1. Country and Sector Background
This is the sub-para numbering for this level. This is the sub-para Israel's military operation in Gaza from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009 included aerial and naval bombardment, artillery shelling, as well as ground operations. At least 1,314 Palestinians were killed and four times as many wounded (roughly half of whom women and children); more than 100,000 people displaced; over 15,000 homes damaged or destroyed; public infrastructure and utilities, including water, sanitation, electricity, and transportation networks damaged severely; and businesses, factories, and farmland leveled. The total damages of the operations are estimated at over US$ 4 billion by the Palestinian National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan for Gaza 2009-10 (Early Recovery Plan) which was coordinated by the PA's Ministry of Planning with inputs from line Ministries, other PA bodies, the United Nations, the World Bank, the private sector, and international and national NGOs.
The military operations have resulted in worsening living conditions for Gazans where unemployment and poverty have been high, with a marked deterioration. The 2008 unemployment rate is estimated at an average of about 40 percent in Gaza and 19 percent in the West Bank, up from an average of 30 and 18 percent, respectively, in 2007. The sharp rise in unemployment in Gaza reflects tighter blockade compared to 2007. Poverty levels, based on data from a 2007 household survey, are estimated to be much higher in Gaza than in the West Bank, with 80 percent of households in Gaza living below the poverty line compared to 45 percent in the West Bank. Gaza's humanitarian situation has worsened, especially during the last quarter of 2008, with more severe restrictions on the entry of essential items, including cash.
The Early Recovery Plan documents the damage to and needs of several sectors in Gaza, including the social sectors and agriculture where most of the service delivery is carried out by NGOs. In the health sector, the Early Recovery Plan lays out how Gaza's emergency and primary health care systems were overstretched and under-supported during the Israeli offensive, and many medical facilities sustained severe damage. Border closures prevented the flow of crucial medical supplies and the transfer of high risk medical cases, and the capacity to rapidly respond to emergency cases was significantly diminished. Numerous education establishments, from kindergarten to university level, also suffered extensive damage. The social safety sector has been particularly affected, and a number of orphanages, disability centers and service centers for vulnerable persons have been damaged. More importantly, the number of poor, unsheltered persons, disabled, orphans, and female-headed households has increased, which places additional burdens on the remaining social safety network. Mosques, cultural institutions, and historic buildings also suffered extensive damage. The agriculture sector was severely affected, with the widespread destruction of cultivated land, greenhouses, livestock and poultry farms, water wells, irrigation networks, and other productive assets.
The main objective of PNGOIII is to provide social services to those who are poor, vulnerable or affected by the deteriorating socio-economic conditions by establishing an effective mechanism to improve the quality and sustainability of NGO social service delivery.
3. Rationale for Bank Involvement
There are two basic reasons for Bank involvement: one is based on successful Bank experience in social service provision through NGOs; the other is based more broadly on the Bank's role and experience with emergency operations.
Leadership and Staying the Course: The Bank has played a leading, innovative and successful role in initiating social service delivery through systematized grant making by a well recognized institution, the NGO Development Center under the guidance of the Welfare Association. The Bank has established transparent and effective system for identifying NGOs providing critical services to NGOs and has been able to effectively monitor the implementation of these activities. Under PNGOIII, the Bank supported the establishment of the NGO Development Center which successfully provided rules based grants to NGOs and worked closely with them to develop their capacities. The NDC also has a strong presence in Gaza.
Emergency Experience: The Bank has had considerable global experience in designing and implementing operations in response to natural disasters and emergencies arising in conflict-affected settings. Thus, the number of Bank-supported emergency recovery projects has increased in the past ten years, and the Bank has come a long way in its own understanding of how to operationalize sustainable interventions in emergency situations. In WBG, specifically, the Bank is often relied upon by the PA and donors to lead such efforts, and has done so successfully. PNGOII and PNGOIII set excellent examples of the capability of the Bank to implement such projects under very difficult conditions. The engagement of the NDC with NGOs in Gaza is ensuring the provision of critical social services focusing on the most marginalized and vulnerable segments of the population.
In its letter of March 30, 2009, the PA has requested US$3 million from Bank budget for assistance to the PNGO III based on the Gaza Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan, to help the recovery efforts in Gaza. The AF would support existing Component 1 "NGO Grants for Social Delivery" given its ability to address the direct needs of the population towards recovery and Component 3, "Institutional Development of the NGO Development Center." The US$2.64 million will be allocated to 25 to 30 NGOs grant amounts ranging from US$45,000 to US$250,000 and the remaining US$ 0.36 will be allocated towards existing Component 3, for monitoring and evaluation, technical assistance to NGOs, supervision and audits. The AF will focus on the first three types of grants described above:
(a) Empowerment grants (US$1.39 million): This window will support approximately 11 NGOs, each working in a specific geographic area which collectively ensures wide coverage of the Gaza Strip. The activities are specifically designed to address the urgent needs of the poorest segments of the population and will include the following thematic areas: agricultural services, income generating activities for women, psychosocial support for children and vocational training for the deaf and visually impaired. These activities build upon initiatives being implemented under the on going program.
(b) Mentoring grants (US$ 0.5): These support social service delivery by small communitybased organizations partnering with experienced NGOs. The scale up will support educational services for marginalized children (including those with learning disabilities) in 6 different refugee camps. It will also work with youth in Gaza's southern governorates (Rafah, Khan Younis and Al Foukhra) all of which witnessed the worst part of the recent escalation of the conflict in Gaza. Two mentor NGOs will each work with 5 smaller NGOs, to improve the quality of their service delivery through knowledge sharing and networking with professionalized NGOs.
(c) Grants to Specialized Health Service Providers (US$ 0.75): These will support NGO hospitals which provide specialized health care services currently unavailable in the public health care system. Under PNGOIII three NGO hospitals were able to develop services thus far unavailable in Gaza, thereby improving health care quality and access in Gaza and limiting the need for referrals abroad. These activities will be scaled up.
As this is an emergency response, the subproject proposal submission process will be modified to ensure quick response while maintaining quality of service delivery. These modified procedures will be described in the revised Operations Manual by negotiations. NGOs who are currently receiving assistance under PNGOIII and providing the needed services (as identified in the PA's Gaza Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan) will be invited to submit proposals for subprojects intended to either scale up existing interventions or to introduce initiatives that respond to the current crisis. Three to five new NGOs may also be invited to submit proposals. The invitation will be to pre-qualified NGOs on the basis of their proven track record in a specific area of expertise critical to the early recovery effort (psychosocial health, specialized health care, agricultural interventions etc). This modification in the proposal submission process is also based on the recommendations of the Bank's recent Midterm Review which pointed to unnecessarily lengthy application forms and review processes. The proposal forms will be shortened and simplified to enable the NDC team to conduct a rapid and yet efficient field appraisal. The criteria for appraisal would include the relevance of the proposed activities in the Gaza recovery (as described in the GERRP), the NGO's track record, its implementation capacity, justification for the project, realistic budget, etc. These modifications will be included in the revised Operations Manual.
PROPOSED CHANGES FOR THE AF
The original project was designed as a demand driven intervention to respond to urgent social service needs. Subprojects were identified and proposed by NGOs through a process of community consultation. The AF is a simple scale up of the most successful aspects of the Original project (the first three windows of Component 1 and Component 3 for project supervision, monitoring and evaluation and audit aspects) designed to ensure a direct and rapid impact on Gaza's poorest and most vulnerable population. Therefore, the AF will not require any major changes to the project's basic design and no "formal" reappraisal was deemed necessary. However, since the end of the Gaza conflict in January 2009, the project team has carried out an intensive supervision of the original project as well as an appraisal of the AF.
Special Financing 3
The NGO Development Center will be responsible for project oversight. Activities will be identified and implemented by NGOs on the basis of eligible activities set forth in the Operations Manual.
Support to municipalities at a time of severe economic and conflict associated crisis environment is critical not only for continued delivery of services but also to maintain relevance of NGOs as important institutions. The AF will mitigate against the further deterioration of social service provision and promote social cohesion and citizen empowerment by encouraging grass roots activities. The continued engagement of the NDC contributes to developing its capacity and relevance beyond the period of the AF.
8. Lessons Learned from Past Operations in the Country/Sector
A number of lessons were learned from the implementation of the PNGOIII and similar operations. These include:
a) Due to the highly unpredictable environment of Gaza, the project must be designed flexibly.
b) Due to tight blockade imposed on Gaza, reliance on local (Gazan) expertise is critical.
c) Close and frequent supervision missions are necessary to make changes/adjustments designed to meet implementation constraints.
d) A highly competent implementing institution, such as the NDC is the key for success.
e) Closely working with beneficiary NGOs/communities and ensuring that project activities are based on demand by actors on the ground.
9. Safeguard Policies (including public consultation)
The supervision included a review of the safeguards aspects of the project. Under the original project OP 4.01 (Environment Assessment) was triggered and accordingly an Environmental Management Plan was prepared and disclosed under the original project. A recent midterm review had also reviewed implementation of the EMP and found it to be satisfactory. The EMP remains valid. The supervision has also confirmed that the Bank's social safeguards policy (OP 4.12 on involuntary resettlement) will not be triggered. Any investments that will involve involuntary resettlement or the acquisition of land will be ineligible as described in the Operations Manual which places such interventions on a negative list.
10. List of Factual Technical Documents
a. Semiannual and Annual Progress Reports
b. Project Appraisal Document, PNGOIII
c. Operations Manual (including procurement and financial management manuals)
11. Contact point
Contact: Meskerem Brhane
Title: Sr Urban Spec.
Tel: 5366+214 / 972-2-236-6514
Location: Gaza, West Bank and Gaza (IBRD)
12. For more information contact:
The World Bank
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20433
Telephone: (202) 458-4500
Fax: (202) 522-1500