Social participation for refugees in an ongoing crisis context
Title: Strengthening the Influence of Palestinian Refugees on their Living Conditions (PART)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Palestinian territories; Jordan; Lebanon; Syria
Lead executing agency: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
Overall term: 2018 to 2021
The future of Palestinian refugees remains one of the core unresolved challenges of the Arab-Israeli conflict. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Palestine refugees are persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict. UNRWA was created by the UN in 1949 to provide services to Palestine refugees. Today, about one third of these refugees (about 1.7 million) still live in refugee camps in the Palestinian territories (West Bank and Gaza), in Jordan, Lebanon and in Syria. The descendants of male Palestinian refugees, including adopted children, are also eligible for registration as refugees by UNRWA. Some 5 million Palestinian refugees are currently registered with the organisation.
In the context of the ongoing conflict, they have hardly any possibilities to participate in influencing and shaping their living conditions for the better. Psychosocial support is not readily available to Palestinian refugees.
The influence of Palestinian refugees on improving their living conditions in an ongoing context of violence is improved, both on a personal and a structural level.
The project applies a tailor-made conflict transformation method. The project thus improves psychosocial support on the one hand and social participation, i.e. influence, on the other. Better possibilities of influencing and shaping their own living conditions can have a positive effect on the psychosocial wellbeing of the Palestinian refugees. Conversely, the willingness and ability to play an active role in society and participate in shaping their living environment often requires a certain degree of psychosocial stability and the capacity to act. The two approaches are therefore mutually reinforcing and in this way an essential part of the applied conflict transformation method. The project, PART (short for PARTicipation), cooperates with UNRWA and other partner organisations.
- Implementation of reforms in the fields of psychosocial support and social participation.
The project supports UNWRA and host government institutions in their reform and political processes. The main goal is to improve the structural framework conditions to empower the Palestinian refugee community to increase its influence and improve its ability to act.
- Empowering young Palestinian women and men to shape their living conditions.
Through networking platforms and qualified local organisations, PART helps to interconnect youth and empowers them to develop and implement innovative initiatives for improving living conditions. At the same time, host government institutions are provided with in-depth expert advice. The project supports them in increasingly including the expertise and interests of young Palestinian women and men in decision-making processes. This gives young people better opportunities to participate in the camp and representation structures.
- Networking and knowledge transfer between regional stakeholders.
PART aims to more closely connect regional, national and international stakeholders to strengthen their influence and agency on all levels. The strategic partners are supported in creating and organising networks and in assuming more effectively a role as multiplier. Skills and know-how of the various stakeholders will be exchanged and their expertise inserted at international level. To this end, the PART team provides advisory services on strategy and policy processes and also funding for regional knowledge management.