The name Qalqilya may have originated from the Roman name of the city ‘Calecaicea’ or ‘Calcelie,’ which is derived from the Kanaanite word for rounded stones or hills.
Qalqilya Governorate | محافظة قلقيلية
The city of Qalqilya is the center of the governorate, yet is entirely surrounded by the Israeli separation wall, except for an Israeli-controlled passage to the east and a tunnel that connects it to the neighboring village of Habla.
With many illegal Israeli settlements surrounding the city and encroaching on nearby farmlands and small villages, the governorate has suffered various hardships, including huge land and water confiscations through the years. As agriculture is considered the backbone of this rich rural area, many farmers are forced to leave to other districts in search for work.
Fortunately, Anera has been able to contribute to the economic development of the area by addressing some pressings needs:
- More cultivated land with higher productivity and quality of produce.
- New water connections and sewage networks.
- New educational classrooms, rehabilitation work, and bigger schools with more facilities and services.
- Public facilities that serve and empower the most marginalized and neglected groups, namely women and children.
Boosting Agriculture in Qalqilya District
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Anera invested in the agricultural development of the governorate of Qalqilya, among many others across the West Bank. With eight brand-new, modern tractors and 38 other pieces of agricultural machinery divided between the Qalqilya Agricultural Market Cooperative and another farming cooperative in the village of Azzun, hundreds of small-scale farmers were able to utilize their family lands efficiently and easily. Moreover, 265 member farmers were able to rent the machinery at lower prices, encouraging them to reclaim their lands and enhance their production.
Land owners and sharecroppers were not the only beneficiaries, as the project ultimately opened up job opportunities for tractor drivers, workers, agricultural engineers and many others.
During that same period, Anera assisted the Qalqilya Agricultural Marketing Cooperative with a $30,000 grant for establishing a new electronic scale with a capacity of four tons for weighing trucks. The weighed trucks used to load fruits and vegetables between Amman and the West Bank markets. This project helped strengthen the efficiency and marketing scope for involved farmers.
Anera’s microfinance credit program complemented its agricultural work in the region by reaching out to even more small entrepreneur farmers or those who wished to reclaim their own small-scale lands. This was implemented through main farming cooperatives across five districts.
In the first decade of the 2000s, Anera helped 30 farmers in Jinasfut by building an efficient irrigation system and a new cistern for rainwater harvesting, as supplementary irrigation. We also provided the farmers with local thyme seedlings, Through this project, Anera attempted to increase the productivity of the farmers at lower costs and ultimately help them earn a better income.
Improving Water Access
In 2004, Anera installed a total of 3,300 linear meters of pipelines in Ras at Tira and adjacent Ad Dab’a, providing a reliable and clean source of drinking water to the residents of these villages at affordable costs. Before the intervention, the villagers relied on tankered water that was expensive and prone to contamination.
“Before Anera’s help,” says beneficiary Afaf from Ad Dab’a. “We used to buy water in tins, which was extremely costly, or draw water in buckets from neighbors who were lucky to have cisterns. But now, we finally have water taps for washing and drinking and we have even built a new toilet and shower. We also have a washing machine!”
In more recent years, Anera delivered different water projects in Palestine at seven different locations in the district of Qalqilya, connecting more households to running water and enhancing the efficiency of sewage collection systems.
Anera also installed new water networks, extended existing water networks, and built elevated reservoirs in ‘Isla, Khirbet Sir, Jit, Kafr Thulth, Jinsafut, Baqat al Hatab, Hajja and Falamya. Work included the installation of new booster pumps, chlorination units, pipelines and one balance tank.
These projects either successfully replaced inefficient and dilapidated networks that contributed to significantly high levels of water loss and contamination, or connected entire villages or certain areas that had no network to begin with. Most inhabitants of the villages depended on expensive purchased water to cover their families’ needs.
In addition, Anera built a rainwater drainage system in ‘Azzun and installed rainwater collection cisterns, serving 15 impoverished households in Immatin.
In the village of Habla, with a population of 7,000 people, Anera intervened in two ways. Our first project included the addition of over two miles of pipes to an existing water network, thus serving a bigger population and newly inhabited areas. In our second project, completed in 2016, we installed a secondary sewage collection network and house connections, in addition to laying two and a half miles of sewer pipelines to 400 homes that that had not been connected to the existing network.
Education for Qalqilya Youth
Anera has been investing for decades in the development of the Palestine education sector in the Qalqilya Governorate by adding new classrooms, rehabilitating existing buildings and training preschool teachers.
At 11 schools in the villages of Sinniriya, Izbat al Ashqar/Al Mudawwar, Izbat Salman, An Nabi Elyas, ‘Azzun, Ar Ras, Kafr Thulth, Beit Amin and Habla, Anera added a total of 24 classrooms, four multipurpose halls, two newly-constructed toilet facilities and a school canteen, in addition to connecting staircases and corridors, drinking fountains, retaining walls, sunshades, playground benches and storage spaces.
In recognition of the Kafr Thulth Secondary Girls School’s achievements, Anera furnished the newly-constructed computer lab with 17 state-of-the-art personal computers to the school, including two printers, an LCD projector with its own white screen, networking equipment, infrastructure and cabling, and a two-year ADSL Internet subscription.
“This has surpassed our expectations. We were simply neglected and now we have all the essentials we need.” said the headmistress Ayda Mwafi.
Under our Early Childhood Development (ECD) program, Anera rehabilitated and furnished two dilapidated preschools in Kafr Qaddoum and Far’ata. The project included infrastructure work, new toilet facilities and fixtures, as well as child-friendly furnishings, carpeting and curtains. The preschools’ playgrounds were also renovated and brand new toys added.
Anera also established reading and play corners, and a large collection of educational toys and books filled the empty shelves. We also provided preschoolers with Anera’s Hayya Naqra’ (Let’s Read!) book bags that included reading and coloring books and a leaflet addressing the children’s parents, in an attempt to engage the parents in their children’s development and establish good reading habits among the young children.
The program trained four preschool teachers from the same preschools, including two teachers from Ad Dab’a on active learning and fundamentals of early childhood care and education, including child development, child rights, learning theories, safety, classroom organization, expressive arts, play and much more.
Community Empowerment in Qalqilya
Anera's Women Can program provided, from 2019 to 2020, 100 women in the Qalqilya and Nablus areas with tools and training to open small businesses. The enterprises empower women who are the main breadwinners in their households with an independent source of income. Says Nadera, a baker in Qalqilya, about the industrial oven, mixer, grinding machine, and freezer provided her: “It was hard to do things manually. I would have given up trying to make the business work without this critical equipment."
The year 2004 was an exciting for the women and youth of rural Qalqilya, as Anera delivered three much-needed public projects to benefit the development of different communities. We built the first and only community center in Jayyous, which serves more than 400 youth and women alike. The two-floor building comprises a sports club with sport activity halls, and houses the Women Saving and Credit Association for micro-financing, in addition to a surrounding garden that also serves center’s mission.
“Financial independence helps women break free from subordination. And, it encourages them to exercise their rights and become decision makers,” says Nahed Jaber, who has been involved with the Women Saving and Credit Association for many years, first as a participant and now as the society’s treasurer.
In ‘Azzun, Anera added an additional floor to a community center to house the Women Saving and Credit Association, promoting self-development and independence among women in rural areas. The floor is also used as a training space for all the women of the village, where they gather to attain new knowledge and participate in various activities.
Anera also built new 0.65 km road to connect the villages of Ras ‘Atiya and Habla. The new road off the main road, which makes for an easier commute and facilitates access to agricultural land. Anera built roads for ‘Azzun and Kafr Thulth as well, which serve their entire communities.