The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development through the Islamic Development Bank signs groundbreaking agreement to build schools in Gaza

05 December 2011

5 December 2011

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development acting through the Islamic Development Bank have signed an agreement worth US$ 9,550,000 to construct five new schools in the Gaza Strip. The agreement was signed in Amman between the Director of the IDB’s Trust Funds Department, Mr Mansour Bin Feten, and Mr Peter Ford, Representative of the UNRWA Commissioner-General.

Education forms the Agency’s largest programme and UNRWA currently educates more than 218,000 refugee students across 243 schools in the Gaza Strip. About 94 per cent of the schools are run on a double-shift basis and the average class size in Gaza is 38.5 pupils. These five new schools will go a significant way towards easing the overcrowding that is endemic in Gaza’s schools, and which has begun to negatively impact on academic attainment levels.

Among the five schools funded by the Kuwait Fund is a groundbreaking, pilot “environmental zero impact” school, designed by the Italian architecture firm, Mario Cucinella Architects, which will be showcased by UNRWA at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Durban, South Africa. It is hoped that the green school concept will be rolled out more widely across the Gaza Strip in the coming years.

Commenting on the agreement, Mr Filippo Grandi, UNRWA Commissioner-General, underlined that: “UNRWA is delighted to have signed this agreement to build five schools in Gaza. Education remains the key intervention for the Agency in Gaza and we are most grateful that the Kuwait Fund has come on board to help us meet our goals for Palestine refugee children. This contribution is the first-ever agreement between UNRWA and the Kuwait Fund, acting through the Islamic Development Bank, one of the Agency’s most valued partners, and we are confident that this marks the start of a long and fruitful relationship. We are particularly pleased that the Kuwait Fund and the IDB have decided to fund the pilot green school, an exciting and groundbreaking initiative for the Agency.”

Established in 1961, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development assists Arab and other developing countries in developing their economies by providing loans, guarantees, grants, technical assistance, and contributing to capital stocks of international and regional development finance institutions and other development institutions.

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For more information please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
[email protected]

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724
[email protected]

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 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank 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:

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