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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: European Union (EU)
31 March 2012

In the presence of PM Fayyad and EU Representative Al Walajah
celebrates its history and shares its present

الولجة تحتفل بتاريخها وتشاطر حاضرها بحضور رئيس الوزراء فياض وممثل الاتحاد الاوروبي

Community committee members of Al Walajah village, Bethlehem, welcomed today Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the EU Representative Mr. John Gatt-Rutter and hundreds of other visitors at an 'Open Day' in the village filled with music, cultural performances and an exhibition of local products. The event was an occasion for community members to speak on the challenges the village is facing due the construction of the barrier and expansion of neighbouring settlements. It was also a great chance to share with them the strategic plan they developed themselves to make improvements in their daily lives.

PM Fayyad inaugurated Al Walajah's new sports centre which represents the first visible step of how community members are planning to go about identifying their needs and making concrete actions to improve the quality of their lives. Al Walajah is one of five marginalised communities in the West Bank that the EU and Oxfam are supporting to find real representation through the formation of community committees.

In Al Walajah the committee now has twelve members, including representatives from youth and women organizations. The group was tasked with studying the needs of the village, with the participation of village residents and organisations, and producing a strategic plan for development of their community lasting three to five years.

"I am particularly impressed by what has been achieved here in Al Walajah, in such a short time and despite all the difficulties you are facing and which we all know well", said the EU Representative John Gatt-Rutter. "Not only have you established a community committee but its members have been particularly active in developing your own Action Plan and a Citizen's Awareness Guide. Moreover, you have put in good use the seed-fund that the project has made available to support community-driven initiatives such as the sports centre we launched today.

And all this through a fully democratic and participatory approach whereby each representative of the society – be it the youth or women - has its voice being heard". With the support of local partners PalVision, Ansar Centre for Children, MIFTAH, and the Women’s Study Centre, the project targets communities also in Al Auja, Zbeidat, Fasayel and Jiftlik in the Jordan Valley.

The EU Non State Actors programme, under which this intervention is funded, places non state actors and local authorities at the heart of local development, and considers them as essential actors in the definition of their own development strategies. Using a bottom up approach the project aims to empower people to make a positive impact on development processes and to increase participation in the decision making process.

For more information or to receive the Strategic Plan by Al Walajah's Committee:
The Office of the European Union Representative
Antonia Zafeiri, Tel:+972 (0) 2 5415 859, Mob: 054 8024 915
Shadi Othman, Tel:+972 (0) 2 541 5867, Mob: 0599 673 958

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