Bicycle race highlights campaign against gender-based violence in Aida camp

06 December 2011

5 December 2011
West Bank

On 26 November, UNRWA launched its 16-day campaign to end gender-based violence in West Bank refugee camps through ongoing activities in its schools, centres and clinics. This two-week campaign is organised with community-based organisations and women’s centres, with the assistance of UN Volunteers, the police, and other institutions which advocate for women’s rights and protection.

Bicycle race in Aida Camp

Refugee children who attend UNRWA schools and a number of UNRWA employees, along with representatives of various community organisations in the area, participated in the race in Aida camp. .

They were accompanied by the police who helped maintain law and order heading towards Dheisheh camp and back. Children exhibited t-shirts designed for this occasion. Marwa, a 14-year old participant, explained: “I came to participate in this race, which was both challenging and exciting.”

Marathon in Jericho

On Sunday 4 December, a marathon for around 200 children and their mothers was organised in the streets of Ein Sultan and Aqbat Jaber refugee camps, in cooperation with public committees for services and women’s programme centres in those camps, Palestinian police, Joozour organisation, the Red Crescent and the company of cable cars. They released 60 helium balloons marked with statements calling for women’s rights and gender equality.

Throughout the campaign, UN Volunteers will be assisting UNRWA in distributing leaflets, stickers and posters on the topic.

Painting wall murals in UNRWA schools

UNRWA schools participating in this campaign will paint murals on certain schools. CBOs and women’s organisations will host several sessions and show movies on the topic of gender-based violence, and will also organise workshops on violence against the disabled, early marriage, etc which are all forms of violence.

Ushaq Theater is putting on a series of plays in UNRWA schools and centres.

Public information officer Ilona Kassissieh said: “The campaign aims at raising awareness among refugees of all ages and kinds on the phenomenon of gender-based violence. At UNRWA we strive to showcase our efforts in protecting and empowering Palestine refugees through our various programmes.”

UNRWA will also organise a high-profile event on 7 December, attended by Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi and the ministries working on gender, the minister of social affairs and minister of women’s affairs, to shed some light on the importance of combating gender-based violence.

The campaign will continue until 10 December during which organisations and individuals alike will be encouraged to take initiatives to put an end to this phenomenon.

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 more than US$ 106  million.

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