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United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
7 August 2013
UNRWA and Habtoor Celebrate Partnership with Iftar in West Bank
6 August 2013
الأونروا ومؤسسة الحبتور ينظمان إفطاراً رمضانيا إحتفالا بالشراكة في الضفة الغربية
In the West Bank towns of Wadi Fukin and Umm Al Khair, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) organized an iftar for community representatives and labourers from the UNRWA Job Creation Programme (JCP), celebrating the holy month of Ramadan and a successful partnership with the Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Foundation (KAHF). In October 2012, a sponsorship agreement of US$ 280,000 was signed between KAHF and UNRWA, supporting the Agency’s work in the area.
The generous contribution helped the JCP create 77 short-term job opportunities for food-insecure refugee labourers in these areas. KAHF support focused on water-related, agricultural and infrastructure-rehabilitation projects designed to help farmers address protection threats, including land confiscation and settler violence, and on increasing farmers’ resilience to forced displacement. KAHF was founded by Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor, a well-known philanthropist who has been a generous supporter of Palestine refugees throughout the region. In November 2011, he received the prestigious 'Shield of Merit’ from UNRWA in recognition of his humanitarian work with Palestine refugees.
Ahmad Sukar, the head of the Wadi Fukin village council, emphasized the projects’ many achievements. “We express the gratitude and thanks of our communities to UNRWA JCP labourers and to the Al Habtoor Foundation for their support to Palestinian farmers facing protection threats.” He added that KAHF funds “have helped us repair essential agricultural infrastructure and water pipelines, which will prevent the loss of water and increase our agricultural production.”
In Wadi Fukin, JCP labourers rehabilitated 3800 metres of water pipelines, 40 manholes and 3 water springs, and constructed a 500 cubic metre reservoir to mitigate leakage and water loss during summer. In Umm Al Kheir, a community south-east of Hebron that is near the settlement of Karmel, KAHF support helped the residents, refugee Bedouin, install an efficient irrigation system and demarcate their lands with a boundary fence to protect crops from settler violence.
David Hutton, Deputy Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank, spoke at the event. He said: “We appreciate this partnership with village councils and hope that it will contribute to supporting the community and families’ livelihoods in this area. We also extend our appreciation to Khalaf Al Habtoor Foundation, for the generous contributions and support that made this project a successful reality.”
The UNRWA Job Creation Programme, funded by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection office (ECHO), provides temporary job opportunities to vulnerable refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory, aiming to alleviate high levels of poverty and unemployment and ensure a degree of food security. In 2012, JCP created nearly 41,900 short-term employment opportunities, benefiting over 18,000 people, and worked with 270 municipalities and village councils, as well as 19 UNRWA camps throughout the West Bank.
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UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 58.5 million.
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