Phase III of the Hands Across Waters program continued its work in selected schools throughout Israel during two school years spanning 2019-20 and 2020-21. These ended on March 2021 with International Water Day in a virtual year end event. During the 2019-20 school year the program added 53 schools, and close to 2,200 students. Given the threat of Covid, 44 schools participated in a virtual graduation improvised in March 2020 to overcome the pandemic ban on large gatherings The water & sanitation Inspired cross cultural STEAM education program was joined in 2020-21 joined by 15 twinning schools from around the world collaborating with 35 schools in Israel heeding Rotary International’s President Barry Rassin call to raise the awareness of the need to address key water issues through education in the schools.
In all, 4,200 students participated in the program over a two-year grant period. The 2021 virtual year end event hosted 375 participants, from Jewish, Muslim, Christian religious and secular sectors displaying productive cross-cultural interaction even during the difficult covid period. The breakdown for schools In 2020-21 were 64% Jewish secular, 24% Arab, 6% religious schools. Also 6 schools were for special education, and 5 schools (namely 10%) were gender specific, (Boys or Girls). In addition, a model twinning project based on 3 years of work linked the Donna Klein school in Boca Raton, Florida with schools in Israel focusing on hydroponics and including a student site visit to Israel. There was also a hydroponics systems built and researched in Branko-Wise in Beer Sheba at a school serving youth with special and challenging social problems.
Aslo addressed were drippers, crucial for modern irrigation. This technology allows effective use of water, delivered exactly where needed, when needed and at the right quantity. Drippers are however, far from simple plastic hoses with holes. A good example is the need to compensate for varying pressures when drippers are used on hilly slopes. Pressure compensated drippers use miniature plastic silicone pressure compensating dripping valves. Advanced drippers were the subject of intensive research by students from all sectors. They examined the direct water flow from the various dippers under different conditions, as well as the growth impact the drippers had when used with different watering conditions and different types of soil
Besides the critically important task of training teachers for the program, Hi-Teach developed modules covering hydroponics, ecology and the ecological footprint including recycling (water, paper, plastic, etc.), energy and water, green energy and energy storage, water pumping, irrigation, and urban agriculture. These were employed virtually by zoom during most of covid as it was often not possible to meet in person.