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Source: USAID West Bank & Gaza
3 February 2005

USAID launches $13 million employment creation project

JERICHO, West Bank --
The U.S. government announced Thursday the launch of a new, $13 million project to create employment opportunities through the construction and renovation of classrooms and youth centers in the West Bank and Gaza.

The project, which comes under the Palestinian Infrastructure for Needed Employment (PINE) program, is being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

USAID West Bank Gaza Mission Director James Bever signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr. Na’im Abu El Humos at the Intercontinental Hotel in Jericho launching the new endeavor.

Present were also Dr. Saeb Erekat, Chief Negotiator, and Dr. Samih Al Abed, Deputy Minister of Planning.

The project is expected to generate more than 204,000 person-days of employment and to construct or renovate 360 classrooms.

PINE projects use local materials and labor intensive construction methods in order to maximize employment prospects in the neediest areas of the West Bank and Gaza.

The new project will be implemented by six USAID partners: the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF), the American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) and Save the Children Federation (SCF).

UNDP will be working in the northern villages of Jenin and Qalqilya Governorates while IOCC will focus on rural communities in villages in the Ramallah Governorate, where there is a high need for improved educational facilities.

CRS will be responsible for improving educational infrastructure in poor and marginalized communities in the Bethlehem and Hebron Governorates. CHF will implement a 16-month community infrastructure program to construct, expand, renovate and upgrade schools in Rafah and Khan Younis, generating needed employment in the most deprived areas of the Gaza Strip.

ANERA will focus on the Nablus and Jericho Governorates while Save the Children Federation will be responsible for increasing the availability of quality basic education for Palestinian children in the most under-served communities in Tulkaram and Nablus Governorates.

USAID, which administers the U.S. foreign assistance program and provides economic and humanitarian aid in more than 80 countries worldwide, has provided more than $1.5 billion in assistance to Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza during the last decade.

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