Regional Spanish government gives EUR 40,000 to food for schoolchildren

17 September 2012

17 September 2012
Madrid

For the third year running, the Spanish regional government of Aragón has donated EUR 40,000 to UNRWA’s school feeding programme, which provides a daily menu for up to 221,000 schoolchildren in the Gaza Strip.

In Gaza, widespread poverty and a lack of employment and livelihoods all contribute to rising food insecurity, where families do not have access to enough healthy food. These factors are in turn largely driven by the Israeli-imposed blockade on the coastal enclave. The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that 35 per cent of Gaza’s farmland and 85 per cent of its fishing waters are totally or partially inaccessible. UNRWA recently reported that 44 per cent of Gaza’s population is food insecure. In addition, 80 per cent of the population receives humanitarian aid.

UNRWA’s school feeding programme is specifically designed to mitigate the effects of rising poverty on schoolchildren in Gaza, who continue to suffer from a deteriorating socio-economic environment characterised by poverty and deprivation. Evidence shows that proper nutrition helps students to focus on their schoolwork, and encourages them to attend school every day. The programme is one of a set of moves by UNRWA aiming to raise the quality of education received by children in the Gaza Strip.

This latest donation from the government of Aragón will provide 208,988 meals to children in UNRWA’s Gaza schools in 2012.

UNRWA wants to thank Aragón for its important contribution towards improving the living conditions of Gaza’s refugee population. This help comes in a time of great need, deepening vulnerability and rising humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory.

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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, microfinance and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.

UNRWA’s Spanish Comittee works to support UNRWA’s humanitarian programmes and to raise awareness within Spanish society of the situation facing Palestine refugees.

For more information, please contact:

Cristina Poveda
Communication and Marketing
UNRWA Spanish Committee
Mobile: (+34) 638 879 561
Office: (+34) 917 027 059
cpoveda@unrwace.org

María González
Communication
UNRWA Spanish Committee
Mobile: (+34) 638 879 561
Office: (+34) 917 027 059
mgonzalez@unrwace.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$ 56 million.

For more information, please contact: