The Basque Government supports women in Gaza

31 October 2014

The Basque Government is supporting women in Gaza through the programme ‘Empowerment strategies to reduce vulnerability of refugee women’. Implemented by UNRWA, the programme will address the vulnerabilities faced by women, including those due to the Israeli blockade on Gaza and the traditionally patriarchal society.

The programme will focus on gender perspectives in health, economic empowerment and human rights. Over 70,600 people will participate, including more than 38,800 women and 31,800 men.

The programme will also include awareness activities in Spain about the situation and rights of refugee women. An anticipated 7,740 people will visit exhibitions and participate in roundtables in cities and towns across Basque Country, which will help raise awareness among Spanish society about the situation of refugee women in Gaza.

The Basque Government support for the 12-month programme totals almost EUR 600,000 (US$ 776,000).

There are four expected outcomes from the programme:

  • Guaranteeing women’s sexual and reproductive rights, and introducing a gender-based violence protection system;
  • The creation of work and education opportunities for women with academic qualifications, but limited knowledge on how to deal with workforce demands;
  • The promotion of women’s rights and the generation of resilience through coping mechanisms. This includes community mental health support and human rights empowerment;
  • New awareness within the Basque society about the history of women in Gaza from a human rights and gender perspective.

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.