Dr. Turki Faisal Al Rasheed, advisor to the Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU) at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (FAFS) at the University of Beirut (AUB), recently undertook a field trip to West Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. The aim of the trip was for Dr Rasheed, accompanied by support staff from ESDU, to gain a deeper understanding of ESDU’s ongoing community projects and initiatives
in this region.
Dr Al Rasheed’s program of activities started at the Khiara community kitchen and dairy unit which was established by ESDU. During the site visit, Dr Al Rasheed was introduced to the head of the community kitchen and a number of staff members, who explained a little about their ongoing cheese-making initiative and how the community kitchen is providing a livelihood for the residents of Khiara community.
The group then proceeded to the Kamed El Loz social club and kitchen to see members making jam and carrying out other food production activities.
Included in the field trip was a visit to Nebras Technical Agricultural School and the community projects, where the school’s ongoing projects and initiatives were discussed, along with strategies for the further advancement and successful launch of other programs and initiatives.
After visiting the agricultural school, Dr Al Rasheed and ESDU support staff proceeded to Sagbine’s Demo-plot on climate-smart agriculture, which has been established by ESDU. The Demo-plots under study were strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, which look very promising.
Finally, Dr Al Rasheed and ESDU support staf
f proceeded to a guesthouse along the Darb el Karam food trail, which was also established by ESDU, and is a food tourism network connecting nine villages in the area, where tourists can stay and participate in harvesting and preparing various seasonal produce. This visit formed the conclusion to a successful trip.
ESDU was founded in 2001 at FAFS AUB as a grassroots outreach interdisciplinary research and development (R&D) center specializing in sustainable agriculture and rural community development. ESDU has established a strong base in rural sustainable livelihoods, participatory resource management and community-based initiatives drawing on the resources of a wide variety of donors and partners.
The West Bekaa visit by Dr Al Rasheed and su
pport staff from ESDU FAFS illustrates the A
merican University of Beirut’s – in particular ESDU FAFS – commitment to supporting the rural communities in Lebanon achieve sustainable rural development by engaging stakeholders and adhering to AUB corporate social responsibility.
Dr Al Rasheed’s wealth of experience and expertise will add resilience to ESDU programs and initiatives in relation to sustainable development to achieve a number the UN’s Sustainable Developme