AMMAN - HRH Princess Basma on Wednesday announced the allocation of JD30,000 for equipping classrooms of students with special needs and learning difficulties with educational tools .
The donation, part of the 2007 Queen Alia Social Work Competition proceeds, will benefit Education Ministry, military and UNRWA schools, Princess Basma said yesterday at an awards ceremony for the competition winners .
The contest was launched in 1995 with the aim of raising general awareness by disseminating information on various social issues, such as visual and hearing impairments, traffic accidents, smoking, cancer and the Amman Message. Last year′s topic was the conservation of water sources and protecting them from becoming polluted .
The Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD), whose board of trustees is chaired by the Princess, launched the 2007 competition in October last year highlighting the theme of water conservation .
“Last year′s competition was notable for many reasons, university as well as school students participated in the competition,” Princess Basma said, adding that it was also important because it highlighted the issue of water, which is vital, not only in terms of availability but also preventing pollution and wastage .
“Water supply is a major challenge for the country as well as world nations. The Kingdom′s water resources are limited and the annual water per capita, which is continuously decreasing, places the country among the poorest countries in terms of water availability,” the Princess said .
The country′s water per capita, which has been steadily declining, dropping from 3,600 cubic metres in 1946 to less than 145 cubic metres now, currently stands at 15 per cent below the international water poverty line of 1,000 cubic metres per capita .
Water officials say the Kingdom is facing challenges in terms of water availability, particularly since it has exploited all of its surface and underground water sources .
The Water Ministry has formulated an emergency strategy to tackle the present water shortage in light of the expected increase in demand during the summer .
In her address at yesterday′s ceremony, Princess Basma said the situation worsens with the increasing pressure on the country′s scarce water resources, adding that Jordan is witnessing an increase in population, expansion in construction and rising living standards .
“The agriculture, industrial, tourism and economic sectors are also witnessing growth, which places pressure on the limited water resources, which are either drying up or being polluted,” Princess Basma said .
She called on the public to rationalise water use and prevent pollution that renders water resources unfit for human consumption at a time the government is trying to explore new water resources .
Around 665,887 participants from different parts of the country participated in the competition, which took the form of a questionnaire. More than 650,000 copies of the competition were distributed to 53 committees across the country, along with 500,000 leaflets introducing the public to the country′s water situation and suggesting means to conserve water .
Agriculture Minister Muzahim Muhaisin, who heads the competition′s higher committee, said last year′s contest was designed to inform the public on how to deal with the shortage of water .
“Familiarising the public with the country′s critical water situation will help develop more responsibility towards water issues and introduce them to the consequences of not balancing our water demand and supply,” he said during the event .
Muhaisin added that the competition was also designed to diversify means of communication with young people, as it included a photography contest, proposals for household water management projects and prepared an animated film on water rationing methods, which will be distributed to schools across the country .
At the end of the event, Princess Basma presented awards to the winners and honoured government and private institutions and individuals who supported the competition .