January 20: Inauguration Day

The United States is swearing in a new president in a ritual that happens every four years on January 20.
As a non-partisan organization, Anera cannot make statements about the politicians or politics involved. But the day does bring to mind other kinds of inaugurations: the opening of infrastructure projects we have delivered in Palestine and Lebanon over the years.
We share here 10 of our proudest inaugural moments.

Inauguration of a Women’s Center in Dar Salah, West Bank

The women of Dar Salah have a well-established women’s society called the Palestinian Rural Women’s Association. However, they did not have a suitable place to meet, coordinate, or train. They operated in a small room in the local village council building, but it was not appropriate for the activities they provide.

Anera constructed a two-story building comprising a large, multi-purpose training room, an embroidery room, an exhibition area, a kitchen for food processing, handicap-accessible bathrooms, ramps and Braille signage, administration offices, a fitness room, and a childcare room.

This center is serves as a vibrant hub for 300 women. The women’s association has lots of ideas and creativity to expend. Among other things, they have a catering company, a sewing and embroidery workshop, organizing nutrition and health awareness workshops as well as language classes for the community.

Women's Center in Dar Salah, West Bank
The women’s center that Anera built in Dar Salah, West Bank.

Inauguration of a Sports Community Center in Musaddar, Gaza

With the highest population density in the world, there’s not much space for sports in Gaza. The village of Musaddar in Middle Gaza is no exception. In just a few months, as part of Anera’s USAID-funded Palestinian Community Infrastructure Development Program, we completely transformed the abandoned sports club — rundown and full of litter — into a proper athletic facility, complete with a playing field and boundary walls for safety. Now more than 1,500 youth from Musaddar and the surrounding villages are expected to use the club.

Children of all ages use the new, renovated Gaza sports club rebuilt by Anera.
Children of all ages use the new, renovated Gaza sports club rebuilt by Anera.

Inauguration of a Wastewater Reuse Irrigation System in Jenin, West Bank

The Jenin Water Reuse Project was funded by the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and Anera’s community of donors. It program uses recycled water from the Jenin wastewater treatment facility to benefit 240 farming families in need of better irrigation methods for their land.

Anera also introduced new fodder crops like alfalfa to help keep communities self-sufficient, ending their dependence on imported fodder. We started a water-use cooperative so that the farmers could regulate and make equitable access to the treated wastewater. Now, several years later, the fields are covered with flourishing fruit trees and fodder crops. Palestinian farmers are making more profits and growing the capacity of their farms.

Palestinian farmers, members of an agricultural cooperative, plant trees in Jenin.

Inauguration of a New Solid Waste Management Facility in Majdal Anjar, Lebanon

At a time when the Bekaa region, like Lebanon as a whole, is suffering from a waste crisis, Anera’s Community-based Solid Waste Management project highlighted the importance of waste sorting to minimize solid waste and protect the environmentAnera’s waste management program has reduced waste going to landfills and dumps by up to 80 percent in the localities where we operate.

On inauguration day, Anera Lebanon Country Director Samar El-Yassir told the assembled crowd, “The opening of this waste sorting center at Majdal Anjar is a very important step. The project is part of a comprehensive environmental/health program that has been built to confront Lebanon’s many challenges. Through this program…Anera engages with communities on the ground, both host and refugee communities, to create jobs and to educate, train and raise environmental awareness about sorting at source in homes, schools and companies. Waste management is one of the most important issues in our country and it is our duty to contribute and help the Lebanese state to implement healthy and sustainable solutions to address environmental and health threats.”

Anera’s community volunteers joined the inauguration event. Community engagement is an essential component of Anera’s waste management program, helping to ensure local buy-in and sustainable participation.

Majdal Anjar ribbon cutting
Majdal Anjar ribbon cutting at the inaugural event.

Inauguration of a New Preschool in Qibya, West Bank

With generous support from the Tarazi family, Anera completed the construction of a new preschool in Qibya in the Ramallah Governorate. The custom-designed facility includes a number of classrooms and can provide 100 children with preschool education each year. The public kindergarten will be owned and maintained by the village council and the Ministry of Education, ensuring a sustainable operating model that bolsters the public education system in Palestine.

As the leader in the field of early childhood education and development, in the past eight years Anera has built, rehabilitated and/or equipped more than 180 kindergartens and trained 700 teachers. Anera’s early childhood development programs reach over 30,000 children annually through teacher training, and renovation and equipping of kindergartens. Anera, in partnership with other NGOs, developed the national kindergarten curriculum launched by the Ministry in October 2017.

In 2019, Anera built six beautiful new preschools in the West Bank towns of Bazariya, Deir Al Hatab, Madama, Nassaria, Ni’lin (pictured) and Qibya.

Inauguration of a Renovated Well in the Jabalia Palestinian Refugee Camp in Gaza

Living close to a working water well is a lifeline in Gaza. Unfortunately, this was not the case for the residents of Jabalia refugee camp. The well was outdated and in very poor condition, making it difficult to pump water. Given the Gaza power crisis and the intermittent supply of electricity, residents needed a water well that could be pumped 24-7.

In 2019 Jabalia’s water situation improved when Anera, with funding from Islamic Relief USA, carried out a major rehabilitation project to improve the performance and capacity of Jabalia’s well. Now the well produces a higher and cleaner volume of water and serves over 20,000 residents.

Anera's construction work on the water well in Jabalia refugee camp, Gaza.
Anera’s construction work on the water well in Jabalia refugee camp, Gaza.

Inauguration of Soccer Fields in Beddawi, Nahr El Bared, and Ein El Hilweh Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon

There isn’t much space for sports in the crowded Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon. It is not safe for the kids to play in the streets. Anera has created beautiful, full-sized soccer pitches in three of Lebanon’s Palestinian camps. We installed professional lighting systems on the field to extend hours for training after dark, and ease the tensions between clubs over their time on the field. Girls get to play soccer too. We also rehabbed sports rooms under the stadia. Each team now has its own office and changing rooms. New fencing around fields helps keep out garbage and vandals.

These spaces are vital for young people who have so few options for play and socializing.

Girls playing soccer on the soccer field Anera renovated in the Beddawi Palestinian refugee camp, part of the sports for peace and development program.
Girls playing soccer on the soccer field Anera renovated in the Beddawi Palestinian refugee camp, part of the sports for peace and development program.

Inauguration of a Home for the Elderly in Beit Jala, West Bank

Saint Nicolas Home for the Elderly provides a safe space for its elderly residents to live in dignity in a caring environment, offering social activities, psychological care, healthy food, and administering medicine. Because it is the only society in Beit Jala serving senior citizens, the demand on its resources was growing, and the main old building was in dire need of renovation to repair deteriorated toilets, tiling, peeling paint, humidity problems, and broken doors and window frames. The home also had no space to take in new residents or offer additional, improved services.

With funding from USAID, Anera constructed a two-story block, maintaining the same architectural style as the rest of the compound. Connected to the old building, it comprises nine bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, and visiting areas for family and friends. Outside, Anera added a garden, walkways with ramps, shaded seating, and a fountain. With improved and expanded facilities, the home is now able to offer much more comfortable and improved living conditions and more services, with the capacity to house some 45 residents.

The Saint Nicolas Home for the Elderly in Beit Jala, Bethlehem, Palestine.
The Saint Nicolas Home for the Elderly in Beit Jala, Bethlehem, Palestine.

Inauguration of a New Health Clinic in Beit Lahia, Gaza

Anera, in partnership with the Kind Hearted Association, inaugurated the Beit Lahia clinic in early 2018. The clinic was built thanks to generous funding from the Khaled Family. The new building offers dental, medical, laboratory, pediatric, obstetric, and other health services, while providing enough space to accommodate new equipment and machines. The clinic makes health care more accessible for patients by reducing the cost of transportation, medicines, and doctor fees.

“This clinic is important because it keeps us healthy and it supports those who suffer the most in our community,” says Israa, pharmacist at Beit Lahia clinic.

A youngster in Beit Lahia, Gaza is measured by a nurse
Nurses and doctors held an open health day for local children at this Anera-built clinic in Beit Lahia, Gaza.

Inauguration of a Water Reservoir in Imneizel, West Bank

Imneizel is home to a Bedouin community that relies on livestock and agriculture to survive in an almost desert-like climate. A remote “Area C” village in the Hebron Governorate, Imneizel had no water network. Village residents collected contaminated water from open rain catchment ponds and then stored it in underground cisterns. The water supply was inadequate, particularly during the hot summer months.

With funding from USAID, Anera constructed a 250-cubic-meter reservoir with a booster pump and installed 3,500 linear meters of water pipes to connect 450 village residents to a reliable source of water for the first time!

A new reservoir pumps water to Bedouin families in Imneizeil.
A new reservoir pumps water to Bedouin families in Imneizel.
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