What We Do

The UNRWA Department of Microfinance provides sustainable income-generation opportunities for Palestine refugees, as well as other poor or marginalised groups who live and work near them.

Products & services

The UNRWA Department of Microfinance has developed a range of loans to address the diverse needs of Palestine refugees and other marginal groups. Loan products target households as well as small businesses and micro-enterprises, financing consumption and family investments in education, health, and housing.

Small-scale enterprise lending (SSE)

This is the Department of Microfinance‘s oldest product, aimed directly at furthering economic development and creating jobs. The loans are relatively large, ranging from US$ 3,000 to US$ 75,000, and typically support capital investment, modernization and market expansion. The department now increasingly focuses on its other lending products.

Women’s household credit (WHC)

This product is an adaptation of the Solidarity Group Lending product, home-based project allowing women, to build up household assets through income-generating activities. First piloted in Syria, the women’s household credit (WHC) is an individual lending product. ,. In 2017, loan amounts ranged between US$ 200 to US $3,000 paid in repayment period between 4 and 24 months.

Microenterprise credit (MEC)

This product targets the overwhelming majority of regional businesses that employ fewer than five workers, most of whom have no access to formal credit and are vulnerable to shocks. MEC loans, which range from US$ 300 to US$ 8,500, help such businesses build up and maintain reserves of short-term working capital.

Microenterprise credit plus (MEC+)

As successful micro-enterprises mature, they often require larger loans with extended repayment periods to continue expanding their capital and increase employment. To meet this demand, we provide MEC+ loans to borrowers who have demonstrated repayment ability over three loan cycles and to more formal enterprises. This product is a significant element in our growth in the West Bank and Jordan and is also available in Gaza.

Mubadarati – Youth Startup Loan (YSL)

In 2012, UNRWA launched an innovative new loan product for youth called Mubadarati. These loans are available to young men and women aged 18-30 to start new businesses that create self-employment and employment for others. Originally launched in the West Bank and Gaza, the product is also available in Jordan and Syria. Mubadarati is the first youth start-up loan product of its kind in the region.

Consumer loan product (CLP)

This is a personal loan for working-class families that have no access to bank credit. It is intended to help them build household assets, pay for education and household services, while helping low-income clients recover household assets sold to cope with unemployment, ill health, or one-off social outlays, like weddings and funerals. The loan ceiling is three times the client’s monthly salary.

Housing loan product (HLP)

This is a loan to help families with no access to mortgage facilities to improve, expand or acquire housing. Loan values range from US$ 3,000 to US$ 15,000 and maturities from 18 to 36 months. The HLP was successfully piloted in Gaza in 2006 and was extended to the West Bank in 2008. Lack of capital has prevented extension into Jordan and Syria.

Start-Your-Business Loan Product (SYBL)

The department's newest loan product established in 2017 aims directly at providing start-up loans ranging from SYP 30,000 to SYP 600,000 (approximately US$ 70 - US$ 1,380) to encourage micro-entrepreneurs, of more than 30 years of age, in establishing their businesses in Syria. Repayment periods fall between 6 and 30 months.

Small and medium enterprise business training (SMET)

The department runs a training programme for small-business owners in Gaza, offering them customized training in subjects such as book-keeping, taxation, computing and e-commerce. The direct costs of each course are paid by the participants, with donor grants covering remaining overheads. Since 1995, 28,318 persons have participated in 1,333 courses and workshops.