Program

 

A.Description of the Organization

Fares Al Arab for Development & Charity Works is a nongovernmental / nonprofit organization established since 2006. The idea of establishment comes from a group of youths who believe in charity and relief work and its role in rising & building the community. The organization, through its strategic plans, could contribute in developing and supporting the Palestinian community by implementing a series of projects & activities.

Fares Al Arab seeks to participate in raising the status of developmental & charitable works in the Gaza Strip through the implementation of development and social charity programs.

Poverty alleviation and Community development are at the core of Fares Al-Arab strategic vision and mission, which is implemented through the Economic Empowerment Program and Relief and Emergency Programm. Also, Fares Al-Arab has a variety of supporting departments such as Procurement, Logistics, Media, Finance, Human Resources and Internal auditing.

B.Gaza Crisis

The Gaza Strip forms an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory.  Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth, with a total area of 365 km2 (45 km long, 2-5 km wide), a population of over 1.8 million and a population growth of 3.37%.

The war on the Gaza Strip on 2014 has resulted in a severe humanitarian crisis. The damages caused by this war far exceed the destruction caused by the previous two wars on 2008 and 2012, with significant civilian causalities, widespread destruction of civilian buildings and infrastructure throughout the Strip and massive displacement of people.  All geographic areas of Gaza were affected by the conflict and destroying Gaza’s economy completely including the economic facilities left which were considered the base of the economy in Gaza.

The conflict and ten years of blockade, and 25 years of movement restrictions have taken their toll on Palestinians living in Gaza. Social services, including health and education, are overstretched by historical weaknesses and new losses. Poverty, food insecurity, and social vulnerability have rocketed as a result of the mass displacement and destruction of the population. Many households in Gaza can no longer live without external assistance, putting additional pressure on the social protection system.

The on-going energy crisis is another challenge that faces the Palestinian people in Gaza Strip, resulting in devastating effects on the water, sanitation and hygiene and health sector.

Due to its densely populated and largely urban environment, all people in Gaza were exposed to the conflict and suffered from damages to vital infrastructure. The infrastructure destruction has left a large number of the Gazan people without food, water, shelters, electricity, and/or medical services.

C.Political Economy of Gaza

Gaza Strip has been facing many political changes since 2006.  A recent report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) states “…even before the latest military operations, Gaza’s local economy was in a state of total collapse,” and “the consequences will be grave for the Palestinian people and their economy.”

Since 2007 and following the blockade imposed by Israel, the situation in the Strip has been one of chronic need, re-development and donor dependency, despite a temporary relaxation of restrictions on movement of people and goods since 2010.

The blockade has effectively cut off access for exports to traditional markets in Israel, transfers to the West Bank and has severely restricted imports. Exports are now down to 2% of 2007 levels.

It is worth mentioning that the age structure in the Gaza Strip is similar to that in many developing countries, where nearly half of the total population is under 14 years oldChildren under 5 years old represent around 18%. In addition to overall population growth, the fact that the Gaza Strip has one of the youngest populations worldwide. 51% of the inhabitants are younger than 18 years. The Gaza Strip has the second-highest share of people aged 0 to 14 years worldwide. Moreover, the ‘youth bulge’ -the ratio of youth (15-29) to the total over-15 population - is exceptionally high, at 53%.

Adding to this, the majority of the Gaza population has lost its productive assets. According to the Palestinian Federation of Industries, 419 businesses and workshops were damaged, with 128 completely destroyed. With limited activity at the commercial crossings and extensive damage to private infrastructure and other productive assets,

The previously mentioned political circumstances did not only affect the economy but also had a disastrous impact on the social life of the people living in Gaza. The studies show an increase in the rate of divorce as a result of the deteriorating economic situation where the husbands are not able to provide the needs of their families and children. At the same time, the results show that the number of girls not getting married is increasing since men are unable to find work opportunities and thus unable to have the marriage expenses which lead them (men) to get married late.

As a result, to the low standards of living, lack of job opportunities and the absence of solutions for their problems, young people in Gaza started using drugs. Many indicators show an increase in the level of drug use in Gaza, especially Tramadol, not only by men but also by women. Even educated people became victims to drug use since they want to run away from their bad reality.

Consequences of the above situations imply that urgent interventions need to be taken to support the Gazans society to be able to survive and to meet the increasing demands for job opportunities, particularly for young people.

 

D.Social Crisis

The economic crisis has badly hit and affected the social structure. The impact can be seen in the following:

  • Divorce and Family problems: Recent studies show an increase in the number of divorce cases among the newly married couples. Results show that the number of spinster women is increasing.
  • Drugs: Studies show an increase in the number of Gazan drug addicts.
  • Illegal immigrations:  Recently the Meditation Sea witnessed the death of hundreds of Palestinian families trying to escape the harsh reality in Gaza. 
  • Child labor: Child labor has spread widely in Gaza. Children in the street selling candies and cigarettes while others offering car wash in Gaza main streets is a common scene.  A recent report show, these children dropped out from schools to find a job. Fathers have psychological or chronic diseases and others are drug addicts.

Consequences of the above situations imply that urgent interventions need to be taken to support the Palestinian people in Gaza Strip.

 

II.PROGRAMME RATIONALE

Despite the Gaza complicated political and economic scene with the unprecedented high rates of unemployment reaching 70 % of youth aged 20-24 in 2014, there are still invaluable opportunities that could be seized to achieve economic growth and development:

  • The fact that the Gaza Strip has one of the youngest populations worldwide and the second-highest share of people aged 0 to 14 years (UN, 2012).
  • The Palestine has a high rate of literacy and education. 
  • The astonishing resilience of the Gazan people and their ability to survive and highly adapt under the harshest circumstances is another exceptional opportunity revealed during the last war on Gaza.

Building upon these opportunities, it is evident that Gaza lacks natural resources, however; it has a fortune of energy, ambitious and active young generation. It is considered the main driver for economic development as potential employees, entrepreneur and active market participants. However, the force of youth collective dynamism and creativity has the potential to direct Gaza Strip towards a better future only if given the opportunity to link their energy with the right skills, competencies required in the Labour Market.  If properly utilized and guided, the capacity building of the Palestinian resources could be the best sustainable economic and social investment leading to long-term positive impact on the economic growth. In order to ease population’s suffering, restore dignity and build resilience, Fares Al-Arab urgent interventions are needed to generate income and employment to the poorest and most affected families through job diversification and working within the framework of the Palestinian Employment Strategy.

Fares Al-Arab raises the issue of economic empowerment and youth employment as its top priority by contributing to reduce the high rates of unemployment and eradicate poverty in Gaza Strip. Fares Al-Arab with both youth males and females, orphans and households of poor families for its economic empowerment interventions. These selected groups will be targeted through diversified job creation interventions, which are:

  1. Cash for work
  2. Entrepreneurship & self-employment
  3. Small enterprises and business startup
  4. Outsourcing & innovation centres  
  5. Vocational training and skills development.

 

III.FARES AL-ARAB STRATEGY & RESPONSE

 

Overall Goal and Objective

Given the current major challenges of the Palestinian and taking into account its social, economic and fiscal burden on the Palestinian people, the need for a comprehensive and coordinated response is becoming a priority for Fares Al-Arab.  In this context, Fares Al-Arab designed a comprehensive programme to respond the Palestinians challenges and needs.

 

Overall goal:

To contribute to Poverty reduction in the Gaza Strip and respond to urgent needs of crisis-affected Palestinian people in Gaza Strip where people can have a decent life and empowered towards long-term development.

 

Strategy of our intervention:

The proposed strategy to achieve the goal and objective is based on:

-Investing in quick-impact interventions for rapid employment creation and support to basic social services, that is  geared towards sustaining stability.

-Transforming the quick-wins into long-term sustainable solutions to contribute poverty alleviation and enhance community resilience, in particular, with regard to enhancing employability, employment creation, and local economic development.

The programme is designed with full consideration of the limited labour market in Gaza Strip and the priority sectors, and that will be addressed during the implementation of the intervention in this program.

 

Specific Objectives andResults 

Specific Objective 1:

To contribute to improving the economic conditions for poor families towards the improvement of livelihoods and basic social services delivery.

Result 1.1: Emergency employment to sustainable livelihoods creation is provided targeting on the unskilled labor from poor and marginalized families.

Result 1.2:  Short-term employment is created targeting unskilled workers, new graduates and women, using labor-incentive schemes and job placement.

Specific Objective 2:

Enhancing youth employability through skills-matching, small business growth and capacity development towards local economic development.

Result 2.1: Demand driven vocational and training support provided to ensure self-reliance and long-term income generating opportunities

Result 2.2:  Micro and Small businesses are promoted towards employment creation, income generation and timely and efficient services delivery.

Result 2.3: Microcredits and grants are provided for business startups and entrepreneurs to create new self-employed businesses.

Specific Objective 3:

To enhance and support women's self-esteem and strengthened their role in the community and economic development.

Result 3.1: High-quality capacity building, skills development, and vocational education programmes are delivered for women to enhance self-employment and business leadership.

Result 3.2: Job placement programme is established and implemented to link and enhance integration of women in the private sector.

Result 3.3: Incubation and microfinance are provided for women and orphans families to develop and improve own resilience.

IV.FUNDING AND INVESTMENT

A funding is required to advance our economic empowerment program, job creation and microcredits, technical excellence, knowledge management and dissemination of learning; leverage organizational experience and skills; build strategic partnerships for influencing; and identify, advance, and scale up innovations emerging Fares Al-Arab and its partners to economically empower youth, women and poor families.

Specific Objective

Result

Budget ($)

  1. To contribute to improving the economic conditions for poor families towards the improvement of livelihoods and basic social services delivery.

 

1.1: Providing emergency employment to sustainable livelihoods creation targeting on the unskilled labour from poor and marginalized families.

1.5 M

1.2: Creation of short-term employment targeting unskilled workers, new graduates and women, using labour-incentive schemes and job placement.

1.5 M

  1. Enhancing youth employability through skills-matching, small business growth and capacity development towards local economic development.

2.1: Demand driven vocational and training support provided to ensure self-reliance and long-term income generating opportunities.

1 M

2.2: Micro and Small businesses are promoted towards employment creation, income generation and timely and efficient services.

1 M

2.3 Microcredits and grants are provided for business startups and entrepreneurs to create new self-employed businesses.

1.5 M

  1. To enhance and support women's self-esteem and strengthened their role in the community and economic development.

3.1:  High-quality capacity building, skills development, and vocational education programmes are delivered for women to enhance self-employment and business leadership.

1 M

3.2: Job placement programme is established and implemented to link and enhance integration of women in the private sector.

0.5 M

3.3: Incubation and microfinance are provided for women and orphans families to develop and improve own resilience.

1 M

Total

9 M

 

V.IMPACT AND SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainability:

Our program and projects are monitored and evaluated by a framework and tools for measuring the impact of economic empowerment across all of our work and interventions. Fares Al-Arab designs its project and initiatives based on the community needs and in-depth analysis of the situation and available resources to provide innovative solutions for addressing the challenges to economic empowerment for our target groups (youth, women, and poor families). We also engage the participation of all stakeholders in all what we do.

Impact:

We work with the target groups in the marginalized areas, factories, farms, businesses and to support them to claim their decent life. We play an active role to establish local partnerships through our engagement with women’s and youth organizations to advocate for change and influence inclusion of wider community in our interventions.

Women:

Women are at the core of the programme as they form the cornerstone in the family, in particular in the poor marginalized area of the Gaza Strip. Women should be empowered to increase their right to economic resources and power to make decisions to benefit themselves, their families and their communities.

The key constraints to enhancing women employment include lack of skills and knowledge, limited control over economic resources and earnings, lower productivity in the sectors that women usually engage in, and lack of access to credit and financial services. Fares Al-Arab main objective to support women’s ability to build financially sustainable, profitable and growing business, with the potential to enter the formal economy, by reaching vulnerable households women.

 

1.Economic Empowerment Project for Women Affected by the War on Gaza Strip

Implementation period: September 2015 – October 2016

Donor: Public Affairs Office of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem

Project description: Empowering affected women from the war on Gaza. 20 women entrepreneurs who were affected during 2014 were trained on how to manage develop and market small projects and provide them with a financial grant to restart their businesses to have the ability to open marketing channels for their projects and acquire the skills and experience that enabled them to improve the quality of their services.

2.Youth Charity Project Grant in the Gaza Strip

Implementation period: 2015 – 2016

Donor: Fares Al-Arab for Development and Charity Works

Project description: The project aims at supporting micro/small projects, 10 projects were selected to benefit from this grant. Accordingly, loans are provided, in addition to a full technical and capacity building support during the period of the project. The project succeeded to alleviate the poverty of the targeted beneficiaries to create their own business, and which contributed to reduce the unemployment of these young people and also help their families to cover their basic living needs.

 

3.BIDAYA Project for Training and Employment of Fresh Graduates

Implementation period: 2007 – 2008

Donor: Islamic Development Bank IDB (Arab Funds Projects)

Project description: The project aims at providing specialized training for 700 fresh graduates. They received 8 months of work and being integrated into the civil and private Palestinian institutions, the project contributed in the sustainable development and allows fresh graduates to have a practical experience. Moreover, it supported Palestinian private institutions and expands the relations of graduates to enable them to obtain permanent jobs. This project has a great impact on refurbishing graduates skills, building their abilities, and obtaining certificates of experience to help them to search for future jobs.

4.Improving the Living Standard for People with Special Needs

Implementation period: 2009 – 2010

Donor: UAE Red Crescent Society  

Project description: The project aims at offering 20 small projects with microfinance for each project for the people with special needs in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs. The project is in line with the integration of people with special needs policy with normal people, to be able to rely on themselves, support their families and generate a fixed income source for their families.