France Supports UNRWA Education with EUR 350K Contribution

16 July 2019
Chief of UNRWA Donor Relations Division Mr. Marc Lassouaoui, UNRWA Director of Education Caroline Pontefract and H.E the French Ambassador to Jordan Mr. David Bertolotti pictured during the official signing ceremony of France’s contribution to UNRWA. © 2019 UNRWA photo by Dania Al-Batayneh.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Republic of France have signed an agreement for a EUR 353,905 contribution to the Agency in support of Palestine refugees. This contribution will support the training and professional development of teachers and the instruction of the French language in UNRWA schools.

Specifically, this contribution will allow for the continuation of existing teachers’ development programmes. This funding will also help to improve existing training tools Lebanon, Jordan and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

In addition, the contribution will enable for the continuation of the UNRWA "Newly Appointed Teachers" (NAT) Programme, launched on October 5, 2018 for the International Teachers' Day. This programme, implemented with support from the French International Centre for Pedagogic Studies (Centre international d’études pédagogiques, CIEP), will provide training for French language instructors in UNRWA schools throughout Lebanon. It will enable teachers to meet the educational requirements of the 21st century by including contemporary pedagogic approaches in the training.

Ambassador of France to Jordan David Bertolotti emphasised that “Given the critical financial situation of UNRWA, France has taken its responsibilities and doubled its contribution to reach EUR 20 million for 2019.” He added, “In a region subject to multiple crises, the role of UNRWA is now more than ever, indispensable, in particular in the field of education. UNRWA schools are an open window to the world and the possibility of a life lived in dignity for hundreds of Palestinian refugee children.”

Expressing his appreciation to the continuous support of France, UNRWA Chief of the Donor Relations Division Marc Lassouaoui said: “The Agency deeply appreciates the steadfast political and financial support that France has provided to UNRWA for years. This new contribution will help UNRWA train its teachers so that quality education continues to be provided in UNRWA schools in the Middle East.” He added, “This project will support UNRWA students across the region and is a reminder that UNRWA is committed to continuing and improving the quality of its services to Palestine refugees with the support of donors such as France.”

This contribution comes at an opportune time, as the Agency continues to face significant challenges to meet its financial requirements through the end of this year. In 2019, UNRWA requires a total of US$ 1.2 billion for its operations in the region, including human development and humanitarian aid service delivery.

France has been a dedicated partner to UNRWA, doubling its contribution for fiscal year 2019, reaching a total of EUR 20 million. UNRWA is deeply grateful for the sustained support of France.

Background Information: 

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals. UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Sami Mshasha
Director of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)258 90724
Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson
+962 (0)79 090 0140