Anera News

Summer 2020

Symbiotic Development in Gaza


These four Palestinian women are learning photography through an Anera course at the CSSL center in Beit Hanoun, Gaza to improve their livelihoods.

These four Palestinian women are learning photography through an Anera course at the CSSL center in Beit Hanoun, Gaza to improve their livelihoods.

Anera strives to create lasting solutions that meet a range of urgent needs at local nonprofits in every country where we operate. These are our valued partners that carry out the impactful and meaningful work that you, our supporters, make possible.

One of our key partners in Gaza is the Cooperative Society for Saving and Lending (CSSL) in Beit Hanoun. This women’s center provides valuable services promoting economic and social empowerment to bolster the ability of women to become more independent. These programs include small income generating activities for women, and services promoting their legal and economic rights.

Over the past couple years, Anera has been working with CSSL to improve their capacity to provide the kinds of programs and services that will help their members and surrounding communities to thrive. Our work there is a perfect example of the kind of multi-faceted interventions, outlined below, that we will tailor and replicate with other local partners throughout Gaza.

Building a new floor of classrooms and offices

Anera added a new second floor to the center with three large new rooms, expanding the training and working spaces for the members. We also built offices for staff. The construction provided much-needed jobs to 66 workers for 74 days.

Providing women with job skills training

A Palestinian woman readies a spool of thread to add to her sewing machine as part of an Anera sewing training course at the CSSL center in Beit Hanoun, Gaza.

We supported job skills training and business development for 65 women from the local community, so they can better support their families. Fifty women took part in sewing, embroidery, beauty care and photography courses and 15 others received grants to improve their small enterprises.

Installing solar panels

When Anera undertakes a building construction project, solar is always included. At the women’s center, Anera installed a solar panel system with a five kilowatt capacity, enough to operate the center during the frequent electricity cutoffs. It also powers the new hydroponic garden.

Making lunches for preschoolers

Anera’s new school feeding program will employ 40 women at the center to prepare daily lunches for 1,000 children in 10 preschools across north Gaza. The produce will come from CSSL’s hydroponic garden and from 30 local farmers who have Anera-supported greenhouses and small farms.

Piloting a new hydroponic garden

Anera installed a hydroponic garden on the center’s roof. Plant roots grow directly in water or in a substrate other than soil, like gravel or coconut shells. Hydroponic agriculture can grow 10 times the number of plants using only 20 percent of the water that traditional farms use.

Anera’s interventions at the center and its environs have created a mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationship. The new facilities provide space for the women, who learn new skills and produce merchandise to sell. The solar panels power the center and the hydroponic garden, which provides produce the women use to make catered meals. Produce also comes from nearby Anera-supported family-owned greenhouses. The lunches will feed children who benefit from our work at preschools that we renovated and where we trained teachers.

This is a model of development that we plan to replicate with other trusted partner organizations in Gaza. We welcome YOU, our supporters, to participate in this work.

To learn more, please contact us at with “how can I support local Gaza orgs?” in the subject line.

A Family Passionate About Supporting Refugees
In Case You Missed It

By The Numbers

For Ramadan This Year in Gaza & Lebanon
Anera Provided...

3,555 food parcels to Gaza families

A young girl smiles while sitting next ot heaps of lentils and other food parcel ingredients

which included two rounds of fresh produce grown in local greenhouses that Anera built and supported.

16,000+ food parcels

A young man holds one of the food parcels he is helping to assemble in Akkar as part of Anera's Ramadan distribution.

to families in Lebanon who live in refugee camps and other vulnerable communities.

1,835 hot meals

during Ramadan to the elderly and others struggling with food insecurity in Lebanon.

Anera’s continuted response to COVID-19 in Palestine and Lebanon

Anera distributed more than 13,500 hygiene kits with items like hand sanitizer and bleach to vulnerable refugee families in the Syrian and Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon. We also provided short, informative, and socially distanced COVID-19 hygiene awareness sessions.

In Lebanon, Anera launched a program to meet some of the needs for masks. We have made 400,000 surgical masks to date and are making another 800,000, which are being distributed to frontline responders, both medical and non-medical. This project employs 100 youths who have gone through Anera’s vocational training programs.

Our communications staff curated and created health materials that address a range of topics, from spotting symptoms to protecting your immune system. In Lebanon and Palestine, we have shared materials through radio, social media and WhatsApp message trees based on issues that we identified as needing to be addressed in local communities.

In Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan, our medical donations team has stepped up the number and value of shipments. Some contain COVID-19 related items like PPE while others support strained health systems with medicines for a host of conditions, like chronic diseases and and cancers. In fact, this past year, Anera delivered $85 million worth of in-kind medical donations – the most ever!

Our cash-for-work strategy in Lebanon puts young people to work. Catering students cook meals for vulnerable families – 3,000 meals so far! Electrical and plumbing students constructed 40 sterilization gates for the entry points to camps and municipalities. Carpentry students built three COVID-19 isolation centers.

Fifty talented young women and men in Gaza started their journey to becoming professional coders. This is Anera’s second cohort of coding students, but this time it’s remote due to COVID-19 physical distancing restrictions. We’re looking forward to following their progress over the next few months.

“I want to tell the young Palestinians everywhere that they should unite and remain united. Help one another. Stand with each other as one and keep Palestine on your mind in everything you do. Plan for returning to our Palestine and do not allow anyone to put shackles on your dreams. You’re our ticket back home.”

— Aisha, an 80-year-old Palestinian refugee in Lebanon who Anera supports.