The Gaza Strip is the most densely populated area in the world. Amid the continuous blockage and economic sanctions on Gaza, the prolonged occupation of Palestine has affected all facets of Palestine life.
The humanitarian consequences of the ongoing crisis in the Gaza Strip continues to impact the lives of two million Palestinians. More than half these people are children below the age of 18. The protracted humanitarian crisis, and its impact on gender and family dynamics, has exacerbated gender-based violence, in all its forms, including sexual violence, intimate partner violence and child marriage. Despite limited understanding of the scope and extent of violence in Gaza, the few studies undertaken on the matter to date, show alarming statistics on various forms of violence.
The results of the “Violence Survey in the Palestinian Society, 2011” indicated that about 51.1% of women in the Gaza Strip, who had ever been married were exposed to one form of violence by their husbands. Another survey conducted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in 2016, found that young people face a range of unprecedented challenges, including unemployment, poverty and lack of job opportunities. This dire situation is accompanied by youth exposure to the risks of negative behaviours, school dropout and high levels of violence, along with various forms of inequity and inclusion and in particular affects young people from vulnerable and marginalised groups.
Therefore, due to the far-reaching impact of violence in Palestinian communities, the Red Crescent has developed a specific community-based health and first aid (CBHFA) programme on interpersonal violence prevention.
Since early 2018, the Irish Red Cross in partnership with Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has been implementing a Violence Prevention project through the CBHFA programme in Gaza. Building on the experiences of the past few years work, the Red Crescent will continue to strengthen its network of 200 community health volunteers in five locations in the Gaza strip to deliver this programme.
The project enhances the concept of violence prevention among children and young people in Gaza through community outreach activities delivered by specially trained volunteers. Volunteer teams raise the issue of interpersonal violence during community sessions, and have open discussions on interpersonal violence, its broader impact on society, and how everyone has a personal responsibility for their actions. Over the coming year, it will directly benefit at least 5,000 people and indirectly help a further 15,000 people.
Ongoing Humanitarian Support
For many years now the Irish Red Cross has worked closely with the Palestine Red Crescent Society providing them with financial and technical support to respond to immediate and longer-term needs in the Gaza Strip.
The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip remains critical and more support is needed to enable Palestinian Red Crescent Society to respond to the immediate needs and continue to provide vital support to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people in a desperate situation. You can contribute to our ongoing efforts to the Irish Red Cross Gaza Appeal.