1.1. Who did the study?
The study was prepared by a Palestinian non-governmental
organization, the Statistics and Documentation Office
(Ajial Center), which is based in Beirut, Lebanon.
Mr. Salah Salah, the director of the center, supervised
The purpose of this study is to provide stakeholders
and interested observers with a picture regarding
both the type of services provided by non-governmental
organizations in the Palestinian refugee camps in
Lebanon and their distribution. It is the hope that
such information will shed light on the capacity of
these organizations, the challenges they face, and
the extent to which their services contribute to the
various needs of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
Outlining the challenges faced in answering these
needs will be instrumental in assisting these organizations
to formulate their policies and future plans and will
provide funding institutions with a more focused assessment
of the needs that they might be interested in being
The lack of reliable information regarding the NGO
community involved with Palestinian refugees in Lebanon
highlights the objectives of this study and might
assist in the alleviation of the severe social and
economic problems that are faced by the Palestinians
living in Lebanon.
1.3. Methodology and difficulties encountered
The study is based on a survey of the NGOs engaged
in various types of service provision for the Palestinian
refugee population in Lebanon. Interviews were conducted
with senior members of all relevant NGOs. The questionnaire
was pre-tested and the interviewers were subjected
to a training workshop before they went into the field.
Meetings were held after the data were collected
for analysis in order to assess the problems faced
during the fieldwork. The main problems faced in this
endeavor can be summarized in the following points:
Some organizations refused and others were hesitant
to divulge information about their respective organizations.
Some of the interviewed officials were not very
knowledgeable about some of the activities of their
There was a tendency among some organizations
to exaggerate and overestimate their activities.
The lack of reliable and detailed data about the
NGOs engaged in activities with the Palestinian
refugees in Lebanon made it difficult to assert
that all NGOs and all the rendered services were
covered, although all effort was made to cover all
aspects and sectors.
2. History of Institution
Building Pertaining to Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
2.1. History of Palestinian refugees
The history of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon dates
back to 1947, just before the proclamation of the
state of Israel when approximately 120,000 Palestinian
were forced to leave their homes in Palestine. While
some figures estimated the refugee numbers at 120,000,
UNRWA estimated their number at 127,600.(1)
By 1999, the number of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon
reached 370,144 (10.6% of the overall population size
of Lebanon)(2) and their fertility rate is 4.5.(3)
In addition, it is estimated that the number of unregistered
refugees reaches around 42,000.(4) Out of the entire
Palestinian population in Lebanon, 164,455 constitute
the population of the refugee camps (excluding Al-Meih
Meih and Dbayyeh where the Palestinian population
there is not known due to the influx of large number
of Lebanese into these camps).(5) As indicated in
Figure 1, the largest is Ein Al-Hilweh with a population
of over 40,000.
UNRWA Annual Reports to the United Nations.
UNRWA, Figures of 30 June 1999, Public Information
Office, UNRWA Headquarters (Gaza), August 1999.
Madi, Yousef. Demographic, Economic, and Social
Characteristics of the Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon,
Annual Report of World Refugee Survey, 1998, p.
Madi, Yousef. Demographic, Economic, and Social
Characteristics of the Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon,
Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are located
on only 1134.2 dunums* of land (145 persons for every
one thousand square meters). This high population
density was the reason behind the creation of population
concentrations adjacent to refugee camps. Approximately
55.38% of the Palestinian registered refugees now
live in the refugee camps and in over twenty population
concentrations scattered all around Lebanon, as indicated
below in figure 2. The growth of population concentrations
in Lebanon resulted from the increase in the camps
populations, the besiege of refugee camps which rendered
the mobility of camp residents rather difficult, and
to the fact that a sizeable number of refugees are
employed in agriculture and, as such, moved outside
refugee camps to areas closer to the farming areas.
* A dunum is 1000 square meters.
Since 1948, the Palestinian refugee population in
Lebanon has constantly been confronted with severe
difficulties on political, social, and economic levels.
Their miserable living conditions can be traced to
a number of reasons. The most important and direct
reason is their forced expulsion and uprooting from
their homes in 1948. On the one hand, they lost the
security and stability that a state usually provides
for its subjects. On the other hand, their refugee
status led to serious challenges that ranged from
being treated as second-class citizens with many of
their rights removed away from them, to being exposed
to numerous social, political, and economic problems
often associated with refugee populations and politically
unstable communities such as a high crime rate, appalling
health conditions, unemployment, inadequate educational
services, and poor nutrition and sanitation.
The source of income of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon
depends on five primary sources: employment with UNRWA,
remittances from relatives employed in the Arab and
foreign countries, employment in Palestinian associations
and organizations, employment in agriculture and in
Lebanese institutions and companies, and employment
in the "camp economy" which consists of
small shops and enterprises within the camps.
The political strife that characterized Lebanon in
the 1970s and 1980s, in which the PLO was a major
player, further worsened the overall conditions of
the Palestinians in Lebanon. Not only did the refugees
suffered tremendous loses after the PLO’s evacuation
from Lebanon; their situation also became even harder
and more difficult. Their chances of employment dwindled,
the Lebanese army surrounded their camps and their
movement became highly restricted. Moreover, after
1982, the services that were provided by the various
PLO institutions almost totally disappeared and were
not replaced by any alternative; so did the services
of international humanitarian organizations that opted
to reduce their activities significantly.
The situation was further aggravated by the constant
Israeli shelling and attacks on the refugee camps
in Lebanon and by the military conflicts that occurred
between the Palestinians and various Lebanese groups
which led to thousands of Palestinian losses. This
situation left almost thirty thousand Palestinian
families without their breadwinners, six thousand
without homes, and thousands without any source of
2.2. Development of institutional work
that target Palestinian refugees
In the first two years after the expulsion of Palestinians
from their homeland in 1948, the International Red
Cross was the main organization that assisted Palestinian
refugees. It provided them with basic necessities
such as tents, clothes, water containers, and food.
It was not until 1950 that the United Nations took
over the responsibility when the United Nations Relief
and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA)
was established. After its creation, UNRWA whose mandate
entitled it to establish a strong institutional presence
in the camps largely catered to health, educational,
and other humanitarian needs.
Despite the efforts of UNRWA, its work and resources
were not sufficient to cater for the basic requirements
and needs of the Palestinian refugees. This was particularly
evident in a number of Palestinian population concentrations
that were not recognized by UNRWA as refugee camps.(6)
(6) It is estimated that as
many as 15,000 Palestinian refugees were dismissed
by UNRWA from the list provided to it by the Red Cross.
The severe conditions emanating from the lack of
basic services were aggravated by the policies of
the Lebanese government who, worried of permanent
settlement of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, imposed
hard restrictions on them. Housing development was
prohibited, restrictions were enforced on the employment
of Palestinians, and martial law was imposed on refugee
camps. Thus, between 1959 and 1969, no organizations
were permitted to operate in refugee camps. Camps
were put under constant military surveillance, and
severe restrictions were made on the movement and
on the social, economic, and political activities
of the Palestinians.
In addition to these restrictions and limitations,
the Lebanese law prevented the provision of such services
as health and education to non-Lebanese, including
the Palestinian refugees. Thus, in the midst of this
environment, the Palestinians had only UNRWA to rely
on despite the fact that UNRWA’s coverage was
relatively limited both with respect to the services
provided and to the number of people covered.
It was not until 1969 that the situation improved
following the Cairo Declaration, which allowed for
the establishment of institutions and organizations
to serve Palestinian refugees. As a result of this
Declaration, the PLO embarked on a campaign to establish
a number of such institutions and organizations. Camp
committees and a number of other organizations engaged
in health, education, culture, sports, etc. were created
in and around refugee camps.
The PLO organizations and the organizations established
by Palestinian factions had a positive impact on the
living conditions of Palestinians. Unemployment decreased,
health and education facilities were established,
and the living conditions improved compared to the
pre-Cairo Declaration period.
However, after the forced evacuation of the PLO from
Lebanon in 1982, the situation deteriorated both with
regard to the institutions themselves and to the living
conditions of the Palestinian refugees. With the exception
of a few organizations such as the Palestine Red Crescent,
almost all PLO-created organizations collapsed and,
as a result, the Palestinian refugees residing in
camps were left mainly with UNRWA to cater for their
needs. Refugees living in population concentrations
are denied many of the UNRWA services because most
of these concentrations do not enjoy any legal status.
Despite the effort of UNRWA and other organizations,
the conditions of the Palestinian refugees have evolved
from bad to worse. Housing problems became more acute,
the economy deteriorated, and the social environment
reached an alarmingly unhealthy level.
This environment led many institutions to extend
a helping hand to the refugees. However, only in the
aftermath of the Oslo agreement interest in the refugee
situation in Lebanon increased. As indicated in figure
3, the vast number of organizations working with Palestinian
refugees in Lebanon was established in the 1990s.
To date, there are 46 Arab and 20 foreign NGOs who
assist the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Some provide
multiple services; others are specialized in one sector.
The foreign NGOs’ role is primarily a funding
one, with the exception of a few who are involved
directly with refugees. Arab NGOs are more involved
in the actual provision of services.
The next section will assess the overall conditions
of the Palestinian refugees and will examine the extent
to which the current efforts by the NGO community
contribute to the amelioration of these conditions.
3. Overall Situation
As indicated above, the conditions of the Palestinian
refugees remain very serious in spite of the efforts
of UNRWA and other international and local organizations.
Following are the issues that need to be seriously
addressed and tackled.
3.1.1. Political requirements:
The departure of the PLO from Lebanon left the Palestinians
refugee population a target for revenge and intimidation
by official and non-official Lebanese. They are discriminated
against and their human rights are often violated.
Their camps are constantly under siege by the Lebanese
army and their movement is restricted. In addition,
numerous obstacles are put before the Palestinians
wanting to establish institutions that could help
them improve their living conditions and develop the
various spheres of their lives.
3.1.2. Economic needs:
The economic situation of Palestinian refugees in
Lebanon is very severe. Unemployment rate is extremely
high and it is estimated at 60%-70%. Over 60% of Palestinian
refugees are below the poverty line.(7) Moreover,
36% of refugees are without any source of income.
(7) A report published by UNICEF
in April 2001 sets the median monthly income at US$
200 which is even below the poverty line that is estimated
at US$ 681.
In addition to the obstacles put before the Palestinians
seeking employment, and the severe human, social,
and economic ramifications stemming from the frequent
Israeli shelling of Palestinian refugee camps and
population concentrations, the deepening economic
misery of the Palestinian refugees is attributed to
a number of other factors. First, the Gulf war led
to the loss of a major source of income especially
from the remittances that were sent to families by
Palestinians who used to work in Kuwait and other
Gulf states. Second, the breakdown of the PLO in the
aftermath of the Oslo agreement left many Palestinians
without the support that was usually provided to them
by the PLO. Third, the continuous reduction of UNRWA’s
budget overburdened large segments of the population
who had to pay themselves for the services that would
have been covered by UNRWA otherwise. Fourth, the
lack of adequate and sufficient income generation
programs and efficient vocational training opportunities
prevented many Palestinians from finding a satisfactory
3.1.3. Social needs:
As earlier stated, the social conditions of the Palestinians
in Lebanon are alarming as a result of the severity
of the political and economic conditions they live
under. Housing conditions are very poor and often
unavailable. Whereas the number of refugees increased
by four times, the number of housing units increased
only in areas outside refugee camps because the Lebanese
government forbids housing construction inside camps.
Moreover, the internal displacement of around six
thousand families left many people without proper
The problems facing the youth is one of the major
challenges confronting any effort at easing the suffering
of the Palestinians in Lebanon. The youth in camps
live under severe conditions. Educational opportunities
are very limited, future employment is gloomy for
them, and the economic conditions of their families
are rather difficult. This environment, coupled with
the absence of any cultural or youth activities inside
the camps, puts great stress on the refugee youth
who, as a result, resort to violent and anti-social
behavior. They are distrustful of all foreigners.
This distrust is reflected on the relations they have
with various organizations and projects that are active
in the camp setting.
Youth organizations, especially clubs, also suffer
from lack of facilities. Of the forty-one clubs, twenty-three
are sports clubs and eighteen are primarily cultural
and social clubs. Most of the twenty three sports
clubs do not have any playgrounds nor proper trainers,
and most clubs do not have real headquarters nor do
they have any financial resources.
In addition to the problems of the youth, the increasing
number of Palestinians immigrating to Europe and the
United States has had its toll on many families who
were left alone without support.
The problems facing the thousands of children of
martyrs are also a major issue that requires serious
consideration. Many of these children are exposed
to psychological and psychosocial disturbances whose
implications can reach every segment of society and
every facet of life.
3.1.4. Health and education
184.108.40.206. Health The cost of medical treatment is very high, and
secondary health care is rarely covered or subsidized.
Moreover, there is scarcity in health human resources
and in medical equipment.
The current available services do not cover all the
Palestinians in Lebanon as indicated in table 1 below:
Table 1: Health coverage by various service
providers according to gender
In addition to the shortages in coverage, significant
services are not provided by UNRWA: kidney dialysis,
open heart surgery, cancer, venereal diseases, and
some laboratory utilities such as a CAT scan are nonexistent.
In addition, geriatric treatment is also not available.
Bad sanitation and environmental health risks are
also prevalent despite the efforts of UNRWA. Sewage
treatment is not optimal, and drinking water is not
available to all.
The educational system faces major shortcomings, most
important of which is that pertaining to dropouts,
especially in the secondary level where the rate reaches
35%. The high dropout rate is correlated with severe
social problems amongst the youth.
In addition, vocational schools are neither sufficient
nor properly distributed. Graduates of these schools
rarely find adequate employment because the experience
earned in these institutions does not always qualify
them for adequate employment.
The educational system is also deficient in cultural,
extra-curricular and summer activities. Consequently,
children do not find places for leisure or for spending
their spare time except on the streets where they
are often exposed to damaging influences.
The overpopulation in camps, the long years of war
and violent conflict, and the lack of cooperation
by the Lebanese government puts a heavy burden on
UNRWA who is already suffering from budget cuts. Many
roads need maintenance, electricity supply and telephone
lines are not sufficiently adequate to meet the growing
increase in population.
3.2. What are the responses and by whom?
The actors involved in the provision of services to
refugee camps can be divided into four main categories:
UNRWA, the PLO, foreign NGOs, and local NGOs.
The role of UNRWA in the provision of services can
be classified in the following services: education,
health, and social services.
In the educational sector, UNRWA’s role was
rather fundamental. It has 73 elementary and primary
schools, two secondary schools and one vocational
training institute. During the 1997-1998 scholastic
year, over 38,000 students were enrolled in the elementary
and primary schools, and over 600 students in their
secondary schools. As for UNRWA’s only training
college, the Siblin Institute, there are approximately
600 students who are enrolled in its two-year program.
UNRWA is also involved in higher education through
its scholarship program. In 1997-1998, over one hundred
academically distinguished students benefited from
UNRWA’s health services are equally significant
and its role in this sector is also the most prominent.
These services cover the main health categories: primary
health care, secondary health care, and environmental
The provision of primary health care to Palestinian
refugees in Lebanon is the most comprehensive of UNRWA’s
health services. They cover almost all refugee camps
and concentrations and they are run and administered
by UNRWA itself.
There are 18 UNRWA run health centers, 6 health posts
that cater primarily to mother and child health, pediatrics,
school health, health education, as well as treatment
of contagious and non-contagious diseases. In addition,
UNRWA has 24 specialized clinics, 17 clinics for dental
care, 15 clinics for non-contagious diseases, 15 laboratories,
and 3 x-ray centers.
As for secondary health care, particularly hospitalization
services, UNRWA’s role is performed through
contracts made with Lebanese hospitals scattered all
over Lebanon: 3 in Beirut, 3 in Sidon, 1 in Tyre,
and 1 in the Beqaa Valley.
Regarding environmental hygiene, UNRWA’s contribution
is very essential. As it is the case in refugee camps
in Jordan and in the Palestinian territories, garbage
collection, supply of clean water, pest control, and
wastewater management are tasks carried out by UNRWA.
220.127.116.11. Social services
In addition to the provision of health and education
services to Palestinian refugees, UNRWA is also active
in the provision of other services in the social sector
and in humanitarian relief. UNRWA’s relief and
social services target hardship cases, in particular.
In 1998, approximately 10.3% of Palestinian refugees
in Lebanon benefited from this program, which includes
maintenance of households, supply of foodstuff, and
poverty alleviation whereby hardship cases are granted
3.2.2. The Palestine Liberation Organization
The PLO, along with other Palestinian factions, plays
a significant role in the provision of services to
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Unlike in other countries,
the PLO, as a result of the 1969 Cairo Agreement with
the Lebanese Government, was mandated to establish
camp committees and organizations to serve the Palestinian
refugees. As such, the PLO’s role was very important
in assisting UNRWA’s tasks. In the education
sector, the PLO covered for some of the gaps that
were not filled by UNRWA. Its impact also covered
other sectors such as the economy, culture and sports.
However after the PLO was forced to leave Lebanon,
most of the PLO’s various institutions deteriorated.
The situation even worsened after the unilateral revocation
of the Cairo Accord by the Lebanese government in
1987 and as a result of the internal splits amongst
the various Palestinian factions. Today the Refugee
Affairs Center, which was the PLO’s main arm
with respect to the provision of services, is defunct,
and the Palestinian Red Crescent’s services
are very limited due to its financial difficulties.
3.2.3. Foreign NGOs
The involvement of foreign organizations was very
limited in the beginning. Before 1982, only two foreign
organizations were engaged in service provision for
Palestinian refugees. By the end of the 1980s, six
organizations established offices in Lebanon to support
various types of assistance and relief to the Palestinian
refugees and to local NGOs working with refugees.
In the 1990s, thirteen organizations became involved
because of the peace process and due to the fact that
restrictions became tighter on Palestinians themselves
to establish local organizations. This became the
practice after the Lebanese government revoked, in
1987, the 1969 Cairo Declaration which gave Palestinians
a free hand to establish organizations and institutions
without having to obtain a license to function.
Today, there are twenty foreign organizations existing
in Lebanon that extend direct or indirect support
to the Palestinian and other local institutions serving
the Palestinian refugees. Moreover, several local
NGOs receive assistance through direct bilateral relations
from other international organizations who have no
physical base in Lebanon.
The main contribution of foreign organizations is
in financing various projects, programs, and services.
Of the above twenty foreign organizations, twelve
provide financial assistance and support to local
organizations. The remainders provide direct services
to the refugees through their own projects. Table
2 below shows the foreign organizations that are active
among Palestinian refugees, and the type of service
Table 2: Foreign NGOs active with Palestinian
refugees according to type of service and beneficiaries
Terre des Homme
Swedish Team for Rehabilitation
Financial support/ disabled
Financial support/ disabled
Association for the
development of Palestinian Camps
Norwegian Peoples Aid
Financial support (Vocational
Association of Coordinating
Enfants Refugies du
Financial support &
Financial support for
Red Crescen t/ Women
All local associations
Aid for Palestine (MAP)
Financing medical projects
Aust Care Australia
World Vision International
Financial support/ Culture/
per lo Sviloppo
Financial support/ health
Human Appeal International
Financial support/ Kindergartens/
UNRWA, Local Associations
Financial support/ Health
PRC, Popular Aid for
Relief & Development
Joint Christian Committee
for Social Services
Pharmaciens sans Frontieres
Medicins sans Frontieres
Save the Children (U.K)
Training Courses &
Ajial/ Women Union
As indicated above, most of the support provided
is in the form of financial support to the health
sector (six organizations), children (3 organizations),
disabled (3 organizations), and loans (one organization).
The remaining organizations do not provide financial
support because they run and supervise their own projects.
3.2.4. Local NGOs
There are forty-six local associations in Lebanon
who work directly with Palestinian refugees. Almost
half of them were established in the 1990s. These
associations may be divided into four main types:
licensed associations, associations who have legitimacy
by virtue of their closeness to the PLO, religious
associations, and non-registered associations. Over
forty percent are licensed, another 40% function without
a permit, and the rest are de facto recognized because
of their PLO status or by virtue of their religious
Twelve of these organizations provide services in
all Palestinian population concentrations, fifteen
organizations render services in just one district,
and fifteen organizations work only in a specific
location or refugee camp, and the remaining four provide
their services either in Beirut alone or in the population
concentrations. As indicated in table 3 below, approximately
260 projects are being carried out by the forty-six
Table 3: Distribution of projects in Palestinian
refugee camps and concentrations in Lebanon according
to service provided and location
* Including a hospital.
^Seven projects are not accounted for.
The projects are distributed in almost all areas
and they cover a wide range of services. As indicated
in figure 3, below, approximately 45% of the projects
are engaged in health and in kindergartens. Projects
that focus on economic development or on education
are rather limited in number. Income generation programs
do not exceed three, and vocational training programs
are primarily intended for women with emphasis on
hairdressing, embroidery, etc. Very little effort
is exerted to combat the severe unemployment problem
amongst the youth, in particular, who are in urgent
need for suitable careers that could help them improve
their living conditions and the living conditions
of their parents, and would move them away from future
deviant behavior that is highly prevalent among the
refugee camp youths.
Figure 4, below, provides a good picture regarding
the available services in camps and in other Palestinian
population concentrations. As indicated below, a number
of areas are not covered by basic services while others
are inundated with services. A case in point is kindergartens.
Whereas Nahr Al-Bared refugee camp, for example, has
9 kindergartens, Mieh Mieh refugee camp has only one.
Similarly, the coastal line is almost without any
significant services, although the Palestinians in
these areas do not benefit sufficiently from UNRWA
because the UN organizations do not recognize them
as refugee camps. Similarly, while there are five
vocational training programs in Al-Buss refugee camp,
none is available in Al-Rashidieh refugee camp.
The mal-distribution of services in the camps is
a symptom of a major problem that characterizes the
work of the NGOs in Lebanon. More specifically, there
is a definite lack of planning and coordination and
an improper utilization of available resources amongst
The following section will outline the major problems
and obstacles confronting the NGOs efforts, on the
one hand, and the refugees who are in need of such
services, on the other hand.
3.3. What are the uncovered needs and
3.3.1. Prioritization and planning
Rarely are programs and projects based on proper
planning and on the basis of sound research.
Coordination is non-existent amongst some groups
and ineffective amongst others.
Almost half the associations (22 in total) operate
more than 50 kindergartens, whereas only 5 organizations
merely provide services for the 5-13 year age group.
Not a single organization caters for the 13-17 year
3.3.2. Duplication of work
Often an oversupply of a specific service comes
at the expense of others. For example, there are
many organizations that have kindergartens, very
few cater for the youth and for the old.
Lack of coordination between organizations such
as UNRWA and the Palestinian Red Crescent undermine
the proper utilization of resources and hence lead
to duplication of some services while neglecting
others. For example, some camps have UNRWA and PRC
clinics whilst other Palestinian concentrations
3.3.3. Coordination and cooperation between
Despite the efforts to coordinate between the
various Palestinian NGOs (Palestinian NGO Forum
and the Meeting of Palestinian NGO in Sydon), the
lack of coordination persists. For example, data
and other information about the disabled (those
caused by birth or due to war) can be easily reached
and, hence, planning programs to target these groups
are not difficult once information is shared between
the relevant organizations. The inability to address
this and other issues, therefore, underlines the
weaknesses of coordination and cooperation between
In general, organizations tend to make their
plans in isolation and without consideration to
the work of other organizations working in similar
Absence of coordination between Palestinian and
3.3.4. Structure and mode of management
In general, organizations are run by a single
individual whose decision is usually final.
The domineering approach of management prevents
collective decision-making. This ultimately leads
to a level of frustration and indifference on the
part of the rest of the staff and their unwillingness
to take initiatives.
As a result of the domineering management approach,
an atmosphere of accusations and uncertainties often
cloud the work of the organizations and impede their
Public participation in decision-making is absent,
thus many organizations loose the opportunity of
vital voluntary work.
Some directors of organizations benefit financially
from their respective organizations at the expense
of service provision. This issue often leads to
public distrust of NGOs and, consequently, to further
decline in the overall developmental efforts.
3.3.5. Distribution of services
Services are often distributed without consideration
to the needs. For example in Al-Buss refugee camp
which has nine thousand inhabitants, there are 14
projects: Burj Al-Shamali camp has only 20 projects
although its population is seventeen thousand. This
mal-distribution is also indicative of bad planning
and lack of coordination. The same is evident in
other camps such as Al-Jalil and al-Badawwi. In
the former there are 14 projects, while the later
has 21 even though the population of Al-Badawi is
8,000 inhabitants more than Al-Jalil.
Population concentrations rarely enjoy services.
Not only does UNRWA refrain from providing services
to these concentrations, NGOs also avoid working
there. The entire coastal line between Sidon and
Tyre, for example, has only seven organizations
with a mere 11 projects between them.
3.3.6. Financial resources
Most organizations depend on foreign sources rather
than on locally generated ones. This state of affairs
renders them vulnerable to the political agendas
of the funding agencies.
Reliance on foreign funding often restricts the
proper provision of services. Once funds stop, many
projects seize to exist.
Many projects are initiated on the basis of the
demands of the funding agencies and not on the basis
of priorities and needs.
3.3.7. Non-existence of services
There is a great demand of services targeting
Cultural and extracurricular activities.
Sports and cultural facilities are very scarce.
Centers for rehabilitating juvenile delinquents.
Effective vocational training centers that can
assist graduates to find suitable employment.
Health services, primarily secondary health care,
are very deficient.
Many services are not available in several areas
while available in others (health centers, youth
centers, centers for the disabled, etc.).
Income generation programs are very limited and
they are restricted to very limited areas.
Projects targeting old people are non-existent,
except for one run by the Womens Humanitarian
A comprehensive survey
to assess the actual needs of the refugees with
respect to their economic, health, and social conditions
and to determine the priorities. Available research
focuses more on what is done and less on what should
NGOs is essential in the proper prioritizing of
needs and in a more efficient utilization of available
resources. Coordination will help in reducing duplication
of work and will consequently produce more services
to a wider public. However, in order for coordination
amongst NGOs to be effective, the following conditions
All NGOs need to
be involved in this coordination effort and no
organization should be privileged with a veto
to be transparent and information and capabilities
need to be shared.
Membership in the
various committees needs to be based on democratic
principles. It is important to alternate members
and to keep bringing in new ideas.
It is important
to separate between the political agendas of various
groups and the services rendered. Political disagreements
often occur at the expense of the services they
are expected to provide.
On the basis of studies
conducted by various bodies, special emphasis needs
to be targeted to the following:
programs to help in reducing the alarming unemployment
rate of over 60%.
needs to be given to the hardship cases which
UNRWA estimates to comprise 11% of the Palestinian
refugee population. Consideration also needs to
be given to the 60% of the Palestinians who are
below the poverty line.
As a result of high
unemployment and severe economic problems, the
young segments of the population are exposed to
a number of serious problems and social drawbacks
that need to be seriously considered: drug use
and other social misdemeanors, emigration and
the exploitation of youth, violent tendencies,
etc. Accordingly, it is believed that sports centers,
cultural activities, and educational initiatives
can be instrumental in curtailing these difficulties
and other social problems associated with the
be placed given to the thousands of families who
were displaced from their homes in the camps destroyed
during the Lebanese civil war and whose living
conditions remain miserable.
for the "Emergency Fund Association"
which helps in covering medical costs for refugees
is urgently needed.
Improvement of the
various infrastructure facilities in camps.
The overall health
care system needs to be seriously addressed especially
in disease prevention. Improvement in the health
care system in this respect will help in reducing
the general cost of medical treatment.
More reliance on
internally generated financial sources will enable
many service providers to be more independent
and free in planning and programming their activities.
has to be based on merit and not on nepotism or
NGOs should publish
annual reports on their projects and financial
Beneficiaries need to be more involved in setting
and determining the activities of institutions.
This can be achieved by properly and scientifically
assessing the needs of the refugee population and
by candid interaction between the institutions and
Union of Palestinian Workers
Medical Aid for Palestine
Arab Women Union
Palestine Liberation Organization
Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian