Select Committee on International Development Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by The Welfare Association Consortium—(WAC)—(Project Management Organisation—PMO)



  Palestinian NGOs and other components of civil society in the Occupied Territories have a distinctive reputation of strength, flexibility and creativity in comparison with their counterparts in neighboring countries in the Middle East region. The NGO sector in particular has long been renowned for its traditionally influential role as a major service provider within the local community, with services covering a wide diversity of sectors.

  This was clearly evident during the period preceding the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in 1994, following the Oslo Agreements of the year before. Many sectors of Palestinian society, and particularly in remote, underdeveloped areas were totally reliant on direct aid and essential services, such as education and health, that were totally provided by active NGOs and other community based organizations.


  Since the Israeli occupation of the remaining part of historic Palestine in 1967, the Palestinian population suffered another severe blow that all but wiped out the modest economic and social gains achieved during the relatively quiet and peaceful years of the Jordanian and Egyptian rule.

  A gradually strengthening NGO sector began to emerge in the seventies and eighties, influenced to a large extent by the fluctuating political climate, and major regional events such as the 1982 Israeli invasion of South Lebanon and the subsequent dissolution of the PLO structure in Lebanon, and the Palestinian leadership's exodus to Tunisia.

  The first Palestinian uprising (Intifada) in 1987, and the formal dissociation of Jordan with the West Bank and Gaza, marked a new era in the Palestinian civil societies' prominence, as large numbers of new NGOs were initiated to subsidise, and compensate for the total cessation and absence of welfare services' delivery by the Israeli Civil Administration.

  As the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, and the PNA's "birth" in 1994, the role of NGOs and civil society institutions was temporarily diminished, as the PNA initially envisaged the Sector as an undermining element to its authority. The high level of awareness, a conscientious civil society leadership and a strong national conviction amongst all parties eliminated the potential for competition in favor of a complementary partnership of public service provision.


  Today, and after three years of yet another Intifada, and greater suffering and deprivation for the Palestinian people, and with no end in sight for an extremely vicious cycle of violence, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the foreseeable future seems as distant as ever. Consequently, and with the inability of the PNA to assume its desired commanding role as a strong and able body, the NGO sector role has again emerged in the forefront as a major service provider for the local, and increasingly impoverished population.

  The work of development NGOs has been supported through targeted aid in fields that were related to building and strengthening human resources, and the economic capacities of poor rural and urban communities. It has become a priority for the NGO sector to seek the empowerment of the marginalised sections of the population in order to enhance a sustainable self reliance for survival and development, and a broad popular participation in the development of Palestinian society.

  The NGO sector is also faced with the tremendously challenging task of implementing programs that complement services provided by the PNA, with a significant input into shaping up future government policies in the areas of their expertise, in addition to strengthening links and establishing a participatory mechanism in order to articulate the needs and required development programs of the community, and also playing a much larger role in programs of poverty reduction, particularly in the rural and marginalized communities.


  Following the Israeli re-occupation of Palestinian areas previously under PNA control in March/April 2002, and the subsequent extensive damage to civilian property, and the ongoing strict closures and mobility restrictions imposed on the Palestinian population, the local economy was devastated, and reached unprecedented levels of deterioration. Poverty and unemployment were at an all time high, and many businesses were terminated with no sources of income at hand for the vast majority of the population.

  The international community was swift in its intervention, and responded with immediate aid packages that were mostly channeled through operating NGOs and civil society organisations that were able to innovate means of reaching the hardest hit communities for aid delivery. With increasingly improved professional capacities, skills and expertise, community outreach and a healthy, complementary working relationship with the PNA, the NGO sector today represents a significant and capable service deliverer to the local Palestinian population. The sector also enjoys a very favorable status enabling it to assume an influential role in directing strategic policy making on the national level.


  The Welfare Association Consortium's Project Management Organisation (PMO) manages the Palestinian NGO (PNGO) Project under direct contract with the World Bank. The (WAC) was initiated in 1997 as a partnership between the Welfare Association(WA), the British Council and The Charities Aid Foundation.

  The lead partner, the WA, was established in 1983 by a group of prominent Palestinian business and intellectual figures to provide humanitarian and development assistance for Palestinians. The primary beneficiaries are Palestinian NGOs, community institutions and charitable organisations in the West Bank and Gaza and the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, making the Association the largest and most important source of private funds for Palestinian development.


  The PMO is mid-way through the completion of Phase II of the PNGO project, which started in 2001 as a continuation to PNGO I Project. During phase I of the Project, the WAC committed more than US$7.8 million to Development Grants with 109 projects funded; along with US$3.5 million allocated to 196 sub-projects under the Block Grant program. In addition to its other regular programs such as research grants, the consortium has been entrusted with managing emergency employment generation programs for a total of US $ 1.0 million.

  PNGO II funds amounted to about US$22 million that were allocated to the following components:

    (1)  The Partnership Grants Program.

    (2)  The Development Grants Program.

    (3)  The Sector Support Program.

    (4)  Technical Assistance, Monitoring & Evaluation.

    (5)  The Emergency Grants Program for Job Creation.

  PNGO II is being implemented as a comprehensive program of capacity building and service delivery. It has focused on meeting the needs of the poor by improving the quality, impact and sustainability of service provision schemes.


  The International Development Agency acting as administrator of the grant provided by the Government of the United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland, through its Department for International Development (DFID), signed the Agreement with the World Bank, and the Bank consequently signed an agreement with the Welfare Association on 9 April 2002 to assist in financing the second Palestinian NGO Project. DFID provided a grant amount of four million nine hundred thousand pounds sterling (£4,900,000), equivalent to around US$7.75 million.

  The grant amount was allocated to the following categories:

CategoryAmount of the
allocated (£)
% of
Expenditures to
be financed

Sub-Project Grant 4,300,000100 %
2Consultant's services and training—Project management and Sector Support components 570,000100 %
3Project Management Cost 30,000100 %


  In response to the emergency situation prevailing in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, since the beginning of the second Palestinian Uprising in September 2000, it was agreed to allocate US$2.3 million of the DFID grant to the Emergency component of the project, whereby (a) US$1.8 million were allocated to emergency employment generation projects, and (b) US$0.5 million were allocated to funding NGOs for furniture and equipment items that were either damaged or destroyed during the Israeli Army's re-occupation of Palestinian areas in March/April 2002.

  The Damage Repair allocation was of extreme importance in enabling NGO's to resume their activities, and deliver their services to the beneficiaries all over the Palestinian areas.

  The balance of the amount allocated to sub-project grants was allocated to the grants components—Partnership and Development Grants of Phase II of the Project.

  The Partnership Grants Program awarded grants for service delivery projects to be implemented by lead NGOs in partnership with smaller ones. The program targeted the poor and marginalized communities through a mix of projects that addressed the needs of the under-served sections of the population. The program also aimed at enhancing the availability, quality and sustainability of services provided to these communities.

  The Development Grants Program awarded grants to NGOs that have already demonstrated the ability to manage quality projects during the first phase of the Palestinian NGO Project. The grants represented an incremental support to the enhanced sustainability of project activities financed during Phase I.

  The Sector Support Program provides support at the sectoral level, drawing on technical expertise of stronger NGOs and NGO networks. The program was comprised of four sub- components that corresponded to its objectives:

    (a)  Networking, information sharing and supporting a culture of learning.

    (b)  Policy articulation for the sector and its role in development.

    (c)  Longer term financial sustainability of the sector.

    (d)  Support to the networks, unions and associations.

  The Technical Assistance, Monitoring and Evaluation component was aimed at supporting organisational capacities in areas that related to effective management of the other programs, developing monitoring, evaluation and targeting tools, and conducting overall program evaluations.


  The impact of the DFID assistance to the Palestinian civil society has been very significant. So far the program has produced thousands of square meters of new construction of such facilities as Kindergartens, health clinics, community centres and other public use buildings.

  In addition, so far almost 100,000 person days of employment were generated through the implementation of the various grant components. The DFID funded programs also contributed immensely to the empowerment of the civil society, and contributed to the alleviation of suffering and reduction of poverty levels in the West Bank and Gaza.

September 2003

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