Creating safe spaces for children and youth in the Palestinian Territories

Project description

Title: Strengthening Youth for the Stabilisation of Palestine
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Ministry
Country: Palestinian Territories​​​​​​​
Overall term: 2019 to 2023

Activities within the framework of the "Sports for Smiles" initiative for the psychosocial support of children and young people.


Crises and conflicts have characterised the Palestinian territories for decades. These are accompanied by restrictions on free movement, high unemployment rates, violence and experiences of trauma as a result of reoccurring wars and increasing poverty among the Palestinian population. Children and youth in particular bear the brunt of this tense and unstable situation. Disappointment in the government as well as a general feeling of hopelessness and a lack of prospects for the future are widespread.


Children and youth are better able to cope with the difficult living conditions in the Palestinian Territories. Safe spaces have been created in which children can be children and youth can express themselves and support each other.

Kids throwing paint in the air during the Sport for Smiles activities for the psychosocial support of children and young people.


The programme operates in three priority areas: (1) psychosocial support for children and youth and psychological crisis intervention in the Gaza Strip; (2) the promotion of youth initiatives in communities and (3) the development of safe spaces for children and youth. The programme is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in cooperation with selected civil society organisations. This is being done in the mainly marginalised areas in the Westbank and in the Gaza Strip.

Psychologists and youth workers are being trained to develop and offer psychosocial support. These services combine music, dance and sports activities to address the effects of trauma and conflict. They promote the psychological wellbeing of children and youth, including those with disabilities.

This work is supplemented by emergency psychological measures for children and families in situations of acute stress. The services provided include crisis intervention and psychological first aid by mobile teams.

The project also promotes youth initiatives in which young people are trained to initiate and implement projects independently in youth groups. The aim is to improve their participation in their home villages and regions by developing their personal and social skills. This also contributes to their constructive and non-violent conflict resolution.

Last update: November 2022

Boys taking music classes at Al Sununu, in the Gaza Strip.

Additional information