Jerusalem – 06 May 2013 – In a concerted effort to combat poverty in the occupied Palestinian territory, and under the auspices of H.E. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launch the second phase of the Deprived Families Economic Empowerment Programme (DEEP) generously funded by Arab Funds through the Islamic Development Bank for the amount of USD 50 million.
DEEP has changed the lives of thousands of Palestinian households by supporting them to become self-employed through seed capital, technical assistance, and micro-finance. It was also able to contribute over USD 20 million per year to Palestinian GDP during the past five years.
Through the first phase of the programme, DEEP was able to directly empower almost Palestinian families, 47 percent of whom are women headed households, and generate sustainable employment to over 12,000. The second phase of this flagship programme will reach approximately 8000 poor families in Gaza and West Bank including East Jerusalem. H.E. Prime Minister Fayyad highlighted that the programme is in line with the State of Palestine’s vision for a better future and that empowerment is a key component to the state building agenda and in meeting the needs of the Palestinian people. “We thank the IDB and UNDP for their longstanding support and welcome the establishment of the endowment fund and the institutionalization of the programme as a tool in the national strategy for social protection” he added.
The success of the programme encouraged other donors to partner with UNDP in reducing poverty in the occupied Palestinian territory. In addition to the IDB, the programme is also financed by the governments of Japan, New Zealand, and Sweden; who is currently providing specialized business development and promoting the inclusion of women entrepreneurs in business. These contributions increased the DEEP programme budget to reach around USD 121 million.
During this phase, UNDP and the Ministry of Social Affairs will work together to ensure the scaling up of the programme out of the piloting stage. In addition, it will build and develop public social services at the district level to enable a stronger social protection network for vulnerable yet productive households.
“The programme reflects the Ministry’s strategy that aims at graduating families out of poverty to empowerment and self-reliance,” said H.E. Majida Al Masri, Minister of Social Affairs. “Our community is in dire need of such successful partnerships that result in a positive impact on people’s livelihoods, especially the poor and marginalized. This is truly a success story that we as Palestinians are proud of “ she added.
While continuing micro enterprise development for individual households, DEEP will also introduce new approaches to promote partnerships for doing business with the poor at firm level. This will involve small and medium size business startups, where groups of unemployed, yet skilled workers are given the chance to operate and own profitable production facilities.
Representing the IDB, Mr Mazen Sonokrot emphasized the importance of this programme to the IDB and its partners and announced that steps will be taken to ensure the sustainability of the programme through the establishment of an endowment fund.
UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, Mr Frode Mauring assured the Palestinian Authority and the IDB that their vision for this programme is on the right track, and that DEEP has surpassed its objectives as a pilot and model for poverty reduction. “We are already exporting this Palestinian success to countries like Somalia, Comoros, Libya, and Sudan”, said Mr Mauring. “UNDP is committed to providing all the necessary support and resources to build the foundation upon which this programme will be handed over to our national partners,” he added.
Furthermore, DEEP will explore innovative ways to bridge the gap between large enterprises and micro producers by enabling and developing the capacities of agricultural, food processing and service cooperatives to become active in the supply chains of exporters and large service providers at the local and regional levels.
The launching ceremony was held on Monday 06 May 2013 at the Grand Park Hotel in Ramallah in the presence of H.E. Prime Minister Dr Salam Fayyad, Majida Al Masri, Minister of Social Affairs, H.E Mohamed Abu Ramadan, Minister of Planning, Mazen Sonokrot representative of IDB, Frode Mauring, UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator and representatives from the donor and NGO communities.
It is worth noting that according to Palestinian Labour force statistics, among the 230,000 households that live below the poverty line in the occupied Palestinian territory, approximately 65 percent have sufficient human and productive capitals to operate profitable economic activities. If given the appropriate level of business development services and access to finance, these families can achieve successful and sustainable graduation from poverty.
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Document Sources: Islamic Development Bank, UNDP Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Country: Japan, New Zealand, Sweden
Subject: Assistance, Economic issues, Living conditions, Poverty
Publication Date: 06/05/2013