The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) provides assistance, protection and advocacy for some 4.7 million registered Palestine refugees in the Middle East through education, health, relief and social services both in times of stability and conflict. Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, UNRWA was established by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) of December 8, 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programs for Palestine refugees. Originally envisaged as a temporary organization, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2014. UNRWA has five fields of operations: Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza Strip, Syrian Arab Republic, and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Palestine Refugee Women
To promote the advancement of Palestine refugee women as equal partners in the development process, UNRWA adopted in 2007 a Gender Equality policy. In the latter UNRWA acknowledges that "gender equality as well as the promotion and protection of the full enjoyment by women and girls of all human rights and fundamental freedoms are essential to humanitarian activities and advance development, peace and security." UNRWA commits to gender mainstream the services provided to Palestine refugees and to develop targeted interventions to bridge the historical gaps that women and girls faced in terms of empowerment, participation and access to services. The Equality in Action initiative in Gaza is an example of targeted intervention .
In the last years and to implement the policy UNRWA developed strategies to gender mainstream all its programmes (health, education, relief and social services, infrastructure and camp improvement, microfinance and emergency). A policy for gender sensitive human resource management was adopted. All the fields and programmes have biannual gender action plans with regular monitoring and reporting taking place every six months.
Cross fields learning is developed on specific interventions to build capacities and make lessons learned available to the different practitioners in and outside UNRWA. For example UNRWA developed a "Community of practice" document on "building referral system for women victims of violence". As well as a document on using "Creative Problem Solving Approach" to include men in pre-conception care and family planning; part of the services provided by its health programme.
UNRWA also issues a monthly gender bulletin with an update on gender in UNRWA and the region.
Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
For more information, please visit the official UNRWA website.