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Source: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
28 February 2010

Background (February 2010)
Health and Nutrition

UNICEF works with government, national and international agencies, and civil society to support equitable access to health and nutrition services, and targeted assistance to vulnerable groups and those with special needs. Programmes focus on an integrated package of low-cost, low-technology and high impact interventions such as vaccines, antibiotics, micronutrient supplementation, improved breastfeeding practices and adoption of safe hygiene practices to prevent maternal and child deaths and reduce under nutrition (the IMCI approach).

In oPt, UNICEF will support MoH efforts to scale up capacity and coverage through technical assistance and capacity building at household, community and health facility levels; the procurement of inputs, including micronutrients; and conducting behaviour change programmes within households and communities. Health interventions will focus on improving care for high risk pregnant women and newborns in hospitals, and for improving maternal and child care at household and community levels.

Specifically, UNICEF will:
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

UNICEF's long-standing support to improving water supply, sanitation and hygiene is based on evidence on their centrality to ensuring the rights of children to survive, grow and develop. UNICEF works to improve water supplies and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and to promote safe hygiene practices. In emergencies, UNICEF provides urgent relief to communities threatened by disrupted water supplies and disease.

In oPt, UNICEF focuses on improving WASH infrastructure and hygiene promotion in schools; restoring/rehabilitating connections to networks and filling points for extremely marginalized communities in the West Bank and households in vulnerable areas in Gaza; and strengthening information management, especially in water quality surveillance.

In 2010, UNICEF will work specifically to:

UNICEF works to ensure that every child ¡V regardless of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background or circumstances ¡V has access to quality education. In emergency contexts, UNICEF works to return children to safe learning environments as quickly as possible as an unparalleled means for restoring a sense of normalcy and hope to children and their families.

In oPt, UNICEF works with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to improve the quality of education through capacity-building; improving
learning environments in especially vulnerable communities; and improve delivery and uptake of early childhood development services.

In 2010, UNICEF efforts will focus on:
Child Protection

UNICEF uses the term „child protection. to refer to the prevention of, and response to, violence, exploitation, neglect, and abuse of children. UNICEF's role is to protect children and women, ensure the rigorous application of international standards covering their rights, and provide them with the resources and tools for recovery. In oPt, UNICEF support focuses on strengthening capacity within the Ministry of Social Affairs and relevant line ministries to mainstream and implement child protection norms and standards in legislation, protocols and policies; and on providing strong, coordinated protection services to children at risk through partners in the Child Protection and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support sub-clusters. UNICEF programmes work at community level to enable children and families to better protect themselves, promote positive behavior in the home, and learn in environments free from violence.

In 2010, UNICEF will work specifically to:
Adolescent Development and Participation

UNICEF programmes in oPt aim to strengthen national capacity to increase adolescent participation, improve secondary school retention, reduce violence, and improve knowledge on healthy lifestyles. UNICEF support in recent years has focused on supporting MoYS in strengthening coordination, technical and monitoring capacity.

To reach adolescents struggling to stay in school in vulnerable communities, UNICEF piloted the adolescent-friendly learning spaces. initiative within four existing youth or community centres in 2005, providing a package of quality learning, recreational and developmental services. By end 2009, programme was working through 143 centres, with over 500 community-based facilitators who had been trained in child rights and adolescent participation. The centres enable adolescents to have a say in how the centres are managed, and also offer structured ways of becoming involved in advocacy campaigns and action research on issues of importance to them.

In 2010, UNICEF’s ADAP progamme will work to:
Policy, Studies and Evidence

UNICEF works with partners to ensure that programme strategies are designed to respond to humanitarian needs which can suddenly escalate, and also to provide support for maximizing development opportunities for the rights of children.

With partners, UNICEF will continue to work on policy development that better serves the rights of children and women. This will include getting the amended Child Law endorsed by the President; developing national policies and strategies in early childhood development, child health insurance, water governance, and youth sector.

UNICEF will also strengthen its evidence-based advocacy and public policy, through research, analysis, and building national information systems, to advocate and mobilise for the prioritisation of child rights by national authorities, civil society, the international community in general, and the media in particular. With partners, UNICEF will develop national management information systems, including sentinel nutritional surveillance; water quality surveillance; child protection case management and further strengthen the 1612 monitoring and reporting mechanism. Support to research will include multiple indicator cluster survey (MICSIV), social disparity; comprehensive child protection assessment in Gaza; combined nutrition survey and micronutrient study in West Bank; and interagency evaluation of psychosocial programming in Gaza.

Support To H1N1

As at 15 February, there were 1,612 reported cases of H1N1 with 45 reported deaths including 11 children. Together with the Ministry of Health (MoH), UNICEF supported H1N1 immunization campaign for 300 people of Jbara. Jbara is an enclave surrounded by the "Barrier", its 300 residents have no basic health or education services. “Immunization against H1N1 is beneficial. It protects us, our children and elderly from getting the disease”, said Laila Mustafa Jbara, a 38-year-old woman after immunizing her nephew against H1N1. To read more, visit:

PA-UNICEF Annual Work Plans Signed

In February 2010, UNICEF-oPt Special Representative Jean Gough and line ministries signed the 2010 Palestinian Authority and UNICEF annual work plans, which are in line with the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan and the Millennium Development Goals.

A Safe Space to Heal and Recover

For Rania al-Asi, a mother of five, the nine months since “Cast Lead” have been a long road to recovery. She spends many hours in psychosocial group sessions at a family centre in Al-Shate’ refugee camp in northern Gaza City, drawing strength and sustenance from the other caregivers, children and adolescents who come regularly to the centre for help in rebuilding their lives. The family centre initiative is a UNICEF programme implemented by Save the Children Sweden in partnership with NGOs and community based organizations.

Young Researchers

On 20 February 2010, UNICEF and Al Nayzak for Supportive Education & Scientific Innovation marked the ending of the second phase of young researchers’ project, where a group of 60 finalists were selected. The project seeks to foster the participation of adolescents in improving knowledge management on issues impacting their lives. Two hundred and twenty adolescent groups, aged 13-18, carried out research in four main areas: social issues, health, education, environment and agriculture.

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