American Friends of UNRWA representatives join villagers in planting olive trees

06 March 2013

4 March 2013
Jenin, West Bank

Representatives from American Friends of UNRWA (AFU) joined workers from UNRWA’s Job Creation Programme (JCP) in planting olive trees in the West Bank village of Jalqmous near Jenin.

AFU representatives planted olive trees carrying the names of US citizens who have had a record of supporting UNRWA’s humanitarian and human development work.

The participation of AFU in tree planting reflects its continuous support to UNRWA through advocacy and fundraising, the representatives say.

JCP workers planted more than 5,000 trees through the Greening Palestine project, which is jointly implemented by UNRWA and the Ministry of Agriculture. Through the project, JCP put unemployed members of the local community to work planting and maintaining tress, giving them a chance to earn a decent wage to support their families.

The JCP has helped the Jalaqmous village council accomplish many things for the benefit of the local community, including the building of the Mughtaribeen Park, the rehabilitation of the water network and the irrigation system and other public facilities.

Jalaqmous village council head Mohammad Al-Qrim welcomed the visit by AFU representatives. “On behalf of every one in our village, I’d like to express our gratitude to UNRWA for its efforts in decreasing unemployment in Jalaqmus,” he said.

For her part, the executive director of AFU Abby Smardon said that "it‘s so important for American Friends of UNRWA to visit the field so that we can truly understand the needs of the refugees on a human level and provide support to UNRWA‘s vital work in the most effective way possible."

Funded by ECHO, UNRWA’s Job Creation Programme ensures a degree of food security and provides temporary job opportunities to the most vulnerable refugees living in the occupied Palestinian territory with the aim of alleviating high poverty and unemployment levels there. Between January 2012 and September 2012, JCP provided nearly 29,000 short-term employment opportunities for over 13,000 beneficiaries. In 2012, JCP worked with 181 municipalities and village councils and 19 UNRWA camps throughout the West Bank.

America Freinds of UNRWA

American Friends of UNRWA (AFU) is an independent nonprofit that supports the humanitarian and human development work of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) through fundraising, advocacy, and outreach. AFU aims to educate the general American public about the situation of Palestine refugees and generate support for UNRWA‘s work in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.

To learn more, please visit the American Friends of UNRWA website.


Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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