Union of Agricultural Work Committees

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The Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) is a non-profit organization that was established in 1986 to improve the performance and professionalism of Palestinian farmers during the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The Union also aims to help Palestinian farmers market their produce and provides agricultural employment opportunities through a framework of cooperation with domestic, Arab, and international agricultural development institutions.[1]

The UAWC was established in Jerusalem; and founded by a group of volunteer agronomists and development workers "loosely affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)",[2] it is one of the oldest non-governmental Palestinian organizations.[3] In the year 1993, UAWC developed its organizational structure, consisting of a general assembly, board of trustees, general director, and two executive directors; in the West Bank and in Gaza Strip.[4]

UAWC initially focused on forming Agricultural Cooperatives and Committees in the different Palestinian rural areas of the West Bank and Gaza.[5]

UAWC supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.[6]

Funding[edit]

UAWC receives funding from numerous western governments and aid organisations including the European Commission, World Vision Australia, AusAID, and FAO.[3] UAWC is in partnership with many international and local organizations like Action Against Hunger, Oxfam,NARC, and LRC.

In February 2012, World Vision Australia (WV) and AusAid were accused of having provided "financial aid to a Gaza-based terrorist group," the (UAWC), which Shurat HaDin (The Israel Law Center) alleged is a "front for terror group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine." WV "suspended its dealings" with UAWC until the outcome of an investigation of the matter.[7][8]

WV resumed working with UAWC after AusAID and World Vision found the allegations were unfounded. According to The Australian newspaper, 'AusAID has written to Shurat HaDin to confirm that a detailed investigation has been conducted into the claims and no evidence has been found to substantiate them'.[9] However, the Jerusalem Post says that they conducted an independent investigation which "revealed that the PLFP’s Arabic language website includes detailed reports on the UAWC’s work."[10]

Projects[edit]

The union is working within the framework of group of programs, each of which includes some activities or projects related to accomplishing agricultural and rural development.

These programs can be summarized as follows:

  1. Developing agriculture and drinking water resources and environment protection programs, including activities like digging cisterns, rehabilitation of wells and pools, raising awareness campaigns…etc.
  2. Agricultural extension and training through preparing brochures, visits, lectures, demonstrations in different agricultural domains.
  3. The productive projects program: the Union markets Palestinian agricultural products, including medical herbs and others. It particularly focuses on marketing olive oil in European, Asian and Arab Countries. This is through working within the frame of fair commerce. Beside that, the program includes variant productive projects like greenhouse seedlings, tractors and others.
  4. Land development program, which includes reclamation activities, building fences, drilling wells, planting lands and construction of irrigation networks.
  5. Enabling rural women program, which includes training and raising awareness among women on agricultural and non-agricultural domains. In addition, the Union provides the needed inputs to manage small income generating projects.
  6. Support of farmers’ steadfastness program: this programs targets to enhance the Palestinian farmers’ connection and loyalty to the land and returning to it to ban land confiscation and to elevate the level of their awareness. This can be achieved through providing them with continuous technical agricultural extension and establishment of integrated production projects.

This would provide practical agricultural extension to the process of development and use of agricultural modern methods and techniques, including distribution of fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, plants, poultry, sheep, rabbits, and job opportunity creation in agricultural and non-agricultural projects.

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