Working Together is Always Better

Teamwork can take many forms, from the collaboration of international associations such as the European Union and United Nations, to the much smaller, but equally important, cooperation of children with their peers and teachers in the classroom. What has been realised is that through our unification we can accomplish something more vital than our own national or individual interests. For instance, consider the international agreement and cooperation to achieve worldwide initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals, or the partnerships of relief workers and nation-states in providing essential relief to victims of natural disasters, such as those now facing the devastation of the Haiyan Typhoon. Put simply, the world as we know it could not function if teamwork were not an integral part of global society. To the casual observer, teaching children to be constructive members of teams may not seem very important. These people might think that once a child grows up and stops playing competitive sport or participating in gym classes the need for teamwork skills also diminishes. We tend to place extra emphasis on individual effort and achievement, neglecting the benefits and even necessity of working together. However, in reality, being a constructive member of a team is a lifelong skill which, if not fostered in childhood, can detrimentally affect individuals later in life. For the last two weeks at TYO our afternoon intern classes have been focusing on “Teamwork."

Within the context of Palestine and TYO, the benefits of teamwork can be seen in the relationships between the local and international staff, the volunteers and interns and most significantly, amongst the children that come to receive the services we offer. By transcending a child’s individualistic needs and desires through teamwork strategies, we can build compassion and ultimately success. The importance of fostering the ability to work well in a group scenario from a young age, with people of mixed genders and origins, is critical to the future of Palestinian youth and their communities. Thus, TYO focuses on teamwork not just for the betterment of each child’s emotional state, but also because one day these skills will undoubtedly increase the employability of those children which, in a country where youth unemployment is as at a miserably low level, is invaluable.

The importance of learning these skills cannot be overstated. Whether overcoming an obstacle in the classroom or dealing with the growing unemployment rate affecting Palestinian youth, a lack of teamwork can have huge consequences. While cooperation within the classroom has been essential in overcoming challenges this week, the latter struggle requires a wider sense of cohesion at the state and international level. A 2011 report from Sharek Youth Forum, explores the opinions of Palestinian youth situated in a socio-economic landscape that lends little room for them to thrive. While the report points toward a series of political and economic problems at the state level, the underlying issue behind all its recommendations is largely social—a lack of cooperation. We’re working to give our kids the tools to someday change this for the better.

The Palestine for European Research Area (PERA) Project, a European Union-supported consortium, is one endeavor taking a significant stride toward global cooperation for the betterment of Palestinian development. According to the Project’s website, its goal is to reinforce cooperation capacities and research activities in Palestine’s water and energy sectors, so that it can better respond to socio-economic needs. Culminating in a conference held in early October of this year, the PERA Project forum featured all major water and energy-related stakeholders and four major academic and business institutions. Taking place in Tulkarem, the dialogue between the EU and Palestinian Authority has provided a wealth of benefits for better understanding societal challenges related to water and energy scarcity in Palestine. Working together through research, policy, and practice, the global partnership has capably discerned important structural strategies necessary to mitigate energy and water-related issues within the complex Palestinian context. This is just one concrete example of how working together can help solve the many challenges faced by our beneficiaries.

Though it is a fact easily overlooked, in life we are always members of a team. This is true whether one is at work, where an individual functions as a single cog in a much larger machine, in social movements, where individuals must work together and collaborate as part of a larger whole, or even a within the family unit, where each member of the team is responsible for certain tasks which contribute to the running of the household. Hopefully, the strategies we’ve been working on with our kids will help them to not only be more successful and happy in the classroom, but also to one day be more successful members of the challenging society that they are inheriting.

- Cynthia, Noah, Rachel and Rosie

Cynthia, Noah, Rachel and Rosie are Fall 2013 interns at TYO in Nablus.