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Source: USAID West Bank & Gaza
28 June 2005



New grants to help Palestinians with democratic, economic reform
Middle East Partnership Initiative funding totals more than $2 million

The State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) has issued three new grants totaling more than $2 million to support democratic institutions and economic training in the West Bank and Gaza, according to a June 28 media note.

One project will provide funds to Palestinian television stations to broadcast live sessions of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The other two grants will support entrepreneurship training.

Since its founding in 2002, MEPI has received $293 million in funding and sponsored 225 projects throughout the region. These projects aim to support democratic and economic reforms, enhanced educational opportunities and women’s empowerment.

Following is the text of the media note:

(begin text)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release
June 28, 2005

Media Note

United States Announces Three New Middle East Partnership Initiative Grants to Support Reform in the West Bank and Gaza

The United States announces three awards of Middle East Partnership Initiative grants to strengthen democratic institutions and processes in the West Bank and Gaza. Totaling more than $2 million, these grants will support transparent governance, independent media, women’s entrepreneurship, and the creation of small and medium sized enterprises.

A grant to Search for Common Ground will enable a network of ten independent Palestinian television stations to broadcast live sessions of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Such broadcasts will foster public interest and greater transparency within the Palestinian legislature. The Middle East Partnership Initiative is already supporting Palestinian independent media through a previous grant to Search for Common Ground to help produce a bi-weekly television news magazine.

A separate grant to CHF International will support work with the Palestinian Ministry of Women’s Affairs and several well regarded Palestinian NGOs to facilitate women’s entrepreneurship through policy reform, advocacy, capacity building, business training, and networking activities. The project will enable Palestinian women entrepreneurs to overcome barriers to starting small businesses.

A grant to NorthStar Development Partners will provide training and mentoring for entrepreneurs and small business owners through a program to improve their critical business skills. NorthStar is partnering with PalTrade and Birzeit University to provide tailored training and mentoring to these entrepreneurs, and to assist them in marketing their businesses’ opportunities to the Palestinian Diaspora. NorthStar will also support an alumni network of Palestinian businesspersons.

MEPI is a Presidential initiative that supports economic, political, and educational reform efforts in the Middle East and expanded opportunity for all people of the region, especially women and youth. More information can be found at: http://MEPI.state.gov.


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