“The UNICEF-Bank of Palestine partnership is our first with a private sector institution in the West Bank and Gaza. More importantly, it is the first time since UNICEF opened its doors here in 1981, that UNICEF programmes reaching vulnerable children and women in the West Bank and Gaza can be directly funded by Palestinians themselves,” said UNICEF-oPt Deputy Special Representative Douglas Higgins, in a ceremony at Bank of Palestine headquarters in Gaza.
“The partnership demonstrates the Bank of Palestine’s trust in UNICEF’s work to protect and promote children’s rights. We are honored by this trust. And we applaud the Bank’s leadership and exemplary history of corporate social responsibility, bringing its entrepreneurial spirit, market reach, and results-oriented approach to the public good,” he added.
“It is an honor for us to partner with the largest organization in the world that dedicates its core work to children,” said Bank of Palestine Chairman and General Manager, Mr. Hashim Shawa.”The Bank of Palestine is committed to the children of Gaza, a commitment driven by the bank’s corporate social responsibility. The partnership between UNICEF and Bank of Palestine will provide care and protection for families in Gaza struggling to build their lives,” he added.
The partnership will enable 20 family centres housed in community-based organisations to meet a wide range of child protection needs in Gaza. Through trained facilitators already operating in Gaza, the centres are providing children and caregivers with psychosocial support; remedial education; child protection services; early childhood health advice; raising awareness of unexploded ordnance and providing opportunities for constructive recreation. Each of the centres is equipped with all the necessary equipment for such activities, and UNICEF supports continuous training and skills-development for facilitators. The 20 family centres are reaching almost 35,000 children and over 6,000 caregivers each month.
The Bank of Palestine joins ECHO, the Canada International Development Agency, and the Belgian National Committee for UNICEF, as funding partners for the family centres.
Services at the family centres are provided by partners including Save the Children Sweden, MAAN development centre, TAMER Institute, Ard El-Insan, Palestinian Red Crescent Society, Sharek Youth Forum, The Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution and the Community Training and Crisis Management Centre.