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USAID provides scholarships to 800 students in Jericho
Jericho, West Bank – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) today made tuition payments of $190,000 for nearly 800 students enrolled in three schools in Jericho. Under a banner that read “The Right to Education - Hope for Everyone,” USAID West Bank and Gaza Mission Director Dr. Howard Sumka presented checks on behalf of the students to the principals of Terra Sancta, Franciscan Sisters, and the Jericho Benevolent Women’s Society schools. The payments are being made under the American Scholarship Fund Program (ASFP), which is funded by USAID and implemented by the education organization, AMIDEAST.
Attending the scholarship award ceremony at the Franciscan Sisters School were PLO Chief Negotiator Dr. Sa’eb Erekat, Governor of Jericho and the Jordan Valley Dr. Sami Mussalam, program staff from AMIDEAST, and many of the students receiving the scholarships and their families.
Dr. Erekat expressed appreciation for the American people’s support for the Palestinian people in areas such as infrastructure, health and education improvements. He mentioned some notable U.S. contributions to the Jericho governorate, including construction of the state of the art Jericho Library, road projects, and water and sanitation projects.
“Our commitment to Palestinian education stems from our belief that education is an investment in the future,” Dr. Sumka emphasized in his address. He said the American Scholarship Fund Program was just one of several programs that the American government had supported to improve the quality of education in the West Bank and Gaza. He explained that USAID has focused its attention for many years on increasing accessibility to, and improving the quality of, the Palestinian education system.
ASFP supports children from needy families who are enrolled in grades K-12 in schools in the West Bank and Gaza. The children come from diverse backgrounds, including marginalized areas, and their selection respects gender balance. As many as 8,000 scholarships will be awarded throughout the life of the project to cover tuition for the academic years 2006-2007 or 2007-2008. AMIDEAST is implementing the USAID-funded program and is working with 130 schools.
Since 1993, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have received more than $1.7 billion in U.S. economic assistance through USAID. USAID projects aim to combat poverty, improve health and education, create jobs and promote good governance.