Earlier today, Al Jazeera Children’s Channel and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) renewed their 2010 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU further strengthens the fruitful collaboration between the two organizations for the benefit of UNRWA students. Through the MOU, Al Jazeera Children’s Channel will provide UNRWA with education tools and resources to be used by the UNRWA TV satellite channel. This will also provide UNRWA teachers and students with access to Al Jazeera Taalam TV’s online services and content, technical support, and training to enhance the Agency’s own programmes.
The MOU signing ceremony took place in Amman, where UNRWA was represented by Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl and Al Jazeera Children’s Channel was represented by Saad Saleh al-Hudaifi, the Acting Executive General Manager and Channel’s Director. The signing event was also attended by Dr. Caroline Pontefract, the UNRWA Director of Education.
Mr. Krähenbühl noted, “We value all partners of UNRWA, and this continued collaboration with Al Jazeera Children’s Channel will help to enhance our education programme, particularly the work we are doing to ensure access to education for Palestine refugee students whose regular schooling may be impacted by conflict.”
On this occasion, Mr. al-Hudaifi stated, “Al Jazeera Children’s Channel is keen on enhancing the potential of orphans and refugee children, as well as providing learning opportunities and services, which aim at preparing them to be effective and productive members of their societies.”
Dr. Pontefract emphasized, “The education tools and resources to be provided by Al Jazeera Children’s Channel will significantly help UNRWA continue to improve the quality of educational services provided to our students in line with the ever-changing learning needs and demands of the twenty-first century.”
The signing ceremony was broadcast live from Amman by Al Jazeera Jeem Channel. After the ceremony, Mr. Krähenbühl was interviewed about the Agency’s work in assisting Palestine refugees and children throughout the region.
UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall, projected for 2016 to stand at US$ 81 million. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
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