Basque Government donates EUR 700,000 to gender and food aid programmes

05 July 2012

27 June 2012

The Basque government has donated a total of EUR 700,000 to UNRWA’s activities in Gaza, helping to mitigate the impact of the blockade on the lives of some of the most vulnerable refugees: women, children, and households without access to regular nutritious food.

One of the supported projects is UNRWA’s two-year gender training and work scheme for young Palestinian women, which received 300,000 Euros. The scheme aims to provide better access to the job market for around 600 female students and graduates in Gaza. These students will benefit from a set of training courses, the chance to manage projects, and opportunities for work experience.

Support for Gaza’s most vulnerable

The ongoing blockade and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip hits hardest for school-aged children and families without access to sufficient and safe nutritious food. To support these vulnerable groups, the Basque donation will provide EUR 400,000 to UNRWA’s school feeding and emergency food aid programmes, which aims to help nearly 12,000 students improve their levels of concentration and performance in class. Through the distribution of more than 1.2 million nutritious meal options along the school year, the programme fulfils the rights of UNRWA’s students to both adequate nutrition and quality primary education.

In addition, support for UNRWA’s emergency food assistance project will provide one of four annual rounds of food distribution to 133,000 refugee families (around 670,000 people). The programme covers 76 per cent of the daily calorie needs of the most vulnerable refugees. With UNRWA’s emergency food programmes currently operating despite a financial deficit, the Basque contribution is also an important step towards the fulfilment of refugees’ rights to healthy nutrition.

Outreach at home

Basque support for Palestine refugees also extends to outreach and educational work within Basque society itself. A special government project in the region aims to improve the humanitarian and human rights work being done by Basque organisations in the occupied Palestinian territory, including through the organisation of a set of conferences on the subject of women, children, and humanitarian aid.

UNRWA’s Spanish Committee works to support the UN agency’s humanitarian programmes and to raise awareness in Spanish society of the situation of the Palestine refugees.

For more information, please contact Cristina Poveda or María González:

Tel. (+34) 91 702 70 59 / 638 87 95 61

Background Information

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$ 100 million.

For more information, please contact: