Issue 6 – April 2022

A publication of the METO University Network


by Molly Pimm*

Welcome back to the sixth issue of The Bright Side, where we will be sharing positive news and developments that have recently emerged from the Middle East and North Africa region.

There is no doubt that education has the power to change lives, particularly in those regions where access to it is limited. Despite the fact that almost 100 million students in the MENA region were out-of-school due to school closures as a result of COVID-19, significant progress has been made in recent months, with more and more children being equipped with professional and technical skills every day. (More…)

Disarmament & conflict resolution

[Yemen] Truce in Yemen shows ‘there is light at the end of the tunnel,’ UN envoy affirms. A truce will hopefully allow the transfer of much needed humanitarian aid, plus billions of dollars in relief funds from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. [All Arab News]


Photo: UN Women/Mediating

[Morocco] In Morocco, fisherwomen adopt new climate-resilient practices. Including women and girls in the design and implementation of climate response actions is key to addressing climate adaptation, mitigation and solutions for sustainable development and gender equality. [UN Women]

Photo: Bilan

[Somalia] All-female newsroom launched in Somalia to widen media’s scope. The pioneering Bilan project, funded by UN, will report on gender-based violence, women in politics and female entrepreneurs. [The Guardian]

Children & Youth

Photo: World Food Programme/Hussam Al Saleh

[Syria] WFP cash grants ignite one boy’s ambition to study. Through cash-based transfers, the World Food Programme is helping Syrian students like Issa to stay in school and boost the nutrition of their families. [Relief Web]

Migration & Refugees

[United Arab Emirates] 1 Billion Meals drive to continue beyond Ramadan till target is hit. The UAE’s massive food distribution campaign will continue after Ramadan until the one-billion mark is hit, organisers have said. [Khaleej Times]


Photo: Elgaard on wikimedia commons

[Syria] IDP Camp Receives Healthcare for First Time in Two Years. A clinic opened its doors in the al-Rukban IDP camp, on the borders with Jordan, offering healthcare for one day only. [The Syrian Observer]


Photo: Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor

[Palestine] Gaza weaves rugs from recycled plastics. Ali Darwish Al Zaabi says he wants to help preserve the environment and save animals. [Middle East Monitor]

Photo: Adbar on wikimedia commons

[Tunisia] Tunisian eco-pioneers battle to save Sahara oasis life. A remote oasis in Tunisia’s desert was exhausted by decades of wasteful water use for agriculture — but now pioneers around an eco-lodge are reviving the spot with innovative projects. [Arab News]

Food & Water Security

Photo: Orlova-tpe on wikimedia commons

[MENA] How water cooperation can provide geopolitical stability in MENA. The Blue Peace Strategy promotes water sustainability as an asset for political and social peace in the region. [Al Jazeera]

Photo: Adeeb Atwan on panoramio

[Jordan] Jordan, FAO sign agreement to improve water use efficiency in agriculture sector. The $33.25mln project aims to enhance infrastructure. [Zawya]

Renewable Energy

Photo: The Chain Effect, Lebanon

[Lebanon] Bicycling movement sweeps Lebanon. As Lebanon is hit hard by a series of crises, fuel shortages aggravated by the Ukraine war have pushed many Lebanese to use bicycles as transportation. [Al-Monitor]

Photo: Egypt Today

[Egypt] Egypt can cover all electricity needs from solar energy in 10 years only due to natural favors: Energy expert. The future of renewable energy in Egypt is far more promising than that in Europe if the human factor from laws and decision makers will earnestly pave the way since nature gives the country all the ingredients for success. [Egypt Today]


Photo: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)

[Syria] Teaching the world’s fastest calculators: mathematical triumph in Syria. Six of Hala’s students won the International World Mental Calculation Championship in 2021. [Relief Web]


[Saudi Arabia] ‘Jameel Jeddan’ highlights the experiences of Saudi women. The show sheds light on coming of age, love, coping with trauma, dealing with loss, quirky anime references, outdated taboos, and the acceptance of your own reality. [Arab News]


Photo: Berthold Werner on wikimedia commons

[Egypt] 5 well-preserved 4,000-year-old tombs found in ancient Egyptian cemetery. The tombs, with beautiful ancient hieroglyphics and colorful images of sacred animals, belonged to senior officials and regional rulers. [The Jerusalem Post]

Photo: Julia Nador, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut

[Iraq] 4000-year-old boat excavated near the ancient city of Uruk. The tombs, with beautiful ancient hieroglyphics and colorful images of sacred animals, belonged to senior officials and regional rulers. [Heritage Daily]

Previous issues

Our Team

This bulletin is bought to you by the following members of the METO University Network:

Giada del Russo (Coordinator)
Soukaina El anaoui (Women & Children)
Lara Rendl (Disarmament and Conflict Resolution)
Alexander Balke (Migrations)
Britt Gronemeyer (Healthcare)

Yutong Zhang (Environment)
Arwa Syed (Food & Water Security)
Tamyra Selvarajan (Energy)
Molly Pimm (Education)
Harshul Singh (Culture)
Hilda Ariastuti (Archaeology)

Get involved

If you are a student or recent graduate who is interested in supporting The Bright Side, or other METO projects, please consider volunteering with the METO University Network.

We unite young people from around the world who make a real difference by supporting METO in many of our key operational areas. To find out more, click here.


The articles selected for publication in this bulletin have been specially chosen to highlight the good work done every day across the region to improve the quality of life for citizens. It also highlights the advances in culture and the new archaelogical discoveries made, underlining that this region really has been a cradle of civilization for millenia.

The views expressed in the linked articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the Middle East Treaty Organization and their inclusion in our bulletin should not be interpreted in any way other than we think they’re interesting stories that should be more widely known. We will never intentionally include articles that promote or condone violence and discrimination in any form.

For any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact

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