Cutting edge UNRWA IT Hub in Blockaded Gaza Strip

28 March 2022
(From left) UNRWA Deputy Commissioner-General Leni Stenseth and CIO and Director of UNRWA Information Management and Technology Department Kaan Cetinturk meet with a staff member at the relaunch of the UNRWA Information Technology Service Centre (ITSC) at its modernized offices in Gaza today. © 2022 UNRWA Photo by Mohammed Hinnawi

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) celebrated the relaunch of the UNRWA Information Technology Service Centre (ITSC) at its modernized offices in Gaza today. UNRWA Deputy Commissioner-General Leni Stenseth, Chief Information Officer and Director of the Information Management and Technology Department, Kaan Cetinturk, Director of Partnerships, Karim Amer, and Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza, Thomas White, attended the ceremony.

In line with the Agency’s modernization and innovation strategy, the newly re-opened centre features cutting edge information technology (IT) services and provides efficient IT solutions across the Agency’s five fields of operations, and to United Nations agencies worldwide. Services offered include: web and mobile application development, software quality assurance, UI/UX design, cyber security, cloud computing, data science, project management, and service desk.

"The UNRWA IT Service Centre has become the largest IT employer in Gaza, thus contributing to the livelihood opportunities in the Gaza Strip. The establishment of the Service Centre is also very much in line with the Agency’s strategic goal to modernize and digitally transform its services, business processes, and information management systems. It is very exciting to think of this IT centre as a small Silicon Valley in Gaza!" said Deputy Commissioner-General Leni Stenseth.

Having a state-of-the-art IT hub comes in line with the Agency’s aim to empower the digital generation of Palestine refugees in Gaza. “Gaza is full of skilled, educated, and passionate IT graduates. This IT Service Centre has created a huge opportunity to tap into the potential of youth in Gaza and strengthen their capabilities. By investing in the human capital of Palestine refugees, UNRWA actively contributes to the realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We need support from all our donors and the private sector to be part of this successful journey,” said Mr. Cetinturk.

Through its partnership with the United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC), UNRWA became a provider of IT services to the UNICC technical team. Since the establishment in 2020, the Centre has grown 20 times its original size, with 120 employees today.