Integrating music into sustainable community development in Palestine
Find out more about this innovative practice
The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (ESNCM) Outreach Program was established in 1996 to enable underprivileged children to learn music and to enhance access to cultural life to a wider section of Palestinian society.
By partnering with community organizations, the ESNCM provides individual and group musical lessons and awareness raising activities to communities and population who have no access to any formal music education. Musical instruments are also provided free of charge.
The first programs involved children primarily from refugee camp schools. Today, 150 children benefit from the ESNCM’s Outreach Program in Hebron and Jericho, and a further 120 in the refugee camps of Shufat, Dheisheh, Balata and Aqbet Jabr. In addition to instrumental activities, the program reaches out to another 100 children in Jerusalem through the ESNCM choirs program and 300 in Gaza through the al-Sununu Choirs project.
The ESNCM also hosts and trains the only Palestinian symphony orchestra performing in Palestine and touring throughout the world.
In line with SDG 4 and Goal 3 of the Convention, the ESNCM promotes inclusive education involving the arts, while increasing the number of youth and adults with relevant skills for employment in the culture sector (Target 4.4). Having both and artistic and a social value, this community programme facilitates full access of young people to artistic engagement and participation in cultural life, while fostering the emergence of future music professionals and sustaining a dynamic music sector. It thus offer an operational example of how culture and creativity contribute to sustainable development.
The outreach program was established by the ESNCM in 1996, in order to reach a wider section of Palestinian society, and to enable underprivileged children to learn music by bringing music into their own environment. Musical instruments are provided free of charge and students are involved in group musical activities as well as individual lessons. The first programs involved children from refugee camp schools who had never had the privilege of music education. In 1998 the outreach program became more active when the ESNCM delegated a number of its teachers to give violin and cello lessons at Rawdat al-Zuhour School in occupied Jerusalem and at al-Bireh Girls School, teaching music to children from the age of 6 to 16 years.
The Outreach Program is a vital part of the ESNCM’s educational work. Here, the ESNCM goes to the heart of communities that currently have no music provision, and teams up with a partner organization in those communities to provide instrumental music lessons and activities on site. Some of these outreach activities will grow and be transformed into formal branches of the ESNCM. Currently 150 children benefit from the ESNCM’s outreach program in Hebron and Jericho, and a further 120 in the refugee camps of Shufat, Dheisheh, Balata and Aqbet Jabr. In addition to instrumental activities, the program reaches another 100 children in occupied Jerusalem through the ESNCM choirs program and 300 in Gaza through the al-Sununu Choirs project.
Providing Palestinian society with creative and committed musicians capable of teaching music and promoting it.
Encouraging and enhancing music appreciation and interest within the public and official spheres.
Upgrading the ESNCM’s performance towards fulfilling its vision, mission, objectives and sustainability.
Edward Said National Conservatory of Music