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Global Communities in West Bank & Gaza

Global Communities in the West Bank & Gaza
Since 1994, Global Communities has successfully managed around 21 major programs in the West Bank and Gaza, primarily focusing on: community basic infrastructure development and emergency job creation; local democratic reform and good governance promotion; food aid and emergency livelihoods support; enhancement of community services, including youth programming; and development finance.

During this time, Global Communities has operated in varied political, security, and economic situations and has been successful in adapting to the ever-changing environment, remaining continually responsive and effective in meeting the needs of the Palestinian people, the government, and international donors. Global Communities’ ability to adapt effectively is due to the vast pool of institutional knowledge it has developed throughout 19 years of experience in the West Bank & Gaza. Global Communities has acquired expertise in multiple fields and continually leverages its knowledge and builds on common synergies to further enhance programs.

Brief introduction to Global Communities in the West Bank & Gaza through the eyes of Lana Abu Hijleh, Country Director
Global Communities started work in the West Bank and Gaza under the name CHF International from the early nineties. We have now achieved 19 years of sustainable assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, working in a variety of sectors.

In 1992, we began work here by conducting a housing assessment focused on housing needs in Gaza. In 1994, with the establishment of the Palestinian Authority following the Oslo Peace Accords, we opened our first CHF office in Gaza, beginning work in the micro-lending and microfinance sectors and focusing on home improvement lending. In 2000, we branched out into the West Bank. By that time we had already partnered for five years with USAID on implementing several home improvement lending and community development programs in Gaza.

Since 2000, we have implemented several USAID-funded programs targeting different aspects of the development sector ranging from infrastructure rehabilitation and development to humanitarian assistance to local governance. Some of our major programs have included the Palestinian-American Recreation and Conservation Services (PARCS) program which responded to the prevailing physical/environmental, economic and psychosocial problems facing the Palestinian people, and particularly children. With around $4 million in funding, we constructed and rehabilitated public parks in vulnerable urban and rural communities in the West Bank & Gaza lacking adequate recreational facilities. Other major programs included several community development initiatives that targeted several villages and cities engaging citizens in identifying their needs and working with local government authorities and civil society organizations on responding to priority needs. CHF successfully implemented more than 300 small scale development projects providing infrastructure and facilities in the fields of education, health, water and sanitation economic and social development.

In Gaza, we have implemented the Gaza Urban Agriculture Revitalization and Development (GUARD) program, which increased the availability of a variety of fresh, nutritious foods from local sources that were unaffected by border closures, thereby improving both food security and nutrition. This program, and our experience with housing rehabilitations in Gaza, parlayed into the recently funded Palestinian Community Assistance Program (PCAP), which takes the lessons learned and best practices to expand in the infrastructure, housing rehabilitation and food security sectors. Also it is important to mention, that over the past eight years in Gaza and the West Bank, we also been implementing a major humanitarian assistance program in partnership the UN World Food Program (WFP), providing food packages to needy families and utilizing — when possible — food for work and food for training approaches.

Most recently, we concluded the successful Local Democratic Reform (LDR) program, with funding from USAID. The program improved the capacity of the local government sector in West Bank and Gaza so that it could better serve the citizens of Palestine through transparent and participatory democratic approaches. This $37 million program institutionalized an empowered and effective local government system, and the work done is being carried over and expanded significantly under the $100 million Local Government and Infrastructure program (LGI). The program continues to support Palestinian municipalities, village councils and local communities by providing them with the tools necessary for improving government service delivery, basic infrastructure and quality of life for Palestinians.

In addition to these programs, we have also worked on numerous other initiatives with funding from a variety of sources ranging from anti-corruption programming to business development for women.