Support to Safe Spaces for Women, Youth and Children in Gaza Strip

Project completed
Safe Spaces Project, Khan Younis, Gaza Strip
One of the children activities that is implemented in Khan Younis through the Safe Spaces Project © CFTA

In 2019-2020, Switzerland will support the Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA) and the Culture and Arts Association (NAWA) in the Gaza Strip to provide quality educational and cultural services in safe learning environments for children, youth and women, including persons with disabilities. This contribution aims to enhance the inclusion of marginalized groups in local development and in community-led initiatives, and to prevent wider spreading of violent extremism and radicalisation.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Occupied Palestinian Territory
Human rights
Democratic participation and civil society
Sector not specified
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Education facilities and training
01.01.2019 - 31.07.2023
CHF  2’498’400
Background Children, girls, women and youth, including persons with disabilities have been particularly affected by the cumulative effect of a series of man-made constraints on the population of the Gaza Strip (full closure for 12 years, 3 major episodes of armed conflict, economic collapse, and sharp decrease in external funding). With scarcity of available natural resources (land, water), demographic growth and lack of economic perspectives, the current socio-economic situation is bleak and a de-development process is underway: every 2nd person lives under the poverty line and unemployment rate peeks at 53% (70% for youth).
Objectives Empowered women and youth, including persons with disabilities, have an increased voice in local development processes and community-led initiatives in the area of impact of supported educational and cultural institutions.
Target groups

In Khan Younis area (CFTA): 15’000 children, 2’000 youth, 12’000 women & parents.

In Deir Al Balah area (NAWA): 7’560 children, 280 youths, 360 parents & women, 160 educators, including persons with disabilities.

The intervention will also serve the communities, service providers and Municipalities in the area of impact.

Medium-term outcomes
  • Youth and Women (M/F including persons with disabilities) are empowered to be  active change makers in their communities.
  • Improved service delivery to targeted marginalized groups.
  • Enhanced sharing of knowledge and best practices between CFTA and NAWA.

Expected results:  

  • Increasing knowledge through reading, writing, creativity and research (children).
  • Building skills and capacities of educators in schools and other institutions (teaching staff).
  • Develop skills including:  life skills, arts, communications, media, human rights, advocacy through formal and informal/in-job training (children, youth and women).
  • Help youth in identifying potential income generating and employment opportunities (youth).

Results from previous phases:  

Key results and insights from previous phases

CFTA (2003-2018) :

  • Strengthened its role in human rights based approach (HRB) to promote community-positive change.
  • Worked with more than 20’000 children and youth and more than 10’000 women empowering them to become agents of change within their communities.
  • Built an inclusive environment for PWDs.

NAWA (2018)

  • Supplied a range of cultural activities for 10’000 children in Deir Al Balah area.
  • Preserved the local Palestinian heritage.
  • Empowered parents and educators through non-formal education.

CFTA and NAWA found innovative ways to overcome social fragmentation and shrinking of democratic and safe spaces in their respective area of impact in the Gaza Strip.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
Private sector
  • Foreign private sector North

Coordination with other projects and actors

The intervention complements interventions of Local Governance Domain in Gaza: MDP-3, Gaza Vulnerable Communities Development (GVCD) project and “Enhancing Social Engagement and Accountability through Culture and the Arts” (with AM Qattan).

Strengthened interactions of CFTA and NAWA with partners in Gaza (e.g. Ad-Dameer, PCHR and Women’s Affairs Center (WAC) from Domains Rule of Law & Protection and Agro-Economic Development will be sought in Phase 1.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    2’498’400 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’240’636
Project phases Phase 2 01.01.2022 - 31.12.2024   (Current phase)

Phase 1 01.01.2019 - 31.07.2023   (Completed)