Job creation programme celebrates International Day of Persons with Disabilities

06 December 2010

6 December 2010
West Bank

UNRWA’s job creation programme (JCP) and disability programme celebrated International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December) with a ceremony attended by JCP beneficiaries with disabilities, UNRWA‘s senior officials and representatives of the local community in Nablus.

The celebration highlighted the skills, contribution and achievements of people with disabilities, and emphasised the importance of their full participation in the community.

The ceremony on 4 December, started with welcoming words that stressed the importance of targeting this sector of the community for the job creation programme, and creating opportunities that fit their abilities. People with disabilities had the opportunity to showcase their achievements and creativities in an exhibition.

The job creation programme has consistently met and even exceeded its target of providing 0.5 per cent of its monthly job opportunities to people with disabilities, providing an average of 282 opportunities per month to this vulnerable group between April and October 2010.

The programme has also worked to increase the capacity of its partners, such as municipalities and villages councils, to understand the rights, abilities and needs of this segment. UNRWA provides special training to highlight the importance of people with disabilities participating in its projects.

UNRWA’s emergency job creation programme is an intervention that helps poor refugee families cope with the ongoing crisis. Refugees are one of the groups worst affected by economic hardship, as they have been made further vulnerable by the conflict due to confiscation of, or inaccessibility to, cultivated land; destruction and closure of shops; loss of employment in Israel and lack of mobility to reach new job markets. In an effort to reduce the number of refugee households living below the poverty line, the intervention provides a subsidy in exchange for labour.

UNRWA’s job creation programme has played a critical role in assisting the poorest of Palestine refugees living in the West Bank, helping them to meet their basic economic and living needs.

The programme is the largest of its kind in the West Bank, creating some 7,100 job opportunities every month, and distributing some USD $35 million per year.

JCP determines its beneficiaries through UNRWA’s Da’am targeting programme, which uses a proxy means testing formula to evaluate vulnerability. A portion of job opportunities are targeted at communities with specific protection concerns, including those at particular risk of livelihood loss because of permit restrictions, forced displacement or harassment in Area C and the Seam Zone, or because of their status as members of the herding community.

JCP also targets certain vulnerable refugee groups, ensuring at least 35 per cent of job opportunities for women, 20 per cent for young people aged 18-24, 3 per cent for Bedouin herders, and 0.5 per cent for people with disabilities.

The multi-donor project, with a budget this year of approximately US$ 49 million, is made possible through generous contributions from Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands and the United States, and the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department, ECHO.

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$ 69 million.

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