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Local Government and Infrastructure (LGI)

Three young Palestinian fellow engineers, Zeina, Walaa, and Adeeb, have just started their first day of a two-month internship at Khatib & Alami engineering offices in the United Arab Emirates.

CHF International launched its Physical Planning Intervention for five Local Councils including Beit Jalah, Ar - Ram, Bir Zeit, ‘Aqraba, ‘Anabta, and Al-Yamun under the Local Government and Infrastructure Program funded by USAID. 15 representatives attended the meeting including local council heads and members. The LGI team introduced the main objectives of the meeting including the launching of physical planning and aerial photography projects. The team also introduced the consulting firms’ staff who will visit local councils during the upcoming ten months. Roles and responsibilities of stakeholders were explained including CHF’s role in closely following up on all technical and physical planning aspects.

March 12,2013- CHF International signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Palestinian Contractors Union (PCU), a body that represents over 400 contractors in the West Bank and Gaza, many of whom CHF has worked with over the past decade to provide new or rehabilitated infrastructure, such as schools, clinics, parks, and roads. The MoU outlines CHF’s and partners ICMA’s support to the PCU via the Local Government and Infrastructure Program (LGI) funded by USAID, including assistance in developing a strategic plan, training the board of directors, and providing an opportunity to travel to the U.S. to meet with and exchange knowledge with American counterparts. This support will enable the PCU to better serve and respond to member needs, which is critical given the importance of the construction sector to the Palestinian economy.

Nasser Tukan, a fellow engineer engaged in the ‘Engineering Fellows Program’ shared his experience saying: “this is the first time I work in the field as an Engineer, at Al Haffasi Primary Co-educational School project in Kafr al Labad. What distinguishes this program is that we learn through practical experience, we also learn how to be responsible, how to deal with contractors directly, and how to properly document and report everything. During my study in the university, I noticed great difference between instructors who have practical experience and those who don’t have. Hence, my goal is to be an academic in the future so I can share the experience I gained with other people and students.” The Engineering Fellows Program is part of the Local Governance and Infrastructure Program (LGI), funded by USAID, and implemented by CHF International.

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€‌

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.

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.

Under USAID funding, CHF International conducted the second green building workshop titled “Resource Efficiency in Constructionâ€‌, as part of the Green Building Workshop series, under the Local Government and Infrastructure Program (LGI), in cooperation with the Ministry of Local Government and Khateb and Alami Consultants in Ramallah, on December 19, 2012. The workshop was attended by Mr. John Pasch, USAID Acting Office Director, Mrs. Lana Abu Huijleh, CHF Country Director, Mr. Tawfiq Al Budari, Deputy Minster of Local Governance, representatives from Khatib and Alami Engineering Counsulting Company ; and many other USAID and Palestinian officials, ministries’ representatives, and architects.

Students in Hatta Elementary school enjoyed an open day to celebrate International Earth Day, implemented by CHF International through the Local Government and Infrastructure program with funding from USAID. Students participated in art projects, printed their hands on a pledge to protect the natural environment in their village and performed skits and songs about topics related to environmental stewardship. â€کButtercup the clown’ also visited the students and talked to them about littering including the length of time it takes for average items of trash to break down if thrown on the ground. Students also enjoyed face painting and balloon animals as part of the festivities.