Occupied Palestinian Territories


Although Music as Therapy International has no political bias, we recognise the impact that the current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has on the people living there. We have introduced music therapy to a number of schools helping address the emotional needs of children in the region and continue to respond to requests that will strengthen local support of their emerging music therapy practice.

Impact and Activities to date

Our first project in the Occupied Palestinian Territories took us to the SOS Children’s Village and School in Bethlehem in 2009, where we trained local teachers and care staff to run a music programme supporting children in their care who required additional emotional support. In 2012, another introductory training was delivered to teachers and social workers in 3 Evangelical Lutheran schools in Bethlehem, Beit Sahour and Ramallah. Throughout the years, they have been receiving long-term support from an independent music therapist.

To date, 21 staff have been trained and equipped to run music sessions themselves in 5 care settings. 145 children and adults participated in music sessions during the project and up to 2,599 children and adults could subsequently benefit as the local staff develop their music programmes.

In 2015-6, we piloted our Distance Learning Programme and introduced local community music leaders to ways in which they could make music accessible to young children with disabilities in the refugee camps where they worked, a group they felt unable to work with effectively. The Distance Learning model is particularly relevant in this region given the challenges in convening training locally, due to political restrictions on movement and volunteer safety. We have now developed our Distance Learning model into a Blended Learning Programme which we deliver in partnership with Musicians without Borders.

In 2017, we felt the need to assess the quality of the Blended Learning Programme. Therefore, in agreement with Musicians Without Borders, last year we undertook our first Impact Evaluation of the programme whereby we had interviewed and observed sessions of the Blended Learning Programme graduates 2016-17. We intend to repeat the same evaluation in 2019 for graduates 2017-18.

Our work is not always about what we can do, so we also invest in Capacity Building activities - enabling others to do more themselves to make music more widely accessible to vulnerable children and adults or to reach communities we can't ourselves. We are always pleased when we can find a local response to a request. In 2017 and continuing into 2018, we have been providing professional support to a local music therapist, Tsvia Horesh, who has been delivering introductory music as therapy training to the staff working with children with disabilities at the Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre. We previously worked with Tsvia on her own skill-sharing project benefiting local teachers in Myanmar (read more here).

"Music as Therapy International's training has changed the way we work with children. The charity's commitment to partnership and sustainability is a true example of best practice for international development."

Current Activities

Following a request in 2018 for further training at the 3 Evangelical Lutheran schools, we will help one of our Local Partners deliver an Introductory Training Project for 4 staff. This introductory training will follow our Distance Learning Programme model, whereby the participating teachers will undertake their own music sessions with online supervision. The training will also be supported by the delivery of two training days provided by two Music as Therapy International representatives at the beginning of this year.

We currently have 6 local social workers, educators and musicians enrolled on our Blended Learning Programme. The students started the course in July 2018 and will graduate in June 2019. We are pleased to be working with Musicians without Borders once again to offer our Blended Learning Programme starting in the summer 2019.

This year we also felt it would be timely and beneficial to hold a small conference for our Local Partners to get together to share their skills and experiences of using music in their work. We are currently in preparations for this and if possible plan to coincide this with returning to complete our second Blended Learning Programme Evaluation.

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