With the staff of our partner NGO

Program Background

Women in Palestine are often suffering from violence by men who are stressed in the suppression which comes from Israeli occupation and patriarchal Arab society. People in East Jerusalem are further exposed to oppression and violence by Israel, as this area is confronted by the Israeli police and army. We are providing vocational trainings and trainings on human rights and gender equality for women. It helps them make their own decisions and become socially and economically independent from these circumstances. The economy in Gaza deteriorated during the 14 years of blockade and it worsened in 2020 when outings and gatherings were restricted due to COVID-19. Children are vulnerable in these conditions, so we continued to support the region to help them grow healthily.

We conduct activities in three refugee camps and one community in Central Gaza. The economic conditions are especially poor in this area (Gaza).

A Story in Our Activity Area

Women having small children have been involved in an SNS group with the AEI public health nurse, volunteers, and other mothers. This group became very useful when outings and gatherings were restricted to prevent COVID-19 infection. For example, when someone had a concern with her child not eating baby food, another mother advised, “Try giving mashed potatoes or fruits such as banana. It might be difficult at first, but children will like it if you change the shape of the food, and it will help improve their appetite” and the problem was resolved. By exchanging experiences among mothers and getting advice from the public health nurse and volunteers through SNS, they were able to overcome difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The penetration rate of smartphones in Gaza reaches 90%. It is reported that this SNS group is helping mothers give comfort to other mothers and feel connected, as well as being a tool to talk about child-rearing.

Improvement of livelihood and empowerment of women (East Jerusalem)

Outline of the Activities

For our new project on women’s support, we selected a partner NGO and investigated challenges and needs in the chosen locations. With these results, we made plans for vocational trainings, trainings on human rights, gender equality, and leadership, experience exchange tours, and so on. We started the project for women in Silwan and Al Thouri districts in February 2021. In consideration of COVID-19, we exercised maximum care for infection prevention and conducted the trainings in small groups. The participants were able to learn about gender equality, logical and critical thinking through discussions.

Observed Changes

The participants were full of enthusiasm from the beginning to be able to learn new skills to gain income, so this project was highly anticipated. The capacities for the five vocational training courses (maximum of 10 persons per course) became full as soon as the registration started. Active discussions were held in the gender equality course based on actual cases. In the logical and critical thinking courses, the participants practiced building their opinions logically. They gained new knowledge and realized that they were accepted by others. After freely expressing themselves, they gained confidence.

Meeting with the staff of our partner NGO to prepare for the trainings. Everyone is full of enthusiasm (East Jerusalem).

Malnutrition prevention and health improvement of children (Gaza)

Outline of the Activities

In four regions of Central Gaza, we conducted follow-up activities and medical check-ups for children aged five and under with volunteers and a public health nurse of AEI, our local partner NGO. To prevent COVID-19 infection, we built a temporary clinic and gave medical check-ups by appointment. We explained to the parents about nutrition and growth at the time of the check-up, as gatherings for lectures were restricted. We also distributed food items to poor families having malnourished children. The project finished in two sites out of four and we have handed over the activities to volunteers. We will continue to follow up with them regularly.

Observed Changes

Two-year-old Rosan was underweight and lacked appetite. The public health nurse gave a nutrition supplement and encouraged her mother to participate in a nutrition lecture. The mother learned about children’s nutrition, anemia, and the methods of making nutritious and easy-to-eat meals for children. She put them into action when she returned home. The improvement of the meals helped to increase Rosan’s appetite and her body weight, so the mother became very happy and visited back the partner nurse to say thank you. The health condition of children is gradually improving through the effort of their mothers and their willingness to see their children grow more healthily.

We could not hold many sessions, but we tried to hold trainings as much as possible by taking precautions for COVID-19 infection such as keeping air circulation in the room and taking physical distance.

We could not visit households individually due to the restrictions of the pandemic, so instead we opened a temporary clinic and gave medical check-ups by appointment (Gaza).

Our Partner Organizations

Al Thouri Silwan Women’s Center (AWC), East Jerusalem

The organization was established in 2007 to create a society without discrimination against women. It provides vocational trainings and gender equality trainings for women in the Silwan and Al Thouri districts.

Ard El Insan (AEI), Gaza

The organization became independent from a Swiss NGO in 1997 and became the first organization in Gaza that specializes in supporting mothers and children’s health. It has its own clinic and aims to decrease common children’s diseases by providing health services, health education, and mental support.

[Source: JVC Annual Report 2020]

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