For the World Health Day, UNRWA celebrates Ms. Obeid, named the 2022 Earth Prize Educator of the Year. Ms Obeid, a teacher at the UNRWA Sweileh Preparatory Girls’ School in Jordan, was selected by the WEEC’s Secretary General Professor Mario Salomone.
Dr Oroba Labadi, Chief pf the UNRWA Field Education Program, underlines the importance of raising students’ awareness towards global environmental causes, “which is not limited to provide basic education but also in enhancing their knowledge, skills and build positive trends towards global environmental causes”.
Indeed, what encouraged Ms Obeid to take part in the competition together with her students was her belief that Palestine refugee students can participate in international competitions and affect change in both local and international communities.
”This award shows the impact of the professional in-service trainings that UNRWA regularly provides to us.” Ms Obeid Said.
UNRWA and SDG 13 – Climate Action
Across its fields of operation, the UNRWA plays a key role in addressing environmental protection issues within the Palestine refugee community and has an obligation to minimize the negative environmental impact of its own operations. In addition, the Agency is prioritizing a range of environmental protection efforts that include for instance the installation of energy saving equipment, such as solar panels, water heaters and LED fittings, in a number of schools, health centres and other installations, as well as safe disposal of medical waste.
Measures to protect water resources and improve environmental health in Palestine refugee camps are also being undertaken including the development of an integrated solid waste management system that will serve all Palestine refugee camps in Lebanon and the installation of solar power systems in 80 schools and six health clinics in Gaza.
The Agency is also exploring current environmental behaviours and teaching practices in its schools and classrooms in order to see how to strengthen and build upon these practices in a coordinated and coherent way. Developing capacity of Palestine refugee youth in the design, manufacture and servicing of renewable energy technology and energy efficiency devices is important for job creation and stimulating the green economy. UNRWA has recently introduced courses on energy efficiency at its vocational training centres in Gaza and will look to expand these to other fields based on lessons learned.
Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, UNRWA was established by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees. The Agency began operations on 1 May 1950.
In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA’s mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2023
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States. UNRWA also receives some funding from the Regular Budget of the United Nations, which is used mostly for international staffing costs.
The Agency’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict.