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Fostering sustainable development of Palestinian civil society while addressing the humanitarian needs of vulnerable rural communities - ACTED’s goal for 2011 has been to capitalise on its previous engagement in agricultural development in the West Bank by supporting the development of the cooperative sector. In parallel, and based on the developments in the region, we have maintained our focus on addressing the remaining humanitarian needs and assisting the most vulnerable populations in the West Bank. In coordination with the Palestinian Authority Strategic Plan of the Cooperative sector 2011-2013, ACTED has sought to strengthen rural cooperatives in the governorates of Salfit and Qalqilya. In addition, ACTED enhanced its emergency livelihoods intervention programme, providing much needed assistance to the most vulnerable rural Palestinian populations in the West Bank.
Supporting Palestinians in the transition towards sustainable rural development
Rural populations in the occupied Palestinian Territory have tried to mitigate the high unemployment rates by creating self-organised cooperatives. However, these organisations have received limited support to run in a cost-effective and sustainable manner that brings a clear added value to its members. To address these issues, ACTED has focused on strengthening the capacity of 19 cooperatives in the governorates of Salfit and Qalqilya. Together with the Economic & Social Development Centre and PlaNet Finance, ACTED has provided cooperatives with technical, managerial, financial and administrative training. On the institutional level, ACTED has also supported the Palestinian Agricultural Cooperative Union to increase its relevance and representativeness, in order to better represent the interests of its members. This has been achieved through conducting an information session to introduce the Agriculture Cooperative Union and its activities, especially its role in advocating for cooperative interests of Palestinian Authority institutions. Moreover, it provided opportunities for cooperative boards and membership to interact directly with this Union and share their interests, demands and concerns. Finally, ACTED has worked closely with the An-Najah National University in Nablus to encourage the involvement of students in the cooperative sector and bring the latest research and innovation in the agricultural field to the cooperatives in mutually beneficial partnerships. Students were encouraged to utilize their compulsory volunteer time by working within cooperatives, providing the latter with needed support on sectors of expertise such as ICT, accounting, business or marketing. In exchange, cooperatives introduced university students to the Palestinian cooperative movement. Furthermore, an Agriculture Day was successfully held in the Faculty of Agriculture, with the main objective to provide cooperatives with the latest research and innovation in the agricultural field.
Providing emergency support to vulnerable communities in the West Bank
In addition to its commitment to support the development of Palestinian civil society, ACTED has maintained its commitment to addressing humanitarian needs that pertained in the West Bank, particularly for those deprived from basic livelihood items. As such, our teams have also continued developing an emergency response capacity covering the whole West Bank area and played a leading role in reinforcing coordination mechanisms. Through multiple projects, ACTED has provided crucial emergency support to vulnerable households in rural communities. Through these livelihood interventions ACTED has protected an estimated 86 households from possible displacement.
Expanding the humanitarian response capacity while enhancing support to Palestinian civil society and the agricultural sector
In 2012, ACTED plans to continue its support to the development of Palestinian civil society, within the framework of a strategy whose objective will be to strengthen youth organisations through regional linkages facilitated by ACTED’s presence in other MENA countries. Building on activities implemented in 2011, ACTED will also pursue its involvement with the self-organised cooperatives by implementing a micro-grants activity to the most promising cooperatives in the governorates of Salfit and Qalqilya.
Furthermore, ACTED plans to significantly expand its emergency response programme, adding shelter and water & sanitation to the existing livelihoods support. The humanitarian assistance will address the needs of the most vulnerable households in the West Bank, both in urban and rural areas. In parallel, ACTED will maintain a limited presence in Gaza in order to respond efficiently to any new humanitarian emergency.
Partners in 2011
Centre de Crise (CDC), EuropeAid, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).