The Welfare Association and UNRWA sign partnership agreement

21 March 2012

20 March 2012
Brussels, Belgium

Fishermen in GazaYouth are the future. The growing proportion of youth within the population of Palestine refugees deserves attention by all stakeholders in order to prepare for future challenges. In recognition of youth’s pivotal role, 350 delegates representing partners and donors to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) have convened in Brussels. They are gathered to address the challenges of engaging Palestine refugee youth and providing education and employment for the new generation of refugees.

The Welfare Association, a leading Palestinian non‐profit, is taking part in the conference as a longtime supporter of the UN agency. At the event, which includes Baroness Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nabil El Araby, Secretary‐General of the Arab League, and Mr. Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority among the keynote speakers, the Welfare Association and UNRWA are formalising and strengthening their partnership.

“This partnership agreement will promote mutual collaboration between our two organizations”, says Director‐General of Welfare Association Dr. Tafeeda Jarbawi upon signing the partnership agreement with UNRWA Commissioner‐General, Mr. Filippo Grandi. “The agreement reflects the shared vision of our two organisations and identifies areas for future co-operation – myself and my team look very much forward to working alongside UNRWA colleagues to improve living conditions for Palestine refugees.”

“The genuine commitment and invaluable support provided to UNRWA by the Welfare Association is a great example of the contribution that the private sector is making to help transforming desperation to hope” said Filippo Grandi, Commissioner-General of UNRWA.

Key areas related to supporting Palestine refugee youth are among the identified fields of co-operation. In particular, the promotion of the extensive education reform UNRWA is implementing to improve student achievement, to advance teacher qualifications and teaching methods, and to
increase employability of students in UNRWA’s 700 schools.

The agreement also singles out joint projects for reconstruction in Gaza and UNRWA’s other four
areas of operation, for health projects in refugee camps in Lebanon, and partnering for the
preservation of UNRWA’s historic audio‐visual archive.

Background information

UNRWA Engaging Youth conference
Brussels, 19 and 20 March 2012. With the support of the European Union and the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium, UNRWA is hosting a conference for its key stakeholders and partners. The conference will address the particular challenges relating to youth programmes and serve to strengthen the strategic thinking of UNRWA programming related to youth.

The Welfare Association
The Welfare Association is an independent non‐profit organization established in 1983 by a group of Palestinian business and intellectual figures to provide development and humanitarian assistance to Palestinians.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees
UNRWA provides assistance, protection and advocacy for nearly five million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory, pending a solution to their plight. The Agency’s services encompass education, health care, social safety‐net, camp
infrastructure and improvement, community support, microfinance and emergency response, including in times of armed conflict. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by contributions from States. The Agency’s core budget for 2012‐2013 stands at USD 1.33 billion. In 2012, emergency appeals for
the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon amounted to USD 344.0 million.

For further information please contact:

Welfare Association
Dr Tafeeda Jarbawi
Director General
Office: +970 2 2415 130

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724

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 more than US$ 106  million.

For more information, please contact:

Gaza Emergency 1