This week B.C. & Mordant welcome Scott Anderson, Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank. In this episode, Scott takes listeners inside his role serving Palestinian refugees.
UNRWA operates across 5 field offices including the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. In the West Bank, UNRWA has 900,000 refugees registered and spread across 19 camps. Communities are fragmented and blocked from access to basic services. Every day is a challenge and the simplest movement requires permits upon permits. “It’s a state of perpetual minor turbulence,” he says.
“Parts of the West Bank are devoid of governance,” he explains about the work UNRWA is doing. “We provide a stabilizing influence, in addition to providing education for grades 1-9, primary healthcare for all our refugees and provide interventions to address food insecurity.”
In this installment of the What a Relief! Podcast, Scott shares the challenges and successes of his job, and most of all, the incredible need for help in the region.
“Despite the difficulties, we have some successes,” he says, “particularly with education, which is, in my opinion and the opinion of the Palestinians, our number one program because it does set the stage for the future.”
Beyond education, there is a focus on food assistance via vouchers, e-cards and cash-for-work programs. The organization strives to address challenges with poverty and unemployment that run deep—many refugees are now 5th or 6th generation.
Tune in to hear about the partnerships UNRWA and IRUSA have had in the past, along with touching personal stories that Scott has experienced in his field. “You get to know the people. You can visit their home, you can meet their family,” he says.
“We’re working for a better future for Palestine refugees and the neighbors they live next to. We will be here until there is a just and durable solution to their plight.”
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