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February 28-2013- Beit Fajjar: About 400 youth in Beit Fajjar elected the 13 Youth Local Council (YLC) members of which five were females, surpassing the quota by two. Muhannad Taqatqa, the former YLC president, said: “Youth are more aware and enthusiastic to participate because they saw the massive effect this initiative had and is continuing to have on our community; we are empowering youth to participate in the local governance process to make positive change.â€‌ This initiative funded by USAID and implemented by CHF International in partnership with Sharek under the Local Government and Infrastructure Program will establish YLCs to mirror local councils in its formation, composition, functions, and role to sensitize and enhance Palestinian youth understanding of local governance functions, and good democratic governance practices.

February 26, 2013 The Local Government and Infrastructure team concluded a two day training on Monitoring and Evaluation mechanisms and tools, which will enable them to follow up on the developed Strategic Development and Investments Plans in their respective communities. The training targeted (36) committee members from eight partner LGU’s and is an initiative implemented by the Local Government and Infrastructure Program team, under CHF international, and funded by USAID. Sa’eda Al Atrash from Beit Sahour said: “Using the M&E manual and templates will help us evaluate if we are implementing the strategies according to the strategic plan, in order to achieve our goals.â€‌ Ziad Samara from Al Yamoun added that, “Through the M&E training, we will be able to identify the internal capabilities that will help us focus and depend on our potentials rather than always depending on donors.â€‌

A three day conference entitled â€کLocal Government Policies and Strategies’ was concluded on February 15, 2013, which mainly focused on the presentation of the Ministry Of Local Governance updated implementation plan for the years (2013-2014). The Minister of MoLG Dr. Khaled Al-Qawasmi discussed the challenges and future directions in the local government sector and mentioned that “One of the utmost challenges that MoLG faces is the occupation and settler’s policy in controlling land, more specifically in area (C), in addition to the lack of funding to support and construct needed projects for LGU’sâ€‌ Other important topics were discussed among the wide audience of donors, mayors, and other partners, such as decentralization in local governance, amalgamation and joint service councils strategies, sustainable local development and service delivery and LGU classification. A whole session focused on â€کdevelopment partners contribution’; (AFD, BTC, CHF-USAID, Danida, EU, GIZ, Italian Co, JICA, KFW, MDLF, SDA, SIDA, VNG (Dutch), and the World Bank), to ensure better planning and involvement of the partners and donors community to contribute and work in accordance to the developed plans, and more specifically to publicize the implementation plan, which was developed in partnership with the MoLG under the Local Governance and Infrastructure program funded by USAID.

As part of his regular monitoring field visits, Dr. Khaled Qawasmeh - Minister of the Ministry of Local Government - visited Beit Surik main road project, where he met three Engineering Fellows involved in the construction and renovation of the main road in Beit Surik.

As part of the Special Initiatives and Engineering Fellows Program, CHF International in coordination with the Engineers Association Jerusalem Center (EAJC), conducted a field visit last week to both the Wastewater Treatment Plant of Al-Bireh City, and to Rawabi City. The 58 Engineering Fellows whom participated were introduced to the wastewater treatment process, and informed of the use of the treated water in the irrigation system. As for the tour in Rawabi City, Engineering Fellows were exposed to new conceptual design, project components and services that will be provided to the city residents and visitors. They also learned about the challenges, and solutions contractors might face during the implementation phases. This initiative is part of the Local Governance and Infrastructure Program (LGI), funded by USAID, and implemented by CHF International.

Sixty-eight stakeholders attended the first open community meeting launching the development of Al Bireh City Strategic Development Investment Planning (SDIP). The participants were divided into work groups to identify and develop the strategic vision and objectives of Al Bireh City in the following areas: Infrastructure and Environment, Social Economics, Administration and Good Governance. The next step will be starting the preparation of the descriptive and diagnostic report. SDIP workshops are part of the Local Government and Infrastructure Program, funded by USAID, and implemented by CHF International.

Bethlehem citizens participate in the Community Planning Workshop conducted on February 2013, in Bethlehem Governorate - Local Governance Program (LGI), funded by USAID, and implemented by CHF International.

58 Engineering Fellows participated in a field visit to the Waste water Treatment Plant of Al-Bireh City, and to Rawabi City. This initiative is part of the Local Governance and Infrastructure Program (LGI), funded by USAID, and implemented by CHF International.

Tayma and Dana Arbasi are 9 year twin sisters from Qira, Salfit Governorate, chasing their dream to become pediatricians.

About 870 youth in Qalqiliya registered to vote for the 13 (YLC) candidates, up from around 340 in the last election. “Youth are very excited to participate and this is a very high rate of voters compared to the first round of elections, which is an indication to success,â€‌ said CHF’s Participatory Governance Coordinator for the North area, Mr. Mohammed Neirat. This initiative funded by USAID and implemented by CHF International in partnership with Sharek under the LGI Program will establish YLCs to mirror local councils in its formation, composition, functions, and role to sensitize and enhance Palestinian youth understanding of local governance functions, and good democratic governance practices.