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USAID West Bank & Gaza
28 April 2005
An expanded school for Frush Beit Dajan
FRUSH BEIT DAJAN, West Bank –
American and Palestinian officials inaugurated a new wing to the local primary school Thursday, expanding the facility's capacity by three grades and allowing older students to study in their own neighborhood.
The new wing of the Frush Beit Dajan Co-Ed School includes four classrooms and a teachers' room. The school used to accommodate students only up to the sixth grade – forcing older children to travel 17 kilometers to schools in Jiftlek or Nassarieh.
The new classrooms will enable the students to continue their education close to home until the ninth grade. Teachers say they also expect the new classrooms to sharply reduce the drop-out rate among the school's 200 students.
The American people contributed $88,000 to the project through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The Frush Beit Dajan Village Council chipped in another $7,000 in the form of designs and site supervision.
Present at the ribbon-cutting were Palestinian Authority Chief Negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat, Jericho Governor Sami Musallam and the head of the Frush Beit Dajan Village Council Khader Hanish. James Bever, Director of USAID's West Bank/Gaza Mission, and Barbara Belding, USAID's Director of General Development, represented the U.S. Government.
"The American Government is committed to the development of the West Bank and Gaza and to improving conditions here," said Bever. "We hope that this project will provide students with a safe and comfortable learning environment, especially during the hot summer months."
The school expansion was implemented by ANERA under USAID's Job Opportunities through Basic Services (JOBS) program that aims to generate employment opportunities for Palestinians. The project was completed in cooperation with the Village Council and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and generated more than 1,000 person days of employment.
USAID has spent more than $1.5 billion in the West Bank and Gaza to combat poverty, create jobs, improve education, build roads and water systems, construct and equip medical clinics, and promote good governance.
Over the past four years, USAID projects have generated more than 2.8 million person-days of employment in the West Bank and Gaza.