Job Creation Programme Organises a March on International Labour Day

01 May 2010

1 May 2010
West Bank

The job creation programme (JCP) celebrated International Labour Day by organising a march for JCP’s beneficiaries in Nablus in the presence of Barbara Shenstone, director of UNRWA operations in the West Bank, and representatives from the local community. Participants carried banners and signs asking all the actors in the Palestinian territories to play a more effective role in providing decent work for Palestinian labourers.

Shenstone addressed the beneficiaries: “I am delighted to show my support to the JCP today on the occasion of International Labour Day. This programme is incredibly important as it supports refugees in the current socio-economic crisis. It is the largest job creation programme in the West Bank, creating some 7,100 job opportunities every month and distributing some US$ 35 million every year. I want to pass my sincere congratulations to everyone, especially the workers themselves.”

UNRWA’s emergency job creation programme helps poor refugee families to cope with the socio-economic crisis. Refugees are one of the groups worst affected by economic hardship, as they have already been made vulnerable by the conflict, 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 aims to provide a subsidy in exchange for labour.

JCP targets different groups in the Palestinian community. It enables families to cover their basic household needs such as food, school fees and healthcare. JCP’s monitoring reports indicate that roughly half of the subsidy received is spent on food, with the other half contributing to health, education and debt payments.

Each month, nearly 40 per cent of the programme’s labourers are women, surpassing its target of 35 per cent female participation. Bedouin herders have been able to benefit greatly from job opportunities. This group are among the poorest refugees in the West Bank, as their cost of living has been severely affected by confiscation of, and lack of access to, grazing lands and water resources. JCP designs interventions that suit their particular skills, such as tapestry, carpet weaving, cottage farming, and their needs, such as the rehabilitation of schools, herb gardens and shelters.

People with disabilities have had the opportunity to work. Up to 1 per cent of JCP’s labourers are people with disabilities, surpassing its target of 0.5 per cent.

JCP contributes to UNRWA’s protection strategies by integrating specially designed protection-related projects in areas where refugees are in danger of forced displacement or particularly affected by the Barrier and land confiscations.

JCP is funded by numerous donors, mainly the US, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland and ECHO, the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department.

- ENDS -

Ilona Kassissieh
Public Information Office
i.kassissieh@unrwa.org

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$ 70.5 million.

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