UNRWA has entered the final phase of an early recovery project called ‘Assistance to Support Education, Health and Gender in the Transition from Emergency to Development’, generously funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany (BMZ).
With the funds, amounting to EUR 2,500,000 (approximately US$2.7 million), the Agency - over the course of six months - applied a multi-sector approach to support the transition from emergency to development. This generous donation enabled UNRWA to recruit additional teachers to support struggling and low-achieving students through remedial education as they transition back into formal education activities and UNRWA Health Centres managed to purchase much-needed physiotherapy equipment to increase their rehabilitation capacities. Palestine refugees have been hired through the UNRWA Job Creation Programme and benefited from short term employment opportunities to mitigate some of the negative effects of the eight year blockade on Gaza – according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2014 the average unemployment rate for Palestine refugees in Gaza was 44.1 per cent. The UNRWA Gender Initiative’s ‘Social and Recreational Spaces for Women and Girls in the Gaza Strip’ project, which is part of the overall BMZ-supported early recovery programme, also held training in first aid, promoted information technology skills and made sports education available to refugee women through partnerships with Community Based Organisations in Gaza.
After the 2014 summer conflict, Germany has become one of the largest donors to UNRWA for reconstruction in Gaza. This week, the Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, Mr. Robert Turner, is travelling to Berlin to brief relevant German Ministries, including BMZ, on the course of the project and on the situation in Gaza almost eight months after the ceasefire.