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Germany contributes EUR 28 million to support digital transformation of UNRWA education and health programmes, as well as camp improvement interventions in Gaza and Jordan
On 22 July and 11 August, respectively, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) signed two financing agreements for a total amount of EUR 28 million provided by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through KfW Development Bank.
EUR 13 million is provided to support the digitalization of the UNRWA health and education programmes to improve access, quality and a more efficient delivery of health and education to Palestinian refugees. The project will fund the implementation of a new health management information system and the development of an Agency-wide online learning management system for basic education students. Furthermore, it will contribute to expand internet access for Palestine refugee students in UNRWA schools in Jordan and Gaza.
In addition, EUR 15 million is provided in support of the construction, extension and rehabilitation of social, economic and environmental infrastructure in Khan Younis Camp and Deir el Balah camps in the Gaza Strip, as well as in Jerash and Marka camps in Jordan. In Gaza, this phase of the Regional Programme for Improving the Living Conditions of Palestine Refugees in Camps (REPAC) will see the construction of new buildings to re-house families to improve their living conditions, reduce crowdedness and allow for road upgrades and the development of green and recreational spaces as prioritized during participatory urban planning processes with the respective camp communities. In Jordan, several camp improvement interventions will be implemented in line with community priorities, in addition to the construction and rehabilitation of two UNRWA schools.
On the signing of the two agreements, Dr. Anne-Sophie Beckedorf, acting Head of the German Representative Office in Ramallah, said: “Germany continues its support for Palestine refugees and remains a reliable partner for UNRWA. UNRWA services provide an essential lifeline for vulnerable Palestinians and are therefore essential to maintain the stability in the region.”
“Germany has been one of UNRWA’s most reliable and generous partners for many years, with KfW as implementing partner, especially in the areas of camp improvement and infrastructure works which have a profound and sustainable impact on Palestine refugee communities. The new digitalization project will support the development of online health management and learning systems and is a significant component of the Agency’s overall digitalization strategy and an important step in the direction of future collaboration between UNRWA and Germany,” said Karim Amer, UNRWA Director of Partnerships.
Germany is the second-largest bilateral donor to UNRWA, having contributed EUR 150 million in 2021. The enduring support of Germany helps UNRWA to continue to provide its essential services to Palestine refugees and to improve their living conditions.
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 5.7 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.
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