UNRWA job creation programme celebrates International Women’s Day with Al-Araqa Bazaar

08 March 2011

8 March 2011
Nazareth

Nazareth mayor Ramiz Jaraysi and job creation programme (JCP) manager Itaf Masri have opened Al-A’araqa bazaar in Nazareth in the presence of Nazareth local community representatives and senior UNRWA officials.

Masri stressed that JCP continues its efforts to empower women by increasing women’s participation in the programme. Nearly 40 per cent of the programme’s workers each month are women, surpassing the 35 per cent target. She also highlighted the efforts UNRWA exerts in marketing women’s products by conducting bazaars. Masri also thanked Nazareth’s mayor for hosting the UNRWA bazaar.

The bazaar was organised to market handicrafts the women produce through their work in the programme. JCP provides tools and training equipment to beneficiaries working in women’s programme centres all over the West Bank. The project provides short-term employment opportunities to the most vulnerable Palestine refugees in the West Bank, with particular attention to women and young people, in the hope of alleviating their economic hardship and providing much-needed cash assistance at the household level.

A part of the job creation programme, women are trained in Palestinian embroidery (tatreez) and handicraft by local experts at community centres located in camps and villages across the West Bank. This helps to maintain the highest standards of equality while preserving the traditional and authentic nature of this art.

UNRWA’s emergency job creation programme helps poor refugee families to cope with the ongoing crisis. Refugees are one of the most affected groups by the 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 within the West Bank 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.

The multi-donor project, this year with a budget of approximately USD 49 million, is made possible through the generous contributions of governments including Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands and the United States, and donors such as 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$ 56 million.

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