- Birzeit University in Palestine: A center of excellence against the odds
Birzeit University in Palestine: A center of excellence against the odds
The Birzeit Testing Laboratory Center - the first of its kind in Palestine - carries out testing on food, water, pharmaceuticals, animal feed and petroleum products.
Birzeit University in Palestine – an independent, non-profit institution – has undergone a remarkable transformation. Once a small girls’ school (way back in 1924), the facility has grown and evolved to become a center of excellence with a strong sense of social and community responsibility that celebrates diversity, intellectual freedom and creativity. Even more noteworthy, this achievement has been realized against the backdrop of political uncertainly and movement restrictions – as well as a forced closure that lasted more than four years.
The university’s emphasis on community engagement was a driving force behind the establishment of the Birzeit Testing Laboratory Center (BZUTL) in 1982 – the first of its kind in Palestine. The laboratory carries out testing on food, water, pharmaceuticals, animal feed and petroleum products (see right). Its mission is: “To serve and protect the Palestinian community by conducting research and analysis of consumables, resources and materials that improve lives, protect the Palestinian consumers, enhance development and deliver BZU values to the community.”
OFID’s support of BZUTL began in 1990, when it granted US$250,000 to help purchase equipment and establish an advanced technical workshop. In 2016, the university approached OFID to help upgrade ageing analytical equipment and OFID was able to extend a US$500,000 grant. The equipment helps the center carry out new and more accurate testing methods.
A recent video posted by Birzeit University showcases the project and OFID’s support.
BZUTL runs a number of safety-related units:
- Pharmaceutical safety: Monitors the quality of pharmaceutical and veterinary drugs available on the Palestinian market.
- Food safety: Performs quality and contamination tests on human food, bottled water and animal feed.
- Environmental health and water: Conducts research and provides services related to: water and wastewater; pesticides and their impact on health and the environment; heavy metals and organic contaminants; solid waste-management and pesticides.
- Petroleum products and lubricating oil: Monitors the quality of these products according to international standards.
- Soil and concrete: Conducts regular testing and research of soils, concrete, asphalt and iron