PROVIDING BASIC NEEDS IN BETHLEHEM IN THE TIME OF COVID-19
|Country||Occupied Palestinian Territory of the West Bank|
|Project Name||COVID 19 response; Support vulnerable families with Food and Medical in Bethlehem|
|Programme project is part of||The project is a part of the ongoing overall ministry of the Shepherd Society.|
|Expected Start Date||1st July 2020|
|Expected Completion Date||31st December 2020|
|Total Proposed Budget||Medicine||Surgeries||Food Packages|
|Total Donor Contribution||Total $US 88,890|
|No. of Direct Beneficiaries||Food: 500 families (500 x 4) – total 2,000
Medical: 225 individuals
|No. of Indirect Beneficiaries|
|Prepared by:||Sari Zeidan|
|Program Manager||Shireen Hilal|
|Finance Officer||Roula Hanania|
|Date Submitted||May 2020|
|Project Manager||Sari Zeidan|
Increasing poverty due to the political situation has been a challenge for so many families in Palestine. As a result of the unemployment the Shepherd society has been working directly with vulnerable families. We have been running such project for over 20 years. This project comprises assistance with food and medical care for people in Bethlehem who are in poverty. This group requires assistance during ‘normal’ times. However, with the arrival of Covid-19, their situation has worsened. Fifty per cent of Bethlehem’s workers are affected due to the town’s dependence on the tourist and hospitality industries. Medical care and medical insurance are expensive. There are some gaps in the government health services, which are filled by private health care. Therefore, regular health care is beyond the reach of the poorer sector. This project fulfills the overall programme objectives of offering relief and service to those in need in our community.
Those to benefit from the project will be selected based on criteria developed by the Shepherd Society. These criteria include: level of poverty; families directly affected by Covid-19; larger families or those headed by a woman; individuals living with chronic disease, unable to afford medical costs; the elderly who live alone. Specifically, within a six-month period, this project aims to:
- Provide 1500 food parcels for 500 families
- Provide medicine costs for 180 people
- Provide the cost for surgical operations for 45 individuals
To provide for these needs can ensure the health and wellbeing of a sector of the population who would otherwise find it difficult to thrive. The wellbeing of health strengthens the people concerned. They are then more in a position to take up gainful employment after the Covid-19 crisis, should it become available, to enable them to provide for themselves.
ASSESSMENT, BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION
The Shepherd Society has grown out of a need within the wider community. It developed as the social outreach branch of the Bethlehem Bible College, and is approached by potential beneficiaries for assistance. Assessment of the needs of these individuals and families by the Shepherd Society is aided by the fact that the beneficiaries are local to Bethlehem. As the Shepherd Society is a local organisation, and staff live in the town, it is not difficult to verify the situation of individuals and families who apply for assistance. The Shepherd Society was established in 1996, when it was recognised that this service was needed in Bethlehem. The organisation comes to know those they support. The population of Bethlehem is around 60,000, of Muslim and Christian faiths. Beneficiaries are of both faiths. Households are usually headed by men.
The needs of the poorer sector of the population of Bethlehem has its roots in the history and politics of the region. With the war in 1948 refugees moved to this area. Today, there are three refugee camps in Bethlehem (Al Azza, Dheisheh and Ayda). The population of the West Bank, in which Bethlehem is situated, has been under military occupation since 1967. This has had an impact on the wellbeing of the occupied people, due to restricted access to resources and services, and reduced opportunities for employment and development. During ‘normal’ times unemployment in the West Bank runs at around 17 per cent. This has greatly increased with the impact of Covid-19. Poverty level is normally 1450 ILS ($415) per month – this decrease during these times of Covid-19.
Projects of the Shepherd Society include: family to family sponsorship; food parcels; medical aid; microfinance for income generating projects; service to refugees in Jordan. In this time of Covid-19, emphasis is being placed on food and medical aid.
With the advent of Covid-19, the needs of the people of Bethlehem (and the West Bank generally) has greatly increased, and will only increase more in coming weeks. Bethlehem is dependent on visitors, who have been absent since March 2020. The lockdown imposed on 5th March prevented people going to work. The area is now in its third month of quarantine, although measures have relaxed a little since early May. Schools, colleges, churches and mosques remain closed, as do hotels, restaurants and cafes. Movement is restricted to the town.
This particular project is a part of the ongoing work of the Shepherd Society. It is being established to increase the output of the organisation in the wake of increased need due to Covid-19. Beneficiaries will be selected based on criteria developed by the Shepherd Society:
- Level of poverty (poverty level normally 1450 ILS per month – with coronavirus less than this).
- Family who has lost income because of Covid-19.
- Household headed by female.
- Number of family members greater than 4.
- Those who have chronic disease and are unable to cover medical expenses.
- Seniors who live alone, with no income.
The Shepherd Society works alongside nine other local organisations to provide for the needs of people of the town. They sometimes share high costs, such as surgical operations.
Families in greatest need are supported with the most basic need of food. Medical assistance is required by those on low income because health costs are very high in Palestine. Many people do not have medical insurance, because they cannot afford it. Some health services are not available at government hospitals, and private medicine is even more expensive. Children of 0 – 14 years make up 39.6 per cent of the Palestinian population, and many suffer from a weak immune system. Poor families cannot provide regular medication. Due to poor living conditions and poor diet there is a high incidence of chronic conditions.
PROJECT FRAMEWORK AND DESCRIPTION
In six months, this project aims to provide:
- 1500 food parcels* for 500 families
- Support 250 families: one parcel per month, in first three months
- Support 250 families: one parcel per month, in second three months
- Contribution to fees for 45 surgical operations
- Medicine / medical procedure costs** for 180 individuals
- To contribute to sustain the lives of the vulnerable families in Bethlehem affected by Covid 19 during the coming 6 months.
*Each parcel consists: rice, flour, oil, salt, sugar, macaroni, canned tomato, peas, vegetables, milk, eggs and fruit, together with some meat. If the family has children, especially babies, we provide nappies and milk. Most of the parcels contain the day to day needs of each family.
** medicines for people with chronic illness (e.g.: diabetes, cardiac, etc.); payment of lab test fees; cost of audiology bills / hearing aids; physiotherapy sessions; cost of X-rays, CAT scans and MRI scans.
To attain goal, activities include:
- Assessment of applications for assistance
- Purchase of foods
- Distribution of food parcels
- Assessment of requests for medical aid
- Purchase of medication
- Payment of medical costs
- Liaison with other organisations to share high medical costs (surgery)
- Follow up to check wellbeing of families / individuals
- Sufficient people to implement project
- Sufficient funding to implement project
MITIGATION OF RISK
- If funding insufficient, reshape project to address needs of as many people as funding will allow
- Volunteers and participants from different churches (Evangelical and traditional churches)
Provision of food and medical aid address the basic needs of the poorer sector of the community of Bethlehem. These complement each other, and work together to help the sustenance and development of healthy individuals. If these individuals are to have productive employment the future, they must maintain good health. These basic needs are particularly acute during these times of Covid-19.
The activities of this project are activities that the Shepherd Society carries out on a regular basis. Extra funding is applied for at this time to address increased poverty during this time of increased need due to Covid-19. It is anticipated that, with the re-opening of Bethlehem and return to economic activity, a number of the beneficiaries of this particular project will be able to return to employment and generate income to sustain themselves. With regard to those who are more vulnerable due to illness or inability to work, we anticipate we will be able to continue to assist them through other regular funding sources, as we have in the past.
MONITORING AND EVALUATION PLAN
The Shepherd Society holds an advantage when ministering to the people of Bethlehem. It is an organisation based in Bethlehem, staffed by people from Bethlehem and has been running since 1996. This greatly facilitates both assessment of needs and evaluation of impact of project. The beneficiaries are either known by the organisation, or their situation can easily be checked. The Shepherd society has a data system where all our beneficiaries are listed with all details needed to cover the background information.
With regard to food parcels, these provide for a basic need. The food is bought and handed to each family. For this project this will be repeated each month for three months for each family, to a total of 500 families.
With regard to medical aid, evidence would be required that each individual needs the medication, test or treatment at hospital, or surgical operation. Medicines are bought by the Shepherd Society, and payment made directly to the hospital for any treatment or test undertaken there. The beneficiaries would be followed up individually, with face to face discussion, to assess benefit of treatment.
A questionnaire will be completed for each beneficiary family or individual. This will be undertaken in the form of an interview. Assessment will be made of both physical and psychological impact of assistance received.
IMPLEMENTATION AND TIMETABLE
This project aims to last for six months.
Already the Shepherd Society is aware to the need in Bethlehem – a need that has increased since the advent of Covid-19. Beneficiaries approach the Shepherd Society. Due to our experience over the past 24 years, we know the extent of the needs of our population. With Covid-19 these needs have greatly increased.
First three months: 250 families provided with food each month for three months.
Second three months: another 250 families provided with food each month for three months.
Purchase of food every few days to ensure it is fresh by making an agreement with few market places where they can provide us with the needed food for our beneficiaries.
Interview of beneficiaries as they apply for assistance.
Interview of beneficiaries when they return each month for another supply of food.
Questionnaire for assessment of impact at the end of the project.
Interview individual when they apply for assistance.
Medicines for chronic illness – once a month for two months with three months (third month beneficiary is asked to provide medication).
Surgical operation / hospital treatment or test – interview beneficiary, obtain evidence of medical need. Pay hospital.
Liaise with partner organisations to cover high cost items (such as surgery).
Questionnaire for assessment of impact at the end of the project.
In addition, the above people are referred to the Shepherd society by hospital, churches, partner organizations, and various NOGs that we have been involved with for some time.
MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION
BETHLEHEM BIBLE COLLEGE – SHEPHERD SOCIETY
– SS staff and volunteers
|Item||unit||Cost per item||Number of items/ cases||Total /6 months|
|Administrative cost||month||366.6 $||6 months||2200$|
|Medical surgeries fees||Fees||142 $||45 cases||6390 $|
|Medicine fees||Fees||100 $||180 cases||18,000$|
|Food Packages||Packages||43$||1500 families||64,500$|
|Rent||Cost per month||800 $||6 months||4800 $|