The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) thanks the Valladolid Regional Government, in Spain, for a generous contribution of EUR 12,662 (US$ 17,304). The latest funds from Valladolid will help UNRWA combat gender-based violence (GBV) in the Gaza Strip, as part of the Agency’s ‘Equality in Action’ initiative.
The project, ‘Prevention of and Protection from Gender-Based Violence in the Gaza Strip’, fills an important need. Various forms of GBV affect women throughout Gaza. Although data is limited, studies confirm that 58 per cent of women have suffered psychological maltreatment, while 23 per cent reported physical abuse and nearly 12 per cent reported sexual abuse. Most survivors do not report their situation to the authorities, as they lack the resources to use the legal system or fear being abandoned by their families.
The UNRWA project aims to inform and train the population about GBV while providing comprehensive assistance. The support from Valladolid will enable 41 Palestine refugees – men, women and youth – to attend focus groups about gender issues, equality and violence.
In addition, 55 Palestine refugees will be referred to UNRWA health centres and social services to receive psychological, legal, social and health care assistance. Fourteen workers will be trained to provide them with professional sensitive attendance.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 65 million.