Boost for poverty safety net empowering families in occupied Palestinian territory
Ramallah – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched today the second phase of a highly successful jobs and small business programme in the occupied Palestinian territory, implemented in partnership with the Palestinian Authority and funded through the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
The US$50 million will go towards the ongoing work of the Deprived Families Economic Empowerment Programme (DEEP), an initiative that has changed the lives of thousands of poor Palestinian households by helping family members become self-reliant. The Programme provides seed capital, technical assistance and small loans.
“We thank the IDB and UNDP for their longstanding support and welcome the establishment of the endowment fund and the institutionalization of the programme as a tool in the national strategy for social protection,” said Prime Minister Salam Fayyad of the Palestinian National Authority at the launch event.
Since DEEP’s first phase began five years ago, it has assisted almost 10,000 Palestinian families – 47 percent of them women-headed households – and contributed over $20 million per year to the Palestinian gross domestic product (GDP).
Overall it has created sustainable employment opportunities to over 12,000 families. In this second phase, DEEP aims to reach approximately an additional 8,000 poor families.
“From now on, these families will not be left alone to sink back into hardship,” said Frode Mauring, UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator in the occupied Palestinian territory. “They will be supported by governmental and non-governmental protective social safety nets.”
Labour force statistics indicate that among the 230,000 households that live below the poverty line in the occupied Palestinian territory, approximately two-thirds could be operating profitable economic activities. UNDP and its partners believe that, if given the appropriate level of business development services and access to finance, these families can achieve successful and sustainable graduation from poverty.
The Programme is also financed by the Governments of Japan, Sweden
and New Zealand. These additional contributions have increased the
DEEP’s budget to around $121 million.
During the second phase, UNDP and the Ministry of Social Affairs will work together to scale the programme up from its initial pilot phase. In addition, it will build and develop public social services at the district level to enable a stronger social protection network for vulnerable yet productive households.
“The Programme reflects the Ministry’s strategy that aims at graduating families out of poverty to empowerment and self-reliance,” said Majida Al Masri, Minister of Social Affairs. “Our community is in dire need of such successful partnerships that result in a positive impact on people’s livelihoods, especially the poor and marginalized. This is truly a success story that we as Palestinians are proud of.”