ANERA Signs an MoU to Renovate Bethlehem Old Market
Bethlehem – On Wednesday, April 30, 2014, Bethlehem Municipality signed a memorandum of understanding with ANERA regarding the upcoming rehabilitation of the Bethlehem Old Market, a project which will be implemented under the Palestinian Community Infrastructure Development Program (PCID) funded by USAID and implemented by ANERA. Mayor of Bethlehem Vera Baboon and ANERA Country Director in the West Bank and Gaza Paul Butler signed the MoU in the presence of Bethlehem Governor Abdel Fattah Hamayel, Director of the Bethlehem Local Government Directorate Rashid Awad, and USAID’s Water Resources and Infrastructure Office Director Peter Riley, along with representatives of several relevant institutions and local organizations.
Mayor Vera Baboon welcomed the audience and thanked USAID for its assistance provided through ANERA to rehabilitate the Bethlehem Old Market. She also thanked the Bethlehem Governor’s Office for being an active partner of the Municipality. Thanks was also extended to farmers and shop owners for their cooperation and participation in the project design phase.
Baboon pointed out that the Old Market suffers from several infrastructure problems including the lack of a shading system to protect the fruit and vegetables from the sun during summer and the rain during the winter. In addition, there is no rain water drainage system and the market often over floods during the winter. The market also lacks the space for dumpsters, and so garbage accumulates in the streets of the market.
Baboon explained that the Municipality is working to renovate all markets in Bethlehem city to ease customers’ access to the markets and upgrade services provided, especially in the Bethlehem Old Market which is one of the most vital and frequently visited markets.
In his turn, Governor Abdel Fattah Hamayel praised the efforts put into this project and other such projects which aim to upgrade and develop life in the cities of the Bethlehem Governorate. He added that Bethlehem city in particular is in need of more development in various sectors, including infrastructure.
On behalf of USAID, Peter Riley pointed to the historical status Bethlehem city enjoys, and especially the Bethlehem Old Market which is more than 50 years old. He also stressed that USAID is highly interested in upgrading and developing the city on all levels.
From his side, Paul Butler thanked the Governor, the Municipality and USAID for giving ANERA yet another opportunity to provide assistance to Bethlehem Municipality through upgrading the infrastructure of the Bethlehem Old Market.
The MoU aims to enhance joint cooperation and coordination between Bethlehem Municipality and ANERA to ensure smooth implementation and sustainability of the project. For their part, ANERA will rehabilitate the Bethlehem Old Market and the Municipality will supervise and coordinate with all relevant stakeholders including vendors, shop owners, police, and the joint committee council in order to boost the economic activity in the market. The Municipality will also be responsible for managing the market’s businesses and operations during the project implementation phase and ensuring its maintenance after the completion of the project.
This project will be implemented under the five-year PCID Program (2013-2018) which is implemented by ANERA and funded by USAID. The Program focuses on responding rapidly to urgent water and sanitation needs and addressing underlying infrastructure needs in the health, democracy and governance, and education sectors.
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