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2016 Year End Update

It's the end of the year, and we can't help but reflect on how far we've come. We'd like to share two sets of photos. The first set was taken in 2008: one an aerial photo of the barren landscape that was soon to become the Project Wadi Attir site, and the other of Dr. Michael Ben-Eli getting acquainted with children in the Bedouin community on one of his early visits to the region. Keep an eye on the boy in the red shirt…
Here's a second set of photos, this time from 2016.
That is, in fact, the same patch of land, now ordered and alive, and laced with deep green you can see from the air. And do you recognize the man on the left in the second photo, presenting the project at a conference for science teachers in the Negev? Yes! He is the boy in the red shirt, Belal Alatrash, now 19 years old, and employed as a guide at Project Wadi Attir! 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. For us, these two sets of pictures speak to the enormous growth and potential of our project, which many thought impossible. We already see the ways in which local youngsters are taking advantage of all that our site has to offer, and we can anticipate a time when children of the community can say that they have indeed grown up at Project Wadi Attir. To us, Belal’s story represents that promise and potential. 
Local kindergarteners helping out at PWA during the olive harvest.
A young visitor to PWA during the "Magic of the Desert" Festival.
Wrapping up our first year in operation
2016 marks our first real year in operation, with nearly all of the project’s many functions up and running. In our first year, we have brought in more than $116,000 in revenue, through the sale of unique, organic products like cheese and yogurt, medicinal herbs, honey, olive oil, heirloom seeds, and goats and sheep, as well as through valuable services like educational workshops and experiential eco-tours rooted in the unique landscape and culture of the Negev.
The first batch in our new line of organic "Oasis" cosmetics, made with active ingredients from our homegrown medicinal herbs.
Um Atia of the project's dairy sharing our delicious yogurt with international participants in the Weitz Center for Sustainable Development's #greengrowth course
We expect to see significant expansion in 2017, with the help of a grant of 4Million shekels from the Israeli government: 3Million towards our capital construction budget from the Ministry of Agriculture, and 1Million towards business development from the Ministry of Social Equality. 

New Milking Facility
We have completed our new, state-of-the-art milking facility, which will allow us to milk our herd twice a day, and which will in turn expand production capacity in our dairy by making more raw milk available.
New milking facility, at a distance.
Awad Alatrash, member of the Herding team, in front of the new milking stations.
And it's just in time, as our herd is expanding! We recently had a wave of births—more than 200 kids!
Newborn goats.
A member of a German delegation of Parliamentarians and teachers feeding a newborn goat.
Developing eco-tourism programming & training new Bedouin leadership
To give you a sense of our momentum, in October alone, we counted more than 1,300 visitors from all sectors of Israeli society and from around the world.

This is due in part to a rush of visitors during the "Magic of the Desert Festival," 
acquainting local tourists with the attractions in the Bedouin sector. 
Young Bedouin women presenting a cornucopia of spices, fruits and other delicacies.
Young families posing for a snapshot on the PWA site.
PWA team members share a quiet moment together as they prepare the traditional tea for the visitors.
A diverse group of visitors at the arts and crafts table.
To see more photos from the festival, click here.

Also in October, 240 young Bedouin guides from the Society for the Protection of Nature participated in four days of training at Project Wadi Attir, which included workshops and activities on concepts like water conservation, ecosystem restoration, and social leadership. These young people, from Rahat, K’seifa and Hura, will soon be responsible for teaching 1,400 local children about “sustainability and quality of life.” 
Some of the nearly 240 young student guides from the Society for the Protection of Nature, trained at PWA during the month of October in "sustainability and quality of life."
To see more pictures of diverse groups from all over the country and the world, including students and institutional delegations, taking advantage of all the project has to offer, click here.
JNF-USA Conference and Expo
PWA participated in the JNF Conference and Expo in NYC in October, where Dr. Michael Ben-Eli and Mayor Mohammed Alnabari presented the project to an enthusiastic crowd. The conference was followed by a fundraising trip to Colorado on behalf of JNF by Michael and Mohammed. We appreciate JNF-USA's continued and crucial support!
From left: Arielle Angel, Director of Operations at The Lab, Dr. Michael Ben-Eli, Founder of The Lab, Laura Sherry of JNF-USA, and Dr. Mohammed Alnabari, Mayor of Hura 
A visitor to our booth at the JNF Expo sampling some of PWA's "Body Butter," from our new cosmetic line, made with active ingredients from the project's homegrown medicinal herbs.
Participants in JNFuture's Volunteer Vacation volunteering at PWA in December
JNF volunteers planting a tree on the project site.
New CEO at PWA
The project is moving so fast that the business and management processes must develop quickly in order to keep up! To that end, we have hired a new CEO, Yair Matz, a veteran of Israel's high-tech sector, to help our team rise to the occasion. Yair is committed to mentoring the staff and putting in place critical management systems and protocols, while facilitating greater cohesion in staff communications and staff meetings. For Yair's full bio, please visit the Team section of our website. 
Yair welcoming visitors to the site.
Yair (second from left) with members of the project team: Safya, Ali and Lina.
PWA Hebrew website launched
We are proud to announce the launch of the Project Wadi Attir Hebrew language website, which will be managed by the staff onsite, and will provide timely information about the project, relevant to local needs. Viewers will be able to toggle between English and Hebrew from the homepage. We plan to launch an Arabic site by mid-2017, so stay tuned!
As a special treat, check out a short, new video about the project, courtesy of the Geothe Institut. We hope you'll share it with your friends!
Yunes Nabari, Project Manager at PWA, discussing the project's vision.
From all of us at Project Wadi Attir, we wish you and your families a happy new year! Here's to further growth in 2017!
A Bedouin child in our indigenous vegetable garden. For more photos, visit our Instagram page: @wadiattir!
Families harvesting peas in the indigenous vegetable plot at the start of the new year
Thank You!
We want to extend our sincerest thanks to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Social Equality, the Ministry of Development of the Negev and the Galilee, the Finance Ministry, JNF-USA and its CEO Russell Robinson, and the Arnow Family. We'd also like to thank the many foundations and individuals (listed below) for their continued and committed support of the project.

General Development and Operating Funds have been provided by:
Individuals: Diane Archer and Stephan Percer, Joan & Robert Arnow, Kathi & Peter Arnow, Elyse & Joshua Arnow, Eli Arnow, Ruth Arnow, Chloe Arnow, Talia Arnow, Michael Ben-Eli, Lawrence Benenson, Lillian Ben Zion, Martin Blackman, Joanna Corrigan, Alisa and Daniel Doctoroff, Eugene M. Grant, Jeffery Gural, Ron Guttman, Pamela Kochen Baroukh, Tony Leichter, Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff, Murray Nathan & Rita Calderon, Susan & Randy Richardson, Joe Rosenblatt, Shelley and Donald Rubin, Steven J. Shaw, Susan Sillins, Michael Sonnenfeldt, Michael Weinstein, Bill Wiener, Roy Zuckerberg. Foundations: Anonymous Foundation (Israel), The Arnow Family Fund, The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, The Moses Feldman Family Foundation, Shirley and William Fleischer Foundation, Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, The Green Environment Fund, Jewish Funders Network, The JFNA Social Venture Fund for Arab Israeli Equality & Shared Society, The Robert Sillins Family Foundation, The Alan B. Slifka Foundation, Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, The Kirsh Foundation, Bernstein Family Foundation, The Strauss Foundation, The Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds. 
PWA Site
PWA Site
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