“COMMUNITY GREENING” INITIATIVE: UNRWA AND THE EUROPEAN UNION OPEN FIRST SCHOOL GARDEN IN JORDAN

28 March 2023
UNRWA students at Hussein Co-Ed School 1&2 in Jordan plant olive trees with Butros Janho, Acting Deputy Director of Operations of UNRWA and H.E. Maria Hadjitheodosiou, EU Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, at their new school garden funded by the EU. © 2023 UNRWA Photo by Louise Wateridge

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AMMAN,

Today, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) opened a European Union (EU)- funded school garden at the UNRWA Hussein Co-Ed School 1&2 in Hussein Camp, Jordan. The ceremony brought together Butros Janho, Acting Deputy Director of Operations of UNRWA, H.E. Maria Hadjitheodosiou, EU Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Palestine Refugee students from UNRWA Hussein Co-Ed School 1&2 School. 

Sara, a 14-year-old student from UNRWA Hussein Co-Ed School 1&2 School, said, "We like the new benches, plants, the waterfall, the swing and the bright colors - it has become such a beautiful area in our school. We feel comfortable here and enjoy lessons that are related to the environment. Now we sometimes eat breakfast here together," she added. 

Today’s garden opening continues the EU UNRWA “community greening” initiative which aims to transform outdoor spaces in several UNRWA installations. The project is designed to foster inclusion and create spaces for the Palestine refugee community to gather. The initiative has produced, restored and preserved green spaces, while simultaneously encouraging environmental awareness, nutritional education and relaxation, encourage recycling, increase physical and outdoor activity, stimulate social interaction and beautify neighborhoods.  

Acting Deputy Director of Operations Butros Janho said, “We are thrilled this initiative has encouraged children from Hussein Camp to take responsibility for their school playground and enhance their environmental awareness. With EU support, the students, teachers and community have come together to transform a once desolate space into a safe and enjoyable place in the community where children can now play and learn,” he added.

"The garden is considered a success story. We were able to beautify the space with the help of students, parents and the local community, who worked together with love. The garden has become a safe area for students to feel happy and parents have expressed their admiration, continuing to support the garden by bringing more plants. It has been great to recycle items like car tires," said Ms Randa Zaidan, School Principal UNRWA Hussein Co-Ed School 1&2 School. 

El-Hussein Camp in Amman has more than 33,835 registered Palestine refugees. UNRWA offers a number of services to registered Palestine refugees both inside and outside of El-Hussein Camp, including education, health, relief and social services, and infrastructure and camp improvement. There are three UNRWA schools with 1,764 students in grades 1-10 and 65 educational staff members and one UNRWA health centre which serves approximately 54,971 people.

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Notes to Editors 

  • Hussein camp in Amman has more than 33,835 registered Palestine refugees and offers few green areas for children to play safely. UNRWA offers a number of services to registered Palestine refugees both inside and outside the camp, including education, health, relief and social services, and infrastructure and camp improvement.  
  • There are three UNRWA schools with 1,764 students in grades 1-10,  65 educational staff members and one UNRWA health centre, which serves approximately 54,971 people. 
  • The EU UNRWA “community greening” initiative includes school gardens, health centres and community areas across all five fields of UNRWA operation, namely Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. In many areas within UNRWA operation, Palestine refugees are exposed to violence, conflict and displacement.  
  • Since 1971, the strategic partnership between the European Union and UNRWA has been based on the shared objective of supporting the human development, humanitarian and protection needs of Palestinian refugees and to promoting stability in the Middle East. 
  • Today, the EU is the largest multilateral provider of international assistance to Palestine refugees.  
  • Collectively, the EU and its Member States are also among the largest contributors to the Agency's humanitarian emergency appeals and projects in response to various crises and specific needs across the region. 
  • In 2021, the EU signed a Joint Declaration and the first multi-annual financial commitment in support of UNRWA for the period 2021-2024, marking 50 years of partnership. In the Joint Declaration, the EU commits to continue supporting UNRWA politically and in securing predictable, multi-annual financial resources to enable the Agency to fulfil its mandate and provide its essential services to Palestinian refugees. 
Background Information: 

UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The United Nations General Assembly established UNRWA in 1949 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.

UNRWA operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, The Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. 

Tens of thousands of Palestine refugees who lost their homes and livelihoods due to the 1948 conflict continue to be displaced and in need of support, nearly 75 years on.

UNRWA helps Palestine Refugees achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance, and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.

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