Support to Village Councils in the West Bank with a focus on Area C

Project completed

SDC will support local government units to improve the delivery of basic services in marginalized rural areas of the West Bank with a focus on Area C. This intervention is consistent with the State-building agenda which forms the basis for SDC development programme in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), the promotion of human rights/international humanitarian law and the alleviation of poverty. It is aligned to the Palestinian Authority’s policy framework for Area C. Its operating modalities are harmonized with like-minded donors in the local governance sector.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Occupied Palestinian Territory
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Human rights
Vocational training
Health education
Protection, access & security
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Vocational training
01.11.2016 - 31.12.2021
CHF  5’030’000

Since their signature (22 years ago), the Oslo Accords have contributed to maintain and aggravate the territorial, social and economic fragmentation of the West Bank. This has taken place in the context of a protracted (almost 50-year) occupation, where opportunities for sustainable development have been consistently hindered by Israel through discriminatory planning and zoning  regime and through legal and practical restrictions of the humanitarian and development space. Palestinian population in Area C (ca. 300’000 persons) lacks proper enjoyment of their basic rights: their access to/control over land and natural resources as well as access to public services have been dramatically constrained. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has dedicated scant resources and attention to developing rural areas situated in Areas B and C of the West Bank: local government units in these areas are unable to provide basic public services to communities and to maintain basic infrastructure, which has increased their social and economic marginalization. Most donors have focused their support to urban areas (Area A), where more than 75% of the Palestinian population lives. The PA is now trying to reverse these trends by treating the whole oPt as one territorial unit and prioritizing support to marginalised areas and Area C has become a priority in the National Policy Agenda and the (draft) Local Government Strategic Framework (2017-2022). The PA aims at operationalizing this policy shift through the Village Support Programme to which the proposed intervention will contribute. 


The goal of this intervention is to contribute to reducing economic and social marginalization and inequalities in rural areas of the West Bank (with a focus on Area C) through capacity development of local government units and through the provision of small-scale infrastructure involving rural communities (women and men) throughout project implementation.

Target groups

Primary target groups are Palestinian citizens living in rural areas of the West Bank, in particular in Area C. Secondary target groups are staff of institutions involved in local governance at national (Ministry of Local Government, Municipal Development and Lending Fund) and local levels (Village Councils and Joint Service Councils).

Medium-term outcomes
  • Citizens in rural areas of the West Bank actively participate in planning and implementation of the public service delivery and are able to hold their representatives (Village Councils and Joint Service Councils) accountable in a systematic way.
  • Basic public services are delivered in selected rural areas of the West Bank, with a focus on Area C (Village Councils/ Joint Service Councils).

Expected results:  

  1. Participatory planning mechanisms are established at Ministry level (MoLG), local level (Local Government Units- LGUs and Joint Service Councils (JSCs).
  2. Social accountability mechanisms extended and institutionalised with Village Councils.
  3. Complaint systems, citizen charters, public hearings and communications mechanisms are made available at VCs.
  4. Public facilities are constructed or rehabilitated.
  5. New small scale public infrastructures, such as roads, water networks and sewage network, are built or rehabilitated.

Results from previous phases:  

HIMII was a standalone project. It financed small-scale infrastructure in Area C and contributed to building knowledge and gain influence about local governance, in particular as regards risks management,  understanding and mainstreaming vulnerability as a key  dimension for decision making.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
Foreign state institution
  • National State Institute North
  • SDC Field Office

Other partners
  • Area C Coordination Office (ACCO - PA)
  • World Bank through “Local Governance Service Improvement Programme” (LGSIP)
  • EU through Area C Infrastructure Programme (“development”) and EU Area C Humanitarian Consortium
  • OCHA/Protection Cluster focusing on vulnerable Communities in Area C
Coordination with other projects and actors

The intervention is based on lessons learnt from HIMII project (7F-09403.01) and benefits from current implementation of Municipal Development Program 2 (7F-07621.02) and from the project with AM Qattan Foundation (promoting culture as a means to improve participation and inclusion at local level) (7F-08809.01).  

Complementarities with the Domains “Rule of Law/Protection” (advocacy) and “Agro economic Development” (value chain development in West Bank rural areas) of the current Cooperation Strategy will be sought.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    5’030’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    4’938’026
Project phases Phase 3 01.02.2022 - 31.12.2024   (Current phase) Phase 2 01.07.2019 - 31.03.2023   (Completed)

Phase 1 01.11.2016 - 31.12.2021   (Completed)