Bank of Palestine and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a partnership in support of youth and children in Palestine. The signing ceremony was held at Bank of Palestine’s main headquarters in Ramallah in the presence of Mr. Hashim Shawa, the Chairman of Bank of Palestine Group, Ms. Genevieve Putin, the UNICEF representative in Palestine, heads of departments and managers at Bank of Palestine Group and several individuals from the media and press.

Based on the agreement, cooperation will be established between Bank of Palestine and the UNICEF within the framework of “Generation Unlimited” initiative, which is a global partnership that aims to ensure that every young person is in some form of school, learning, training or employment by the year 2030. The initiative is a partnership between the private sector, government, international, local and youth organizations who all work together to identify three main priorities:

  1. Secondary age education
  2. Skills for planning employability and decent work
  3. Empowerment, with a focus on girls.

Both parties will work together to implement campaigns that include activities such as spreading awareness about children’s rights, natural nursing and nutrition, early childhood care and growth, designated places for children, schools and local communities, enhancing access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene, prevention and protection from violence against children, and the participation of children in these activities.

Financial inclusion will also form part of the activities agreed upon between both parties, in order to empower youth to participate and benefit from financial services provided by financial institutions, build their capacities and provide them with financial support. The activities also include the provision of financial awareness for less advantaged groups and increase their abilities to save. Based on the agreement, both parties will indulge in the exchange of information, expertise and initiatives that promote the wellbeing of employees, mutual understanding, building synergy and promoting children’s rights, especially through sports events, participation in cultural activities, and use of bank facilities to achieve these goals.   

Mr. Hashim Shawa, the Chairman of Bank of Palestine Group, expressed his enthusiasm about signing this memorandum of understanding with an important organization like UNICEF, considering it a step towards achieving higher goals that serve the Palestinian society, its children and youth. Shawa pointed out that this agreement stems from the Bank’s belief in supporting youth and children in Palestine. He stated that “the bank grants special importance to youth through its banking activities and programs and as part of its corporate social responsibility,” and “its projects are developed annually to reach the highest number of beneficiaries through its partnerships with various civil society organizations, to enable youth to work, become productive and effectively participate in the growth and development of the economy.”

Shawa also stated that the bank allocates approximately 5% of its annual profits to corporate social responsibility initiatives, which are distributed across several sectors especially, education, health, youth and creativity. Among the initiatives supported by the bank is the establishment of the first Palestinian National Youth Orchestra in partnership with the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, the launch of the Zamalah Fellowship Program to support education at Palestinian universities, contribution for the establishment of around 35 children’s parks as part of the Bayyara Project, providing sponsorship for the Wajd Program to support orphans in the Gaza Strip, and sponsorship for Palestinian women’s football.  

Ms. Genevieve Putin, the UNICEF representative in Palestine, stressed the UNICEF’s belief in the importance of providing youth with the necessary life skills and tools that contributing to improving their lives. According to Putin, “this will produce a new generation of citizens who are economically independent, completely engaged in civic life, and have the capacity to contribute effectively to the community and the state-building process.” This agreement with Bank of Palestine, one of the most important private sector institutions in Palestine, according to Putin, “is a practical step towards achieving this goal.” She also added that the UNICEF and Bank of Palestine will strive to assist youth in obtaining the necessary professional education that would secure a better and promising future.

UNICEF Palestine supports children’s rights by providing services and protection to children from early childhood to adolescence, and providing all children in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem with equal opportunities to realize their capacities. 

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