Zahi Khouri, NDC’s Chairman of the Board of Directors and a businessman with major achievements in Palestine and a firm believer in the entrepreneurial spirit of young Palestinians, commented on news of the award: “The recognition through this award is testament to the incredible capacity of the people of Gaza, amongst severe challenges, to pursue and excel when provided with opportunities to learn and work . The NDC team in Gaza, supported by staff in Al-Ram, showed dedication, creativity and professionalism, which this award duly recognises.”
Worth mentioning is that the 2022 focus of the prize was on Sustainable Development Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth – which aligned with the project in Gaza. NDC competed with around 50 other international organisations and NGOs, and was shortlisted in the top five. Consequently, NDC was declared the winner by a panel of judges.
The idea of the Prize stems from AGFUND’s approach to enhancing development performance and supporting key development projects in order to contribute to efforts to achieve sustainability in development and investment in people. Chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal, the Prize Committee — made up of representatives from five continents — awarded NDC under its second category, specified for projects implemented by national NGOs. Over the past 24 years, the Prince Talal International Prize for Human Development has provided a significant platform for numerous deserving projects, bringing critical issues to the forefront. With 83 winning projects recognized and a total of 1,998 projects nominated for this international award, the Prize has achieved tremendous success and continues to expand its reach and impact each year.
The award will be presented during a ceremony in Dubai this December, where NDC Director Ghassan Kasabreh will receive the prize on behalf of NDC. “The prize is recognition of joint efforts by NDC teams and the World Bank which funded the project,” said Kasabreh. “I would like to thank them for their trust in us to deliver with impact and results.” Emphasising the importance of the entrepreneurship sector in Palestine, Kasabreh noted its capacity to drive economic contributors forward and present new job opportunities. The combination of cash for work and digital opportunities has opened up the job market for various segments of society from various backgrounds. As Gaza as a whole continues to struggle, this project has succeeded in providing multiple effective solutions.
Results of the project include: 5,052 beneficiaries receiving cash-for-work support, 1,309 beneficiaries in the digital employment track, including 416 females, with the majority of project participants continuing to make an income six months after the conclusion of the project – a strong indication of sustainability.
Demonstrating remarkable success, this project responded to the deteriorating economic conditions resulting from political and security instability in the Gaza Strip, which has witnessed a major stalemate and an unprecedented recession involving all sectors. The project aimed to provide targeted youth in the Gaza Strip with temporary financial income, and to increase self-employment opportunities through the internet.
Palestine Avenir for Childhood Foundation – Cerebral Palsy Center – one of the beneficiary NGOs of the project said: "Compared to other projects, this was a unique partnership that enabled good performance regardless of the surrounding circumstances due to high flexibility, active participation in decision-making, respect for roles, and exchange of experiences and knowledge."
The project was implemented during a period where digital work in particular become key to economic growth and job creation following the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. With technology and the internet transcending all geographical and political borders, digitization introduces a new, promising future in a critical, unprecedented time.
This ability to expand opportunities beyond borders was a highlight for many, with one beneficiary stating: “I studied accounting at university, but I was unable to find a job. Thanks to the self-employment training, I am currently working as a remote accountant for a company in Saudi Arabia."
NDC Chairman Zahi Khouri stressed on the importance of providing decent work opportunities for all Palestinians across all sectors, and urged more support from the international donor community. “The support by the World Bank is testament to the impact development projects can have on the economy. It is my hope that with this great news, the NDC team will take this opportunity to continue to persevere and advance their tireless efforts in support of Palestinian NGOs and civil society, bringing progress and relief to Palestine.”
The NGO Development Center (NDC) is a non-profit organization established in response to the need for a sustainable local mechanism that works to provide support to the Palestinian civil sector. NDC works to develop the capabilities of Palestinian NGOs in their provision of quality services, especially for poor and marginalized communities. NDC works to enable partner NGOs to be more sustainable and self-reliant by providing them with financial and technical support.