With a name that comes from the Arabic for gardens, the city of Jenin is renowned for its abundant fruits and vegetables. It's also famous for Marj Ibn Amer, a valley rich with plains of fertile soil.
Unfortunately, like the rest of Palestine, Jenin suffers from Israeli-imposed mobility restrictions. The military checkpoints and separation wall have taken a toll on the economy. Jenin has also lost access to important water resources. Most farmers have been resorting to rain-fed agriculture, which has yielded limited profits with Jenin’s harsh summers. As a result, vast areas are left uncultivated, and many would-be breadwinners are tragically unemployed.
However, Jenin is home to a well-regarded Palestinian-American university that serves the entire population of the district, as well as countless schools that provide a good education for all its children.
Anera’s main goals in Jenin are to help farmers expand their skills and productivity, create safe spaces for schoolchildren and address various water issues. To address the latter, Anera has connected households to safe sources of water, put a stop to street flooding, and combated water scarcity on farms.
A New Era for Agriculture
Anera has addressed water scarcity in Jenin with a first-of-its-kind project that turns wastewater into a valuable irrigation resource. The project included installing a water distribution network, sub-surface irrigation system, pumps, filtration system, chlorination unit, and building a reservoir. So far the project has helped 70 farming families cultivate their land, feed their livestock and produce more income.
Stemming from a belief in knowledge sharing and development, Anera has complemented its infrastructural work with a fundamental 17-day capacity-building training for farmers and board members. Study tours taught farmers about agricultural techniques and reclaimed water and were conducted in Jordan and the Galilee area.
The program also offered beneficiaries fodder crop seeds and fruit tree saplings. This helped farmers cultivate 58 acres of fodder crops and 14 acres of fruit trees. The first season produced a net profit that was 10 times that of rain-fed crops. The project has helped farmers increase their income by 20-26%, which is expected to increase further in coming years.
In the past, particularly in the 1980s, Anera contributed to the development of the agricultural sector in the area by providing tractors and other agricultural machinery to a cooperative in Barta'a. The project helped farmers reclaim their land by providing the needed machinery at affordable costs. With more crop yields and income, they were better able to provide for their families financially. The project also provided a bulldozer to the Jenin cooperative, benefiting its 550 farmers.
Similarly, the Jenin Agricultural Marketing Cooperative received mobile grading machinery for onion and potato crops. This introduced modern grading and sorting methods to the area and improved the marketability of products.
A $125,000 grant went towards establishing a well-equipped dairy factory in Jenin that provided new jobs and fresh dairy products for residents. The factory also helped control the outbreak of brucela disease among livestock. In addition, Anera provided assistance in purchasing five feeding bottles, six milking machines and two automatic wool scissors.
Anera's revolving credit program also served the Jenin area, benefiting agricultural co-ops across the West Bank. The co-ops acted as banks by lending to farmers, providing loans to help reclaim their land, and encouraging self-sufficiency and financial growth.
Water is a Right
In just the past decade, Anera has built, replaced and rehabilitated countless water distribution networks, pumps, rainfall drainage and collection systems, balance tanks, pipe extensions, and reservoirs for conserving potable water and cisterns.
As water is scarce and summers are harsh in Jenin, our water projects have reached underserved and impoverished areas in the periphery, connecting countless families with clean and affordable drinking water. The various projects have also put an end to water leakage and contamination in many areas around Jenin—conserving water, preventing disease and protecting the environment.
Running water is a daily struggle to many Palestinians in Jenin, where dilapidated water networks and pollution are prevalent. Even worse, in remote villages, running water is still a dream. Through infrastructural programs, Anera has been helping families access clean potable water to bathe their children, clean their homes and prepare meals without the drudgery and high cost of buying tankered water.
Through its various infrastructural development programs, Anera has enhanced water accessibility in the city of Jenin and surrounding villages like 'Ajja, 'Arraba, 'Arrana, Kafr Ra'i, Qabatiya, Raba, Ya'bad, Az Zababida, Deir Ghazala and Jaba'. These villages cover various geographical landscapes, from plains to mountains.
Better Educational Environments
With only one secondary school, the village of Jalqamus was struggling to provide an education to local children, as well as students from neighboring villages who had no place else to turn. Naturally, Anera's response was to expand the school by constructing an additional two-story building. The new building comprises six classrooms, a library, and science and computer labs.
The original building was not overlooked. Anera rehabilitated the old building, turning it into a healthy and stimulating environment for all students. Rehabilitation work also included the playground.
In Sir village, the only school could not accommodate high school students due to restricted space and resources. Since the co-ed school also serves students from the nearby village of Kfir, expanding the school is an urgent matter that Anera is currently addressing.
Once completed, Anera's intervention will relieve parents from the financial burden of sending their high school-aged children to schools in other villages. Most importantly, the renovation and expansion will hopefully contribute to lowering the dropout rate by providing a safe environment for students to grow and develop mentally and physically.
Older school projects have also made a lasting impact in the Jenin area. In 2010, Anera renovated the historical building of Fatima Khatoon girls’ school, which was originally built in 1882. The building had served as a governor's headquarters before becoming a school. By the 21st century it was in desperate need of maintenance. Anera responded by delivering a holistic renovation for its facilities, playground and main entrance.
In Qabatiya, a boys' school needed additional classrooms to accommodate grades 11 and 12. Anera completed an unfinished floor, added four classrooms, a computer lab and a multipurpose hall. The original floor was also rehabilitated, along with its facilities.
Through building and renovating schools, Anera provides thousands of job opportunities to workers in and around targeted villages, indirectly helping to sustain countless Palestinian families.
Supporting the Health Sector
Investing in health has always been among Anera's top priorities. From delivering vital medicines to building clinics and rehabilitating hospitals, Anera supports charitable health institutions to better serve Palestinian families. In Jenin, we've renovated key facilities, helping families lead healthier and stronger lives.
The 2008 rehabilitation of the Jenin Hospital comprised sewage and restroom work, plastering and painting, electrical work and various repairs throughout its three floors. The Directorate of Health in Jenin was also renovated.
In 2010, Anera constructed additional rooms in the Ministry of Health's sole mammography clinic in Jenin. We also rehabilitated the toilet unit, repaired roof and wall insulation, and delivered general maintenance work on the building’s premises.
20 kilometers west of the city of Jenin lies the village of Ya'bad, which is famous for its abundant olive groves. As a small village battling a harsh economic situation, it relies on one charitable clinic with limited capacity and service.
When two young siblings, Tamer and Lana, were diagnosed with a rare genetic disease, their devastated parents didn’t know how to find and afford the medication that they needed to survive. Because the medication is unavailable and expensive, Anera has been delivering it for free for over a decade through its in-kind program. Now Tamer and Lana can lead healthy lives. Today they are teenagers and are enjoying school in the company of their peers.
Promoting Information Technology
Between 2004 and 2008, Anera built spaces dedicated to developing the IT sector and nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit in youth. We provided youth with business links, educational courses, incubation services and technical assistance. Four multi-million dollar facilities were built at four key universities in Palestine, helping students transcend the physical restrictions enforced by the occupation.
At the American Arab University in Jenin, the Hassib Sabbagh IT Center of Excellence offers online courses and nurtures innovation. Mohammad Jaradat, former student and coordinator at the Center in Jenin says, "The center believed in me and gave me a great responsibility that made me a better student and a motivated employee."