WASHINGTON, August 13, 2018 – The World Bank announced a new project today to provide Gaza‘s unemployed youth with short term income support. About 4,400 targeted youth, half of them women, will be hired by NGOs to deliver services in severely needed areas such as health, education and support to the disabled and elderly. As part of the US$17 million grant, the new project will finance skills training and internet-based job support to an additional 750 youth.
The Gaza Emergency Cash for Work and Self-Employment Support project will target unemployed young people between the ages of 18 to 34. The project will work with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that have solid track records in delivering social services to especially vulnerable communities, and not-for-profit organizations that provide support for freelancers in the digital economy.
Economic instability and the absence of jobs hinders Gaza’s educated youth from contributing to economic growth. Half of the labor force is unemployed and basic services like water and electricity are on a steep decline -- conditions that foster social unrest,” said Marina Wes, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza. “Job creation and youth employment are at the core of our strategy. This project is in line with one of the major goals of our assistance, to provide economic opportunities, particularly for youth and women.”
The project will provide grants to selected NGOs to hire young people who have been unemployed for at least one year, prioritizing the poor and most vulnerable households included in the Ministry of Social Development’s Cash Transfer Program. The project will also provide not-for-profit organizations with grants to train young people in the skills needed to become online freelancers, in turn equipping them to start their own e-businesses. These skills include software development, website design, translation and even simpler tasks such as transcribing scanned documents and data gathering.
“In response to the dire situation, the project is designed to give temporary relief by providing income support to youth and their families, and by addressing overstretched social services,” said Samira Hillis, World Bank Program Leader for Human Development. “The process will generate a multiplier effect when youth earn income while providing much needed social services to vulnerable households, thus contributing to their own well-being but also to the poor communities in Gaza.”
More than half of the population of Gaza, about 900,000, is poor. This includes around 300,000 people in deep poverty who are unable to cover their needs for food, clothing and housing. Young people in Gaza face particularly bleak prospects, with unemployment rates above 50%. Unemployment rates for young women are especially severe, with rates of 88% as opposed to 58% for young men. The project puts great emphasis on young women in Gaza, requiring that they represent at least half of the youth targeted for short-term employment and digital skills. The objective is to provide young women with valuable work experience that will increase their employability, and create flexible opportunities for internet-based work.