West Bank education recovery plan launches
A donor launch for UNRWA’s education recovery plan took place at Shu’fat Girls School in Jerusalem on 31 October.
The event highlighted the work the Agency is carrying out as part of the comprehensive recovery plan, which UNRWA’s West Bank education programme has been developing since June 2009. The plan focuses on reforms in such foundational areas as curricula, teaching methods and remedial education. It also more broadly addresses school management, community participation and child well-being. It will ultimately allow the Agency to better educate, protect and enrich the lives of the more than 56,000 UNRWA school children in the West Bank.
The launch was organised in coordination with the French Consulate and was placed within the context of ‘Saturdays – a Day of Learning and Fun’, which is a key element of the recovery plan. Donors were encouraged to bring their families to attend and participate in the various student recreational activities.
The Director of UNRWA Operations, the French Consul-General, UNESCO and the Chief of the Education Programme gave brief speeches about the importance of education in the West Bank and the need to work together to improve declining educational standards.
During the event, donors and other UN agencies were able to see first-hand UNRWA’s remedial classes and recreational activities in the school. For children, the organisation’s Right to Play and Peace Players organised sports and dancing activities. The G-Town rap group also featured, playing a hit song about the importance of education to children. The song will be recorded and broadcast on local radios.
UNRWA’s activities under the recovery plan focus on key areas of child well-being and violence-free schools, remedial education, and community participation.
One exciting future activity will be an inter-schools sports tournament, which is planned to be held across the West Bank in 2009-2010. Youth and community representatives will be invited to work with UNRWA teachers to train the school teams in basketball and volleyball. School teams will play off at area level and semi-finals and finals will be held across the West Bank. These sports tournaments will also provide an opportunity for children from different parts of the West Bank to meet and play.
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.
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