EU-FUNDED SOCIOECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS IN PALESTINE REFUGEE CAMPS IN LEBANON
03 July 2014
Within the framework of the project ‘Improving the Living Conditions of Palestine Refugees in Lebanon’, funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in collaboration with the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC) over a three-year period, the Agency organized a workshop at the Siblin Training Centre north campus in Nahr el-Bared camp, to present the progress made on the implementation level in vital areas. The EU funded the project with a EUR 6 million (US$ 8.2 million) grant.
Attending the workshop were representatives of various agencies, local and international NGOs, Palestinian civil society and Lebanese stakeholders. An UNRWA team explained the most important areas of intervention covered by the project:
Ensuring the provision of mental health and psychosocial-support services to Palestine refugees in all the camps by specialized staff, in parallel to the establishment of a referral mechanism inside and outside the UNRWA health centres, in partnership with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and UNICEF
Securing loans for young Palestine refugees, through the microcredit community support programme, to increase self-employment opportunities and business expansion
Improving education and technical and vocational training to increase employment opportunities and promote social inclusion among young Palestine refugees; setting up recreational and sport clubs for the students of Siblin Training Centre; and implementing intercommunal activities to promote understanding and concord between the Palestinian and Lebanese communities in an effort to improve social inclusion
Improving environmental-health conditions by rehabilitating the infrastructure in the central and southern sectors of Ein El Hilweh camp at the level of water supply, drainage systems, sewerage and roads
Strengthening the participatory mechanisms to promote local and national engagement and support the decision-making process throughout the duration of the project, carried out in consultation with the Popular and Sector Committees; Appointing community-oriented focus groups to discuss and follow up on the progress and impact of the project, with particular attention given to women, youth and persons with disabilities
Total EU support to UNRWA in 2013 included EUR 40 million (US$ 54.6 million) for projects and emergency activities, along with EUR 95 million (US$ 129.7 million) for the Agency’s General Fund.
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$ 69 million.
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