The Second Student Conference for research pioneers and junior scientists, part of the Wajd Program, held its closing ceremony to discuss the outcomes of scientific research projects and present the technology projects prepared by students participating in the 4th year of Wajd’s educational support project for orphans. The Welfare Association launched the Wajd Program, in cooperation with the Qatar Development Fund, the program’s main sponsor, and with generous contributions from Bank of Palestine and Al Haj Hashim Ata Al Shawa Charitable Fund, to support orphans of the 2014 aggression on the Gaza Strip. The program aims to enable orphaned children to lead a dignified life and achieve their ambitions and hopes to become effective individuals in their community.

The Conference was organized at Gaza University under the slogan “promoting the culture of scientific research…a vision towards achievement,” in the presence of Engineer Fadi Al Hindi, the Director of the Welfare Association in the Gaza Office, representatives from the Wajd Program, Bank of Palestine and Gaza University, members from the Board of Directors and Academic Board, students and researchers from the Wajd Program, parents, and program coordinators and research supervisors.

Professor Afaf Al Khalidi, the Director of Save the Children – Palestine, greeted the audience and stressed the importance of this project, which aims to promote scientific activities by developing research scientific skills among students and creating technological projects using tools and methods that promote scientific thinking in presenting and discussing societal issues.

Professor Khaldun Abu Salim, Assistant Director of Public Relations and Marketing at Bank of Palestine, stated that “the bank’s participation in the second conference for research pioneers in the Wajd Program stems from its corporate social responsibility towards our people in the Gaza Strip.” “At Bank of Palestine, we believe that our duty should not only focus on the economy but also on promoting the concept of corporate social responsibility in the fields of education, health, sports and culture,” he added. Abu Salim also pointed out that the bank allocated 5% of its annual profits to support the various developmental sectors, and for the Wajd Program, “the bank’s participation is in harmony with improving the concept of scientific research, and an attempt to instigate interest among students, develop their skills and approaches, and identify scientific solutions for their daily and future problems.

The conference featured seven scientific research projects that were prepared by 40 students covering the following subjects:

  • The obstacles confronted by primary education teachers in applying the tools of authentic assessment within government schools.
  • Teachers’ perspectives on the difficulties confronted by primary education students within the northern governorate in learning the English language, and methods to overcome them.
  • The effect of social media sites on family relations among 10th grade students in the area of Absan, east of Khan Younis.
  • The extent to which 10th graders from the northern Gaza governorate use smart phones for educational purposes.
  • Water pollution and its effect on the health of citizens in the Gaza governorate.
  • The reality of remnants of war and their effects on agricultural soil in the governorate of Rafah.
  • The phenomenon of begging among children in the Gaza Strip: reasons and ways for limiting it.

On the conference sidelines, the Wajd Creative Technology Exhibition was launched by the Wajd Program children and representatives from the Welfare Association and Bank of Palestine. The exhibition featured the achievements of students that involved the development of the following five smartphone applications using App Inventor: My currencies, Your Health Comes First, Traffic Avoider, Traffic Lights, and Calculating Geometric Shapes. It also featured the following eight projects related to electric circuits using Arduino Boards: The Robot Painter, the Smart Guard, the Electronic Lock, the Light Tracker, the Smart Basket, the Robot Arm, Traffic Jam Avoider, and Smart Garage.

Marwa Abu Murad, exhibition participant and member of the Science and Technology Club, stated: “Through my experience, I learned two types of skills: technology skills from the reality of Palestinian curriculums, from which we achieved applied technology projects in important fields, and life and entrepreneurial skills, which allowed me to excel my presentation, marketing and teamwork skills.”

Another student, Salem Al Akhras, pointed out that his journey with the Scientific Research Club was filled with excitement and energy. “I feel proud and happy for being given the opportunity to discuss my research at a Palestinian university. My work with my colleagues for six continuous months on training and research encouraged me and developed my way of thinking, and the pride expressed by the discussion committee in my research made me feel like a college student,” he added.  

With the closing of the conference, a newsletter was distributed to the audience containing summaries of the research projects and recommendations. Save the Children Palestine and the Welfare Association honored the committees that participated in the conference as well as the research supervisors, and took photos of the event.