ILO grants US$ 100,000 for refugee women entrepreneurs

19 July 2011

19 July 2011
East Jerusalem

Female microfinance entrepreneurThe International Labour Organization and UNRWA signed a memorandum of understanding at Ankar Suites in Ramallah today, to support Palestine refugee women starting their own businesses, for an amount of US$ 100,000. Funded through the Spanish government, the project falls under the joint UN approach to achieve the gender equality millennium development goal in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The deputy minister of labour, Dr Hasan Khateeb, along with ILO and UNRWA representatives, attended the signing. Over a period of nine months, 100 refugee women will be able to overcome the barriers they face to create and expand their businesses. This will contribute towards improving the economic situation of their families while acting as role models for their daughters and young refugee girls in the community. The project will also contribute towards decreasing the number of unemployed women refugees who tend to face a higher rate of unemployment.

The project activities will be implemented through UNRWA’s partner network of community-based organisations in refugee camps across the West Bank with the technical assistance from ILO. Activities will include professional skills training, marketing of Palestinian products, financial support through small loans, and community support structures for women entrepreneurs.

This memorandum of understanding represents a continuation of an important partnership between ILO and UNRWA to support the achievement of ending poverty and hunger (MDG 1) and gender equality (MDG 3) for Palestine refugee women.

For more information, please call:

Ilona Kassissieh
Public Information Officer
Orange: 054 216 8717
Office: 02 589 0408

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$ 68 million.

For more information, please contact:

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