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12 November 2004

OPT: USAID to build 55 new classrooms and create 500 new jobs

Jerusalem -
The American people are donating $2 million to a project that will construct, expand or renovate 11 schools in the Jenin and Qalqilya Governorates, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced Tuesday.

The project, part of USAID's Palestinian Infrastructure for Needed Employment (PINE) initiative, will also provide employment for an estimated 500 workers in the West Bank.

PINE focuses on creating short-term employment opportunities in labor-intensive, infrastructure development.

The new PINE project will be implemented in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), local authorities and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

The two-year project will construct three new schools and expand or renovate eight others, adding 55 new classrooms to the Palestinian education system.

The new classrooms will be used after school hours and during the summer holidays by youth organizations for extracurricular activities, all funded by PINE.

USAID and UNDP estimate that the program will positively affect the lives of approximately 23,000 people in the targeted areas and generate 30,857 workdays for skilled and unskilled workers. This is expected to have an immediate positive impact on some 500 Palestinian households, whose family members will be employed on the projects.

These targeted areas include the villages of Al-Mutela, Rab, Al-Moghayer, Rumana, Anin, and Araqa in the Jenin Governorate, and Kufr Thilth, Siniraya, Al-Funduq, Habla, and Isla in the Qalqilya Governorate.

"Employment generation is a high priority for Palestinians," said Timothy Rothermel, the Special Representative of UNDP. "It reflects the real commitment of USAID to responding to the needs of the Palestinian people."

USAID has spent more than $1.3 billion in the West Bank and Gaza to combat poverty, create jobs, improve education, build roads and water systems, construct and equip medical clinics and promote good governance.

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