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United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
1 July 2010
25 Ways to Help Palestine
July – December 2010
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was established in 1949 to provide much-needed relief and emergency aid to the Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war. Since then, UNRWA’s operations have expanded to provide essential relief and human development services to 4.7 million registered Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank. UNRWA’s mission is to help Palestine refugees achieve their full potential despite the difficult circumstances in which they live.
UNRWA’s largest programme in service of the Palestine refugees is education. The Agency has been the main provider of primary education to Palestine refugees for over 60 years, and currently operates nearly 700 schools for almost half a million refugee pupils. UNRWA also delivers basic health services to Palestine refugee communities through 137 health centres. The Agency’s network of primary healthcare facilities and mobile clinics provides the foundation of its health services, offering preventive care, general medicine and specialized services. The third of UNRWA’s main programmes is relief and social services. Through this programme, the Agency provides essential food and cash assistance to the poorest refugee families to enable them to meet their most basic needs. In addition to these three main programmes, UNRWA also operates a microfinance programme, to promote economic and sustainable development, infrastructure and camp improvement programme to ameliorate the physical and social environment of UNRWA’s refugee camps and an emergency programme to mitigate the negative effects of sudden crises.
UNRWA depends on the generous and regular contributions of governments and humanitarian organisations for its day-to-day operations. Almost all funding (i.e. 98%) received in 2009 came from voluntary contributions, mostly from donor states. Of the voluntary contributions, about 5.6 per cent came from non-governmental organisations, the private sector and individuals. In the last few years, the Agency has been forced to cut back on its basic services, programmes and projects. Financial contributions have not increased sufficiently to keep pace with inflation and the growing refugee population. As need surpasses capacity, UNRWA has had to reduce essential services as is evident from the fact that average annual spending per refugee has fallen from about $200 in 1975 to around $110 today. Nevertheless, UNRWA’s commitment to Palestine refugees remains steady, and the Agency will continue to serve them until a just solution regarding the question of the Palestine refugees is reached.
In this document, UNRWA presents a range of its small-scale needs for Palestine refugees in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank. A detailed outline for each of the activities mentioned can be provided upon request. Figures provided in this document are subject to slight variations. Please note that images on the cover page(middle and right), page three, page four (second image), and page fifteen are provided courtesy of IRIN News, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (
For more information on the interventions described in this document, please contact the Arab
Partners Unit of the External Relations Department in Amman at +962 65808511 or
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