ANERA CEO urges US to restore Palestine Aid
Anera urges U.S. Government to Revise or Reverse Decision on Pulling Aid to Palestinians. Anera President and CEO Sean Carroll is available for a limited number of interviews to discuss the cuts to Anera’s programming serving refugees and other vulnerable populations in Gaza and the West Bank.
USAID’s abrupt decision to end all of their West Bank/Gaza programming by January 31, 2019 means that Anera’s Palestinian Community Infrastructure Development (PCID) program will be ending 11 months earlier than scheduled and over 100,000 Palestinians could be deprived of promised access to safe water, health facilities, education and playgrounds. This decision also puts on hold a 40-plus-year partnership between Anera and USAID.
Anera’s USAID-funded PCID program has six community infrastructure projects underway in the West Bank and Gaza and, with programming unexpectedly due to halt at the end of January, only one will likely reach full completion. Anera had also planned, pending funding approval, three additional projects in Gaza to meet emergency needs. The organization is currently negotiating with USAID for time to complete all six ongoing projects and advocating for time to start and complete the three pending Gaza projects.
The cuts will also force Anera to lay off two-thirds of its staff and close two of its offices in Palestine. Non-USAID programs will continue as planned, with funding from institutional and individual donors. Anera will still build schools, install water networks, provide medicines to charitable clinics, foster women’s economic empowerment, and help small family farmers. However, the end of Anera’s larger USAID-funded infrastructure projects in Palestine will cut off thousands of people living in vulnerable conditions from life-changing interventions. The nine USAID projects combined, for instance, would provide more than 114,000 people with access to safe water, education, health services and a playground for Gaza’s children.
“We don’t want any of these projects stranded and incomplete,” says Anera President Sean Carroll. “Who wants to be the one to go the communities we have worked hard with to develop needed projects, and say to a family, ‘sorry, you will not have access to safe water as we discussed.’ Or to a group of young boys on the street in Gaza, excited about the prospect of a new park in their crowded neighborhood, ‘sorry, but we’re not building your park after all.’ Or say to a young girl, ‘sorry, you won’t able to go to high school now, because we don’t have the funding anymore.’”
Anera is currently working with other donors to fund the completion of these projects, but it is hard to replace the larger-scale funding we received from USAID. The closing of USAID’s mission in Palestine ends a productive relationship that stretches back to the 1970s. Anera and USAID have worked very successfully together to provide relief as well as sustainable, long-term health, education, and economic development in vulnerable Palestinian communities across the region and in the West Bank and Gaza.
We hope to return to our longstanding partnership with USAID in the near future.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, the TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appeare in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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