Press Release

Palestinian PM and USAID Inaugurate New School in West Bank

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 | Beit Ijza, West Bank — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), representatives of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and other dignitaries celebrated the completion of the newly built Beit Ijza Basic Coeducational School. The event was attended by His Excellency Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Minister of Education and Higher Education Lamis Al-Alami, U.S. Consul General Daniel Rubinstein, USAID’s new Mission Director Michael T. Harvey, Governor of Jerusalem Adnan Husseini, head of Beit Ijza Village Council Ahmad Diwan, and Anera’s Deputy Country Director Jamal Al-Aref.

Funded by USAID through the Emergency Water and Sanitation and Other Infrastructure (EWAS II) Program and implemented by Anera, the construction of the school cost around $864,000 and helped create 3,281 person-days of employment. An estimated 225 young boys and girls could benefit from the school, and currently, 171 students are enrolled.

The new Beit Ijza Basic Coeducational School has been built with all the standard facilities, including eight classrooms, a science lab, computer lab, school library, administration rooms and sanitation facilities, in addition to a large playground and a shaded area outdoors. The school also has a 130 cubic meter water cistern, a septic tank and more than 500 square meters of boundary and retaining walls and fences. This much needed intervention will help resolve the problem of shortage of classrooms in Beit Ijza, providing better and healthier educational facilities for the school’s students. It is currently the only basic coeducational school in the village.

Since the beginning of the EWAS II Program, USAID has contributed nearly $6.3 million to the construction and rehabilitation of 15 school projects completed across the West Bank, with six more school projects currently ongoing. These projects have improved the education environment for nearly 11,000 students and have created around 45,000 person-days of employment in areas where employment is hard to secure.

USAID has provided more than $3.3 billion in U.S. economic assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza since 1994. USAID coordinates closely with the PA to support projects designed to reduce poverty, improve health and education, implement infrastructure and water projects, create jobs, and promote democracy and good governance. USAID’s EWAS II Program, implemented by Anera, provides rapid response and emergency relief primarily in the water and sanitation sectors in order to address the basic infrastructure needs of the Palestinian people.