1 September 2009 – A United Nations-backed employment scheme in Gaza is set to receive a €13 million boost from the European Union that will create more than 1.4 million work days for the jobless in the Strip, the UN agency tasked with providing basic services for Palestinian refugees announced today.
The donation will go towards the agency’s jobs creation programme in the Gaza Strip, which is designed to provide temporary work to alleviate the unemployment crisis and high poverty rates in the area.
As a two-year-long Israeli blockade of Gaza continues to dictate the lives of ordinary people and cause severe deprivation, unprecedented unemployment rates have soared to around 40 per cent, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said in a news release.
“Funding towards UNRWA’s Job Creation Programme has never been more crucial, as people in Gaza struggle under the hardship of the ongoing blockade and the effects of the recent conflict,” stressed UNRWA Commissioner-General Karen AbuZayd.
“The main priority for ordinary Gazans is to work and to lead productive lives, not to receive hand-outs,” stressed Ms. AbuZayd, adding that UNRWA’s job creation scheme “addresses this, as it provides thousands of employment opportunities for both men and women, targeting the poorest and most vulnerable of refugee households.”
The EU funding will provide more than 17,000 jobs, directly and indirectly benefiting some 105,384 hired workers and their dependents, and generating more than 1.45 million work days for the 1.1 million registered refugees in the area.
UNRWA’s funding decision will prioritize projects in the all but collapsed private sector and those assisting local utilities and service providers. The EU money will also help the agency fulfil its humanitarian and human development responsibilities in fields such as education, environmental health and food distribution.