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Spotlight on Education Efforts in Restricted Areas of the West Bank

Published 05/08/2013 by Global Communities

Spotlight on Education Efforts in Restricted Areas of the West Bank

Dhaher Al Abed, Jenin Governorate

Wasim at his new school.    
“The [old] school was only two rooms. There weren’t any bathrooms. There was no playground for you to relax… I am proud of this new school. That it was built.” 
—Wasim Ala Omar Kamal Amarni, 14 years, a young student from Dhaher Al Abed
As Wassim explains, the fact that Global Communities/CHF, with funding and critical support from USAID, was able to build a new co-ed primary and secondary school in Dhaher Al-Abed, a small village 30 kilometers southwest of Jenin City, is indeed something to be proud of.
Following the Oslo Interim Agreement, the West Bank was divided into three areas: A, B, and C. Dhaher Al Abed is in Area C, the largest of the areas that comprises more than 60% of the West Bank and is under full Israeli civil and security control.
Citing security concerns, the Israeli Civil Administration does not permit building in 70% of Area C and requires permits be obtained before construction on a further 29%. Though acquiring such permits can be a challenge, the U.S. Government, particularly USAID and the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, was able to obtain a permit for Global Communities to construct the new school. 
As a result, about 125 students, including Wasim, are now enjoying a comfortable educational environment in line with Ministry of Education standards in the West Bank. Instead of two classrooms in a building that suffered from major damage and overcrowding, there are now nine classrooms in a brand new building. Outdoor sanitary stalls have been replaced by two bathroom facilities, one for girls and one for boys, that are both handicap accessible and within the school building itself. The classrooms are complemented by new laboratories, a canteen, library, and extensive play area with a basketball court. 

Dhaher Al Abed School before

Dhaher Al Abed School after

Ad Deirat, Hebron Governorate

Completed school in Ad Deirat 
“Less than two months before we obtained the permit, we received notification from the Israeli Authorities that we could not use the classrooms we had built.”  
—Mohammed Makhamreh, Head of the local village council for Khallat Al Maiyya
Prior to Global Communities and USAID’s involvement in expanding and renovating Ad Deirat Co-Educational School, the village, located 25 kilometers south of Hebron, had moved forward with expanding the school without prior approval from the Israeli Civil Administration. As a result, they received notification that they could not finish or use the additional floor they had built, leaving the school with only four classrooms for about 170 students.            
Because of this experience, Mr. Makhamreh said, “I was shocked when we were able to get the permit to renovate the whole school, and add an additional floor,” resulting in the completion of the four classrooms the village council had begun building, renovation of the original four classrooms on the ground floor, an additional floor with one more classroom, a library, and science laboratory, and a full scale play area with basketball court.
Under the Local Government & Infrastructure (LGI) Program funded by USAID, Global Communities has thus far built or rehabilitated four schools and three more are in progress.  USAID and Global Communities will continue to invest in Area C school construction under LGI through 2015.

Ad Deirat school classroom before

Ad Deirat school classroom after

Ad Deirat playground before

Ad Deirat playground after