For decades, Palestine has faced a protracted and complex protection and humanitarian crisis. A sustainable reduction in humanitarian needs largely depends on finding concerted solutions to address the systemic challenges hindering the achievement of the SDGs.
In August 2022 Sahra El Fassi, a Programme Policy Officer for Humanitarian-Development-Peace (HDP) Nexus Coordination and Conflict Sensitivity, was seconded to WFP by the German Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF). She embarked on a 12-month mission to help the Palestine Country Office develop a sustainable nexus approach integrating conflict sensitivity.
In protracted conflict situations, people are never able to fully thrive and live in dignity. It is why we need all actors to successfully play their part in addressing the root causes of crisis and vulnerability. “This is where I believe the HDP nexus approach has much to offer, in providing a framework to solutions that can foster long term progress to better serve the people we support”, explained Sahra.
As she immersed herself in WFP work from Gaza to Bethlehem, she witnessed the challenges faced by local communities. Inspired by the steadfastness of the vulnerable Palestinians she met, Sahra confided: “In the midst of adversity and limited opportunities, I have seen people demonstrate remarkable strength and hope for a better future.
Deeply convinced of the impact that collaborative efforts and a rights-based approach can make Sahra started her mission with the aim to create synergies that maximize complementarity between stakeholders’ interventions. “We will not achieve different outcomes if we keep operating in the same systems while employing the same methods », she argued.
Sahra’s contribution to the HDP nexus implementation in Palestine was twofold. First, she worked with colleagues to emphasize a HDP nexus and conflict sensitivity lens in WFP programming. These efforts capitalized on WFP’s comparative advantage as a double-mandated agency in reducing humanitarian needs while contributing to development and improving the prospects for peacebuilding. Secondly, she supported closely the UN Resident Coordinator Office to promote broader coordination and coherence among the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) and complementarity with governmental partners, NGOs, private sector, financial institutions, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), the Nexus Academy, etc.
After a year in Palestine, she is proud of the progress achieved together with WFP teams and partners. From January 2023 onward she has been supporting the monthly HDP nexus dialogue series (a UNCT initiative). Various actors with the potential to champion new approaches within their respective constituencies come together to strengthen the linkages between humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding ambitions. Committed to gender equality and equipped with a strong understanding of the multi-dimensional impact of assistance on women’s livelihoods and wellbeing, Sahra has also been supporting the Gender Task Force in Palestine.
Moreover, with the Regional Bureau in Cairo she has been involved in conducting a series of trainings on Conflict Sensitivity in the spirit of the HDP nexus. She also developed a roadmap for integrating conflict sensitivity into WFP operations, which includes undertaking a Conflict Sensitivity Analysis (CSA). Conflict sensitivity indicators were successfully piloted during risks assessments and capacity building, leading to more targeted and impactful interventions.
Country Director Samer AbdelJaber commended her contributions, stating, “Over the past 12 months, Sahra has supported WFP with being aligned more strongly with national strategies through expanding dialogue with line ministries to strengthen the nexus approach. Through her commitment, she has paved the way for positive change and fostered a sense of shared purpose. Her assignment not only benefits WFP but also, government, UN and partners working in this space."
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