UNRWA Launches Da’am Programme

23 October 2009

23 October 2009

East Jerusalem

UNRWA is launching a new programme that will provide more accurate and efficient assistance to its target population. In its first phase, the Da’am programme (‘support’ in Arabic) will target eight refugee camps and three localities: Jenin, Bethlehem, and the towns and villages of Ramallah/Bireh. The second phase, expected to be launched in the third quarter of 2010, will target the remaining areas and will be implemented across the entire West Bank field.

The programme will try to identify the poorest families who cannot meet their daily basic needs of food, clothing etc. This will ensure proper channelling of the services UNRWA provides under its emergency programme. These services include food and cash assistance, and cash for work.

The programme aims to collect relevant data to feed into a database that will be used as the main focal information database for all UNRWA programmes. The database will ensure that the targeted families are among the poorest and will be updated in a continuous manner.

The Palestinian poverty line, as issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau for Statistics, will be used as the reference for determining the level of poverty.

More than 30 field researchers will spread across the targeted areas from next week, to assist in explaining the new programme and to help families fill out their applications. Focus groups have also been organised, and meetings with beneficiaries will be organised throughout November to ensure proper outreach and information dissemination. It is expected that data entry into the system and the start of delivering assistance in its various forms will start in January 2010.

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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, 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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