Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy in
Conflict-Affected Contexts Programme
UNICEF State of Palestine
2014 Annual Report
For nearly 48 years, the civilian population in the State of Palestine (SoP) has suffered continued violence, displacement, dispossession and deprivation as a result of prolonged Israeli occupation and ongoing conflict. Despite efforts made by the international community to alleviate human suffering and meet the most urgent needs, the humanitarian situation for specific population groups in the SoP has continued to deteriorate in recent years, especially in the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank, which are under both the military and administrative control of Israel.1 In particular, Palestinian children have been heavily affected by the presence of Israeli occupation forces, settlers and checkpoints ever since the occupation began in 1967. The protracted occupation has posed daily challenges and threats to the fulfilment of children's rights, including their rights to survival, growth and development, as well as education.
The most recent example of the unrelenting predicament in the SoP is the Gaza War, which broke out on 7 July 2014. The scale of destruction, devastation and displacement was unprecedented in Gaza, since at least the start of the Israeli occupation. Children have been disproportionally represented among the numbers of civilian deaths. Of particular concern, however, is the lasting impact on children who have experienced losses and witnessed the violence. According to a situation report issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in July 2014, at least 116,000 children whose families had experienced death, injury or loss of homes were in need of specialized psychosocial support.
There has been a growing sense of powerlessness and hopelessness that has contributed to tension and insecurity, as well as to a rise in the number of intra-family conflicts, domestic violence, and school and community violence. With the passage of time, such violence and internal conflict have become accepted social norms within Palestinian society, resulting in a deterioration of social cohesion, which is the focus of the activities under the PBEA programme in the SoP since it began in 2013. To date, the results achieved through the implementation of activities under the PBEA programme are as follows:
Under Country-level Outcome 1, the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and Situation Analysis (SitAn) of UNICEF SoP were developed and finalized, incorporating the view of conflict-sensitive analysis in 2013. Under Country-level Outcome 2, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE) was successfully supported to nationally implement the Non-Violence in School policy, which was developed with support from UNICEF and launched in 2013. Nearly 700 school counsellors received training on peer mediation techniques, which were then passed on to targeted students in government schools. Correspondingly, more than 130 child-led initiatives were carried out to promote a zero tolerance of violence in school.
Through activities under Country-level Outcome 3, more than 2,000 adolescents have been equipped with the knowledge and skills to lead and participate in constructive community initiatives in marginalized areas such as East Jerusalem, Gaza and Hebron. Likewise, through activities under Country-level Outcome 4, more than 90 early learning teachers have increased skills in early childhood development (ECD) and supporting pro-social behaviour. Correspondingly, approximately 2,300 preschool-age children and about 1,300 first-grade children have increased access to pro-social and developmentally appropriate early learning opportunities.
An analysis of social cohesion in East Jerusalem was completed and finalized in 2013 under Country-level Outcome 5. To further strengthen the programme, a plan has been put in place to conduct a Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) survey in order to produce a national-level baseline for the future planning and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of UNICEF Learning for Development (L4D) projects, including the PBEA programme.
This annual report describes the results achieved under the PBEA programme in the SoP in 2014, along with the challenges encountered and lessons learned.
1 The 'Oslo II implementation agreements' of 1995 divided the West Bank — the largest part of Palestine — into three zones (Areas 'A', B' and 'C') with shared Palestinian-Israeli control in two of them, but with Israel remaining in total control of Area C. The latter comprises 60 per cent of the West Bank and is an arrangement still in place today. Some 350,000 Israeli settlers live in 135 settlements and 100 outposts in Area C, and 70 per cent of Area C territory has been allocated as land for their expansion. In all, less than 1 per cent of Area C is available for Palestinian Development (UNICEF State of Palestine, Situation Analysis of Palestinian Children in the State of Palestine 2013 (Draft)', December 2012).