Palestinian refugee women. (File photo)
UNRWA has commemorated the International Women’s Day under the theme “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World”, honouring the Agency’s female staff in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“Today, allow me to thank all female UNRWA staff for their invaluable contribution to the global fight against COVID-19”, said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini. “I would like to pay particular tribute to the thousands of Palestine refugee women working tirelessly at the frontline who stepped up to make a tremendous contribution to their community”.
“I am meeting with senior female staff in Gaza today to share my gratitude in person”, said Lazzarini. “Immediately after the onset of the pandemic, Gaza was the first field to establish telemedicine, now serving more than 5000 patients a day under the leadership of Dr. Ghada Al Jadba. I will also have the chance to meet with Dr. Randa Zaqoot, field Family Health Officer in Gaza. Dr. Zaqoot and health staff across all our fields worked tirelessly to ensure child immunization and ante-natal support to Palestine refugee women and families continuously through the pandemic, making sure no one is left behind”.
“Our frontline female area, camp and community services officers (watch video here) our 15,500 female teachers and education staff and our more than 200 female social workers are vital to our mission: from bringing education to children to their homes, to promoting digital access for girls and boys, to delivering on our commitment to support survivors of gender-based violence”, he added.
Lazzarini said the pandemic has also underlined the disproportionate burdens that women carry globally, both in the home, where they often act as primary caregivers for children and the elderly, and within their professions, with women more often employed in health and other social sectors.
However, the Agency’s capacity to support a truly equitable recovery is also a question of sustainability. UNRWA has called for US$ 1.5 billion to fund its essential services, emergency appeals and priority projects in 2021, yet the Agency’s financial situation remains precarious, affecting all, including frontline female staff.