FCA volunteers leave West Bank due to security situation – work on right to quality education continues

FCA’s work in the education sector in the West Bank and East Jerusalem also includes organising psychosocial support for children and school staff. PHOTO: FCA

FCA stresses that development cooperation in the Palestinian territories and Israel must continue despite the crisis.

FINNISH VOLUNTEERS for Finn Church Aid (FCA) working in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, were relocated from the area on Tuesday, October 10. The withdrawal is due to the worsening security situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories caused by the recent military escalation, started by Hamas and followed by Israeli military bombardment of Gaza.

FCA had five EAPPI – volunteer human rights observers and three Teachers Without Borders volunteers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The decision to withdraw the volunteers from the area was made together with the Finn Church Aid’s security and management team.

“All of our volunteers are doing well and have told us that they are satisfied with the arrangements made by FCA”, said Sabina Bergholm, head of FCA’s volunteer work.

The work continues and could take new forms

FCA hopes the violence in the occupied Palestinian territories and in Israel stops immediately. FCA also calls for the implementation of humanitarian law and human rights in the region. Violence against civilians is always wrong, and according to humanitarian law, civilians must be protected, respected and treated humanely in all circumstances.

FCA also highlights the importance of the work in the Palestinian territories and Israel continuing despite the crisis. The consequences of the possible halt to our work would further damage the lives of civilians suffering from the crisis.

FCA’s work in East Jerusalem and the West Bank focuses on supporting quality and inclusive education for all. The work will continue as far as possible, as education and access to learning are important even in crisis situations. School provides routine and support in the lives of children and young people and, in uncertain times, teachers are important, safe adults for learners. FCA’s work in the education sector also includes organising psychosocial support for learners, teachers and other school staff.

“The work of our country programme continues with the strength of our local employees and partner organisations. We will continue our work in the education sector and in these challenging times with a focus especially on psychosocial support,” says Bergholm.

FCA is in constant contact with its local employees and closely monitors the development of the security situation in the area. FCA is also looking into whether the work of volunteer experts, who have left the area, could continue remotely. The Teachers Without Borders network has significant experience with models created during the Covid pandemic, where remote connections proved to be important tools for sustaining valuable collaboration.

Media inquiries and interview requests:

Ulriikka Myöhänen, FCA Communication Specialist
tel. +358 50 576 7948
e-mail: ulriikka.myohanen@kua.fi