SDC funds employment centres to boost employment prospects for Palestine refugees in Lebanon

20 January 2012

20 January 2012

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) inaugurated today a new employment services centre in Tyre, Lebanon.

The project was made possible thanks to a generous contribution of USD 1.4 million from SDC, and was implemented in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The ceremony was attended by Mr. Roger Rhayyem, representing the Lebanese Minister of Labour; Mr. Mahmoud Assadi, representing the Embassy of Palestine in Lebanon; Ms. Hiba Hage Felder, head of the SDC; Mr. Jean-François Klein, the chief of regional programming services for the ILO; Ms. Abir Atmeh, South Lebanon field officer and representative of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee; Mr. Roger Davies, the deputy director of UNRWA in Lebanon, and a number of UNRWA officials and representatives of the Palestinian community.

This is the second such centre in the South of Lebanon. In December 2011, UNRWA inaugurated another employment services centre in Saida, also funded by the SDC. The project aims at boosting employment prospects for all Palestine refugees in Lebanon, regardless of their level of education or work experience. The centre provides job-seekers with individual counselling, resumé coaching, and career guidance. It also connects them with quality employment opportunities, and refers them to apprenticeships and on-the-job training providers. An estimated 4,800 Palestine refugees living in Southern Lebanon will benefit from the project, including women and people with special needs.

The centre also offers recruiting services for employers by advertising their vacancies and providing lists of eligible candidates for advertised postings.

All of the services offered by the centre are provided free of charge. A similar UNRWA centre is already operating in the North, providing the same services in the Employment Unit of the Beirut field office.

Over the years, UNRWA and the ILO have worked toward ensuring that Palestine refugees have access to decent employment, enabling them to escape poverty and live in dignity. The lack of employment opportunities and decent jobs for Palestine refugees prolong their hardship and poverty. This is mainly concentrated in Southern Lebanon, with Saida and Tyre accounting for more than 81 per cent of all refugees living in abject poverty. Young people are particularly affected, with unemployment for Palestinians between 15 and 24 reaching 57.4 per cent. In Lebanon, Palestine refugees are excluded from national employment service mechanisms and supports.

For further information please contact Hoda Samra, UNRWA public information officer in Lebanon: +961-70-010129 fax: +961-1-840468 or by e-mail:

Background Information

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals. 

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

For more information, please contact: