UNRWA Partners with the Norwegian Refugee Council and Right to Play to Support the Psychosocial Needs of Palestine Refugee Children

03 August 2017
Participants enjoy training on the ‘UNRWA Psychosocial Support Recreational Activities Resource Guide’. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Heba Al Akasheh.

From 17 to 20 July, UNRWA, in partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Right to Play, held a workshop in Amman for around 50 UNRWA education staff to mark the beginning of an Agency-wide capacity-building programme for teachers, school counsellors and community members across Syria, Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan and Lebanon to strengthen the common understanding of the Agency’s inclusive education approach to psychosocial support (PSS) for its students, both in regular times and in times of emergencies.  

The workshop was a positive example of partnership in action, with UNRWA, Right to Play and NRC each sharing and building on their mutual experiences in the area of providing psychosocial support in emergencies. Participants welcomed the opportunity to learn more about the Agency’s wide range of tools, as well as the Norwegian Refugee Council’s ‘Better Learning Programme’ in Gaza, which helps children who are suffering from nightmares. Right to Play supported the training on the UNRWA Psychosocial Support Recreational Activities Resource Guide, actively engaging all of the participants in the recreational activities to demonstrate their positive impact.  

The UNRWA Director of Education, Dr. Caroline Pontefract, emphasized, “Children need psychosocial support at all times, but even more so in emergency contexts.” She added, “The Psychosocial Support for UNRWA Schools Conceptual Framework dovetails with the Agency’s overall Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Framework to help school counsellors and educators foster inclusive learning environments and better understand students’ psychosocial needs and how to address them.” 

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:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724
Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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