Gaza, (Pal Telegraph) – The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development acting through the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) have signed an agreement worth $9,550,000 to construct five new schools in the Gaza Strip, an UNRWA statement said Monday.
The agreement was signed in Amman between the Director of the IDB’s Trust Funds Department, Mansour Bin Feten, and Peter Ford, representative of the UNRWA Commissioner-General.
“Education forms the Agency’s largest program and UNRWA currently educates more than 218,000 refugee students across 243 schools in the Gaza Strip,” said the statement. “About 94% of the schools are run on a double-shift basis and the average class size in Gaza is 38.5 pupils. These five new schools will go a significant way towards easing the overcrowding that is endemic in Gaza’s schools, and which has begun to negatively impact on academic attainment levels.”
Among the five schools funded by the Kuwait Fund is a groundbreaking, pilot “environmental zero impact” school, designed by the Italian architecture firm, Mario Cucinella Architects, which will be showcased by UNRWA at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Durban, South Africa. It is hoped that the green school concept will be rolled out more widely across the Gaza Strip in the coming years.
Commenting on the agreement, Filippo Grandi, UNRWA Commissioner-General, underlined that: “UNRWA is delighted to have signed this agreement to build five schools in Gaza.”
He said, “Education remains the key intervention for the Agency in Gaza and we are most grateful that the Kuwait Fund has come on board to help us meet our goals for Palestine refugee children. This contribution is the first-ever agreement between UNRWA and the Kuwait Fund, acting through the Islamic Development Bank, one of the Agency’s most valued partners, and we are confident that this marks the start of a long and fruitful relationship. We are particularly pleased that the Kuwait Fund and the IDB have decided to fund the pilot green school, an exciting and groundbreaking initiative for the Agency.”
Established in 1961, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development assists Arab and other developing countries in developing their economies by providing loans, guarantees, grants, technical assistance, and contributing to capital stocks of international and regional development finance institutions and other development institutions.
(www.paltelegraph.com / 08.12.2011)