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Ramallah & Al Bireh

Global Communities (formerly CHF International) has finished construction of a large steel-structure pedestrian bridge which spans the main road between Ramallah and Nablus. The project also included building retaining walls and sidewalks as well as constructing two pedestrian bus shelters and adding bus parking lanes to the road. Prior to construction of the bridge, students had to wait up to an hour to cross the road with the help of school staff, causing daily traffic back-ups and delaying drivers during one of the busiest times of day. Now, the community report that the traffic jams have been resolved and students, teachers and parents feel that children are much safer going to school. This project has been funded by USAID and implemeneted by Global Communities.

Today we launched an exciting, new national initiative with our partners, including Sharek Youth Forum and many of the Youth Local Councils (YLCs) we work with, called “Friendly cities for people with disabilities - time to make a difference!â€‌ The initiative hopes to create awareness about the needs of persons with disabilities to live comfortably in â€کfriendly cities.’ The initiative also sheds light on the responsibility of local bodies to ensure their participation in making buildings and public spaces easily accessible for all.

With a majority of votes for female candidates, 8 young women and 5 young men were elected yesterday to the BirZeit Youth Local Council (YLC).

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.

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.

On September 29, we celebrated the Green Apple Day of Service (started by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)with our colleagues around the world in India, the United States, and Colombia. Here in the West Bank, we had a great day planting, cleaning, and painting with teachers and students from the Saffa Secondary Boys School. Our main theme was ‘reuse‘ - how we can take what we consider trash and use it to beautify or even play games (like bowling!). Thanks to all the volunteers as well and USAID West Bank/Gaza for funding and supporting this day.

24/06/2013 – Under the patronage of the Minister of Public Works & Housing Mr. Maher Ghnaim and with USAID funding, Global communities (Formerly CHF International), the Engineers Association, and Palestinian Higher Green Building Council launched the Palestinian Green Building Guidelines today in Al-Bireh. Over 200 engineers, contractors, municipalities, ministry representatives, and NGOs attended the one-day event, which included an overview of the new guidelines and comparison of Palestinian guidelines with similar systems from the U.S. and U.A.E.

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.