UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator Yvonne Helle following the signing ceremony with H.E. Dr Mohammed Zeyara, Minister of Public Works and Housing and Mr Matthias Schmale, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza

Gaza Strip, 27 February 2020 – With support from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP/PAPP) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) signed an additional US$10 million agreement for house reconstruction and repair in the Gaza Strip project. This fourth amendment brings the total SFD contribution to US$81.5 million, benefiting approximately 13,466 families from the Gaza Strip.

The ceremony was attended by H.E. Dr Mohammed Zeyara, Minister of Public Works and Housing; Mr Matthias Schmale, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza, and UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator Ms Yvonne Helle.

“We are grateful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Fund for Development for the ongoing funds that helped more Palestinians in the Gaza Strip restore their homes and livelihoods,” said H.E. Dr Mohammed Zeyara, Minister of Public Works and Housing. “We are proud of the strong partnership between the Palestinian Government and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we will facilitate the implementation of the project with our partners UNDP and UNRWA,” he added.

The US$10 million contribution will cover the rehabilitation and reconstruction of about 272 totally damaged houses for Palestinian non-refugees affected by the 2014 hostilities in the Gaza Strip. The self-help modality will be used during the project, where families will be provided with support to rebuild their homes and indirectly improve their livelihoods. The programme will prioritize female-headed households and will take into consideration family size and current socio-economic status of targeted population.

Thus far, around 13,194 homes (11,913 partial, 389 severe and 892 totally damaged) were rebuilt with support from the Government of Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Fund for Development, in addition to the rehabilitation and furnishing of six playgrounds, one cultural centre, and three non-governmental schools.

“We are very grateful for the support extended by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Fund for Development, and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP/PAPP), to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of totally damaged houses for Palestinian non-refugees affected by the 2014 hostilities in the Gaza Strip. This is just one of many examples of the strategic nature of our partnership with SFD and UNDP and our mutual commitment of supporting the Palestinians and improving their livelihoods in Gaza.” said Mr Matthias Schmale, the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza. “Our sincere thanks go to everybody involved in funding, planning, implementing and leading this project to hopefully a successful and speedy completion, which will provide long awaited homes to several Palestinian families,” added Mr Schmale.

UNDP will make available its technical resources to implement the project activities. UNRWA will administer the grant and be involved in monitoring of the project, based on its vast experience in the Gaza Strip.

During the ceremony, Ms Yvonne Helle, UNDP Special Representative said “What is unique about UNDP’s approach, is that we are implementing a self-help modality. Under our technical supervision, the beneficiary is given funds to reconstruct her or his own home.  This modality engages the families directly in controlling the process of reconstructing their new homes and live a dignified life.  It is the people that are at the centre of the process, not only as recipient of the house.”

It is worth noting that over 8,500 people are still displaced from previous hostilities in the Gaza Strip and continue to live in precarious conditions including unrepaired damaged houses, caravans, tents and makeshift shelters. As the contribution of the Saudi Fund for Development continues for the fifth year, UNDP was able to rehabilitate 42 percent of the partially damaged housing unit, and 32 percent of the totally damaged housing units resulted from the 2014 hostilities in Gaza.

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