The Latest on our Gaza Infrastructure Work
Developing Palestinian community infrastructure
Since July 2021, Anera’s Palestinian Community Infrastructure Development program (PCID) has made substantial headway in its mission to upgrade and expand access to necessary resources for under-served Palestinian communities. Since its renewal by USAID last year, the PCID program has focused on improving access to water, health and sanitation resources, and community and educational infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. With the completion of the Gaza Sports Club renewal project this quarter, Anera is proud to have completed 54 PCID projects since the program began in 2013. These projects are now benefitting around 426,000 people in rural and marginalized communities across Palestine!
From 2013 to 2019, the PCID program increased access to water and sanitation and critically needed basic infrastructure through various projects in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. Having been granted an extension by USAID for the Gaza Strip in 2021, Anera’s PCID team is proud to continue upgrading and expanding these resources for the development of Palestinian communities.
In the last several months alone, the PCID program has been working on a total of eight projects, including four ongoing water projects, two ongoing education projects, an ongoing school project, and has completed a community infrastructure project at the Gaza Sports Club! Read more about some of these projects and their impacts below.
Modernizing the Gaza Sports Club
The Gaza Sports Club, established in 1934, is the largest and oldest sports club in Palestine. Before the PCID program’s intervention, the people of Gaza City lacked a proper and safe space to play sports or for recreational activities, and many would end up playing in the streets or less-safe public areas. Upgrading this location provides members with a proper venue for entertainment, sports, physical activity and leisure. Now, the club’s nearly 4,000 members have a safe and state-of-the-art athletic facility to play sports, socialize and interact with their peers. This massive overhaul introduced two new soccer fields, tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, a running track, new seating areas, and a fully-renovated indoor sports hall!
This project was targeted towards youth and children and will greatly improve the sports sector in Gaza City, not to mention it created 2,907 person days of employment.
Upgrading educational centers
Anera’s PCID team also has two ongoing education projects for the Rosary Sisters’ School and Unlimited Friends Association (UFA). The Rosary Sisters’ School was established in 1994 and currently provides services ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade to over 1,000 students. Under the PCID program’s original plan of work in 2013, Anera constructed an entire three-story building for the school’s secondary-level students. Despite the enormity of this upgrade, the team noticed the space was still not large enough; after this first intervention, the Rosary Sisters’ School was forced to turn away many students in their final secondary-level year, not having enough space to house them.
As many students were relocating to finish their secondary-level education, the PCID team was ecstatic at a second opportunity to construct an additional floor to the building, adding 5 classrooms for 25 students each. This intervention also includes a reconstruction of the roof with solar panels, and an elevator to make the additional floor handicap accessible. This project is approximately 90% complete, having created 3,773 person days of employment so far.
We are also undertaking construction for UFA, a charitable, non-profit, nongovernmental society, established in 2006. The association’s activities include education, relief services for poor families, and providing curriculum sessions for school students to enhance their capabilities. UFA also has kindergarten, orphan, shelter, house rehabilitation, and emergency response programs. All of these activities were forced to operate in a small, rented building in the Al-Buraij area. Through PCID, we will construct a new building in the Al-Zawayda area, expanding access of UFA’s services to more residents across the Gaza Strip. This building will include five classrooms, office spaces, a multipurpose educational center, and additional spaces for all the various projects that UFA conducts. This project will increase UFA’s capacity by 100 students, and has created 2,882 person days of employment.
Finally, Anera also received approval for the construction of an educational center for the Gaza Culture and Development Group (GCDC) and approval to upgrade and extend four water networks in the area before the program’s extension concludes. Similar to UFA, this non-profit, non-governmental organization aims to promote educational, development and cultural projects for all categories of the society, especially youth. GCDC’s current building does not have the space for them to accomplish their goals, so the PCID team plans to construct a specialized educational center to accommodate GCDC’s rapid growth and increased need for resources.
The renovation of water networks and distribution centers in Deir Albalah and different areas of Rafah, Beit Hanoun, and Khan Younis, will provide sufficient quantities of domestic water to these residents and will improve the distribution system’s efficiency, improving both hygiene and quality of life for residents.
A role model
Among the individuals who have benefitted from these projects is Mandy, the only female Palestinian engineer on USAID and Anera’s project site at the Rosary Sisters’ School. Mandy has always challenged preconceived, stereotypical gender roles in her life as a female engineer in Gaza, with others often not taking her seriously or ignoring her. Now, with five years experience and successes on projects like the Rosary Sisters’ School, she has had the opportunity to prove herself in her occupation. Mandy, the safety/office engineer on the Rosary Sisters’ School project, describes this project as one of the most important she has ever worked on because of the impact it will bring to rising, ambitious female students. Mandy is proud to be setting an example for female youth on this project; she is often the first female engineer students see. Mandy hopes to inspire female students and women to not “fall victim to the traditional roles our society forces upon us,” to make a significant motive for change in male-dominated industries.
Renewed in 2021 by USAID, Anera is proud of the PCID program’s accomplishments past and present. The main challenges the team faced this quarter were related to the supply of construction materials. Although we were able to import these items, the cost of obtaining materials like pipes, steel, and gas, has risen as much as 50% due to local and global market changes. Despite these challenges, the PCID team hopes to complete all our planned projects for this extension of the program, and continue working to upgrade and expand water, educational, and community resources for these underprivileged communities in Gaza.
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