13 November, 2012
Ramallah, West Bank
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the Welfare Association, and Palestine Education for Employment have signed a memorandum of understanding to support employment initiatives for recently-graduated Palestine refugees. The initiative will provide training to introduce young refugees to the job market, facilitate job placement, and integrate them within a private sector company.
This USD 460,000 agreement will recruit Palestine refugee youth between 18 and 35 who possess a bachelor of arts degree or a diploma in a vocational field such as business administration, marketing, accounting, or sales. UNRWA will contribute USD 360,000 to the agreement, while the Welfare Association’s contribution – under the supervision of Palestine Education for Employment – will be USD 100,000.
The agreement was signed at a ceremony in Ramallah by the Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank, Felipe Sanchez, Dr. Tafeeda Jarbawi, Director General of the Welfare Association, and Dr. Sabri Saidam, a member of Palestine Education for Employment.
Two hundred young graduates will receive 50 hours of training through the project, provided by the Welfare Association and its partner Palestine Education for Employment. Each participant will then complete a six-month job placement, with UNRWA supplementing the USD 200 monthly salary with an additional USD 300 per month.
UNRWA’s Felipe Sanchez highlighted how the agreement affirms the Agency’s commitment to Palestine refugee youth: “Last March, during the ‘Engaging Youth’ conference in Brussels, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General announced ten commitments through which the Agency will strengthen its support of youth. This project, combining skills-building and on-the-job training for up to 200 Palestine refugee students from poor families, is a very good example of the implementation of such commitments.”
Sanchez also hailed the initiative for reflecting UNRWA’s shift towards assistance for refugees with a more tangible impact, such as vocational training, micro-finance opportunities, and scholarships: “This is one of the positive outcomes of the results of the Emergency Appeal review. The Agency is planning to re-focus its resources towards supporting projects that will have a more direct impact on individual refugees and support their integration to the job market.”
Dr. Tafeeda Al-Jarbawi of the Welfare Association pointed out that 40 per cent of refugees in the West Bank and Gaza are youth, who suffer more from the lack of employment and education opportunities and increasing poverty. This agreement, she said, will help to mitigate the effects of this reality, by decreasing the unemployment rate in refugee camps and supporting the Palestinian economy.
Expressing the Welfare Association’s appreciation of its strong partnership with UNRWA, Dr. Al-Jarbawi also stressed the vital role that UNRWA continues to play in providing Palestine refugees with basic services to allow them to lead dignified lives. She also expressed the Association’s appreciation for its strategic partnership with Palestine Education for Employment, and praised its role in the fields of education development and job creation.
A member of the board of Palestine Education for Employment, Dr. Sabri Saidam said: “This agreement that was signed with the Welfare Association will target a great number of young trainees – 1700 – which will go a long way to realising the hopes and ambitions of refugee youth who have suffered from deprivation and negligence. It will also be a great opportunity to build partnerships across organisations with the goal of supporting our youth”.
On the margins of the signing ceremony, the Welfare Association also signed a grant agreement with Palestine Education for Employment where the former will support the latter with USD 372,000 donated by the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development to train 1,500 graduates for the job market. Dr. Al-Jarabawi expressed her thanks to the Arab Fund for its continuous efforts to improve the social and economic conditions of the Palestinian people, particularly youth.
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.
The Welfare Association is an independent non-profit organisation established in 1983 by a group of Palestinian business and intellectual figures to provide development and humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in the Wet Bank including East Jerusalem ,the Gaza Strip,Israel and in Palestinian communities in Lebanon. The Association targets all groups within the Palestinian community, namely children, poor students, and people with disabilities.
Palestinian Education for Employment foundation was launched in 2006, headed by a group of pioneer leaders and businessmen. The organisation believes that when young people feel useful, productive and independent, they help to build stable and prosperous societies. It aims to provide unemployed youth with job skills, and it exerts efforts to develop labour forces and increase the employment rate among youth.
For more information, please contact:
Kazem Abu Khalaf
UNRWA, Public Information Officer
Welfare Association, Media Manager
General Director of Palestine Education for Employment
Mobile: 0544 641 735