interview, Safa was selected as the winner of the 2022 Earth Prize Educator of the Year.

In addition to Safa’s students, 34 teams from 24 UNRWA schools and one vocational training centre registered their projects in the competition. Two UNRWA schools were named in the top 34 Earth Prize Scholar teams, namely the UNRWA Amqa Secondary Co-educational School in Lebanon and the UNRWA Gaza Training Centre, in besieged Gaza.

Speaking after the announcement, Safa said: “I am very proud to represent UNRWA in this international contest on environment sustainability and be awarded the “Educator of the Year” title. This amplifies my sense of responsibility towards my environment, my community and my students. I have been very keen to integrate environmental sustainability in the classroom by creating an enriching environmental activity kit, which is user-friendly and easy to implement for the purpose of increasing my students’ awareness of environmental causes.”

“Stewardship of the Earth is an increasingly important – and pressing – issue for which all global citizens need to take responsibility, including in Jordan, where the impact of climate change, particularly with regards to increased water scarcity, are clearly felt. UNRWA was, therefore, glad to partner with the Earth Foundation on the Earth Prize initiative and greatly welcomed the good news that one of our teachers, Ms. Safa’ Obaid, was recognized with the prestigious Educator of the Year award”, said the Acting Director of the UNRWA Department of Education, Moritz Bilagher.

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