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German Financial Cooperation With UNDP

The Employment Generation Programme in the Palestinian Territory

By Marc Engelhardt

In 2002, KfW Development Bank and UNDP/PAPP joined efforts to combat rising levels of poverty and unemployment and improve the overall socio-economic conditions in the Palestinian territories by launching the Employment Generation Programme (EGP). Initially designed as a relief program in support of the Palestinian people, the EGP matured over its twenty years of operation into a significant development program that makes a tangible impact at the local level. To date, eleven phases of the program have been financed by the German government through KfW with over EUR 100 million (US$ 117,481,203).

During this time, the EGP has generated numerous short-term jobs, corresponding to more than 1.37 million workdays, as well as more than 2,200 permanent jobs. Further positive impact has come from interventions that have expanded the physical infrastructure of basic services for more than 500,000 direct and indirect beneficiaries from marginalized and vulnerable communities. With the construction and rehabilitation of 766 individual infrastructure projects, coupled with the provision of equipment and capacity building, the EGP has significantly contributed to an improvement of local services throughout the Palestinian territory. The EGP invested in a variety of social and economic sub-sectors such as healthcare, education, community development, social cohesion, and inclusion.

Based on the vast experience gained through the EGP, the Government of Germany, engaging via KfW, and UNDP/PAPP have renewed their long-standing partnership in a new program titled Investment Programme for Resilience (IPR). Launched in 2021, the IPR has built on the good practices, key achievements, and lessons learnt from the EGP. While it continues to support the rehabilitation and/or expansion of small-scale community infrastructure, IPR explicitly aims to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities by building the capacity of local partners in managing reliable social services.

Hellen Keller School. ©UNDP/PAPP –Zakaria Abu Al Halaweh

Sub-sectors backed by the EGP and results achieved

 To support healthcare, the EGP has provided critical support through the rehabilitation of hospitals and the improvement of medical services, which has benefited a wide array of healthcare institutions, such as the East Jerusalem Hospital Network (EJHN), which provide medical treatment for patients from the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Under the last phase, major health hubs were supported, including Makassed Hospital, Princess Basma Hospital, and Saint Joseph Hospital in Jerusalem, Ahli Arab Hospital and Al Karama Specialized Hospital in Gaza, and the Palestinian Red Crescent.

The EGP also assisted various centers for persons with disabilities, providing essential rehabilitation and education services, including special education, psychosocial and mental health support, physiotherapy, speech therapy, and social work, and offering vocational training and income opportunities.

The education program has supported numerous schools and kindergartens in under-served communities, especially in East Jerusalem, Area C of the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. These investments have proven highly valuable as they improve the learning environment and provide safe and protected spaces for children. The program has also supported the construction of various vocational training centers, thereby providing market-relevant skills in a variety of vocations and strengthening the employability of young women and men. In addition, fifteen centers with a prime focus on people with special needs were built during this time.

Aiming to strengthen livelihoods and support the Palestinian economy, EGP’s investments focused on the rehabilitation and/or expansion of economic infrastructure such as shops, workshops, industrial incubators, and other related facilities. EGP’s support to economic infrastructure helps preserve small Palestinian businesses, such as in the old city of Hebron.

The EGP’s focus on the rehabilitation of Hebron’s historical center, as part of its contribution to economic development and cultural heritage preservation, is another impactful story worth telling. Through its local implementing partner, Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC), and together with civil society actors and the Palestinian Authority, the EGP has renovated the interiors of 183 shops as well as a Turkish bath in Khan Shaheen to preserve cultural heritage that may also serve as tourist attractions. Furthermore, the program restored 96 homes and rehabilitated a school and a healthcare facility. Overall, EUR 2.8 million have been provided for such rehabilitation interventions.

Because access to quality social services is critical in efforts to strengthen the resilience of Palestinian communities and foster inclusive and sustainable development, EGP’s support also extended to a variety of facilities that provide services to the local community. Thus, the EGP has constructed or rehabilitated youth and sports facilities, women’s associations and community centers, sports clubs and playgrounds.

Last but not least, it is worth mentioning EGP’s support to water projects that include the installation of thousands of meters of water lines, the establishment of water connections for more than 1,500 families, and the construction of 14 water reservoirs of varying capacities. Altogether, these EGP-supported water infrastructure investments have enhanced the access to and the availability of potable water that is both safe and dependable.

Financial Cooperation with the Palestinian Territories

 KfW is one of the world’s leading and most experienced promotional banks. As an integral part of the KfW Group, KfW Development Bank carries out Germany’s financial cooperation with developing and emerging countries on behalf of the federal government. The staff at its head office in Germany and in about seventy local offices cooperate with partners all over the world.

In the Palestinian territories, KfW Development Bank is involved in promoting employment, education, the water sector, and municipal development on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). KfW also supports the improvement of social and economic infrastructure in Palestinian refugee camps in the Palestinian territories and the neighboring countries.

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