United against COVID-19: An ongoing emergency campaign launched by UAWC

United against COVID-19 is an ongoing emergency campaign launched by UAWC aimed to contribute to the recovery of the pandemic’s repercussions

According to UAWC’s developmental philosophy, which was raised with its slogan (We protect our land and we support our farmers), and from the first moment the state of emergency was announced as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Palestine and in the entire world, UAWC mobilized all its staff and agricultural committees in various regions of the West Bank from its north to its south, in order to support small scale farmers and their families. Through its campaign “United Against COVID-19”, UAWC was able to reach 9354 families; where it distributed 1,490 hygiene kits, 358,000 vegetable seedlings, and 855 food parcels. In addition to contributing to the delivery of vegetable parcels to 3,000 families in Bethlehem, where the outbreak of the virus started.

During the first phases of its campaign, UAWC targeted families who live in remote and marginalized areas where no medical services or government health care are provided. UAWC’s staff were able to reach 1,490 families of small scale farmers and livestock breeders in 85 Bedouin communities that are distributed all through the different governorates in the West Bank, especially in Jordan Valley and the south. On another hand, UAWC has organized a donation campaign for Bethlehem and its suburbs where the entire city was under obligatory self-quarantine. This resulted in a lack of food and the basic needs of families. Through this emergency campaign, a convoy of three trucks loaded with essential vegetable varieties was sent to the city. The vegetables were collected from farmers and agricultural cooperative in the governorates of Qalqilya, Jenin, Jericho, and the Jordan Valley.

These trucks were loaded with 40 tons of vegetables distributed to 3,000 families in Bethlehem. In connection with the concept of food sovereignty and from UAWC’s deep attention to transforming this concept from a slogan that was raised 17 years ago to a reality that all Palestinians practice in the countryside, cities, and camps, UAWC has participated in the campaign launched by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture in cooperation with PAIC (Palestinian Agricultural Institutions Coalition) which revolved around the distribution of one million vegetable seedlings to families in different areas in the West Bank, with the purpose of encouraging them to go back to the land and cultivating home gardens. UAWC’s role was very prominent in the campaign as it worked on distributing 400 thousand vegetable seedlings to a total of four thousand families distributed along 110 locations in the West Bank. The Local Seed Bank by UAWC has contributed to providing 122 thousand vegetable seedlings with the goal of enabling farmers to produce their own food in order to reinforce the concept of food sovereignty.

As a result of the continuation of the state of emergency, which was extended for three months in a row, numerous families were heavily affected. This is why UAWC followed a unique way of studying the needs of communities and locations of families who lost their sources of income, especially agricultural and local workers. In order to determine their needs, a survey was conducted to clarify the items that are the most essential to each family, then to deliver them. This was done through providing each family with food parcels which contents were designed by the families themselves, and based on that survey, about 900 food parcels were distributed to 32 communities and locations in the West Bank.

UAWC ended the fourth stage of its campaign by targeting more than 227 communities in various governorates of the West Bank, and the work continues to implement its programs and projects that serve its vision and mission in supporting the resilience of small farmers, protecting land, and contributing to the consolidation of the concept of food sovereignty as a basic lever towards self-sufficiency and national liberation.

Despite the current difficult circumstances, UAWC will continue its campaign in the upcoming period with the aim of supporting farmers to contribute as much as possible to the recovery from the repercussions of the Corona pandemic.