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Mercy Corps receives $10 million from Qatar charity to boost economic development in Gaza

June 9, 2009

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Portland, OR – The global relief and development agency Mercy Corps today announced a $10-million contribution from Qatar Charity to lift up families in the Gaza Strip with much-needed economic assistance and development over the next three years. This week, a delegation from Qatar Charity will visit the agency’s Portland, OR headquarters to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that formally recognizes the strategic partnership with Mercy Corps.

Since the war between Israel and Hamas started last December, the already desperate economic situation in the Gaza Strip has deteriorated even further. Border restrictions and continued instability have also severely crippled the economy, contributing to the highest unemployment rate in the world. The contribution from Qatar Charity allows Mercy Corps to offer dignified employment and business development services to those who are struggling to pick up the pieces of their lives.

In its first year of implementation, the two international nongovernmental organizations have agreed to support a massive cash-for-work program for rubble removal and building rehabilitation, assistance to fishermen and small farmers, entrepreneurship skills training, and the design of a business resource center. In addition, the funds will expand the Global Citizen Corps, a Mercy Corps initiative to equip young people in the region with leadership skills.

“Gazans need economic recovery in order to repair their homes, restart businesses and purchase food, clothes and medicine,” said Mr. Abdullah Al-Nameh, Managing Director for Qatar Charity. “This assistance comes at a critical time.”

Qatar Charity is a private charity based in Doha, and it is one of the largest nongovernmental organizations in the Gulf region. Qatar Charity strives to achieve social justice and maintain human dignity in some of the neediest regions in the world.

“Mercy Corps hopes to foster a powerful collaboration with Qatar Charity over the long term,” said Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO of Mercy Corps. “We look forward to developing a cooperative partnership that will restore jobs and markets in Gaza, and we hope to increase Qatar Charity’s capacity to respond to emergencies and transition to economic recovery.”

Mercy Corps has worked in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since the 1980s, running short-term employment initiatives, educational programs for youth, business skills training, interfaith peace-building and the transformational Global Citizen Corps. During and immediately after January’s war between Israel and Hamas, Mercy Corps provided food, blankets and other emergency supplies to thousands of Gazans. Mercy Corps also helped families repair their homes and recover from emotional trauma. The agency believes strongly in the need to partner with Middle East-based organizations in efforts to achieve stability and prosperity in Gaza.

About Mercy Corps:
Mercy Corps helps people in the world’s toughest places turn the crises of natural disaster, poverty and conflict into opportunities for progress. Driven by local needs and market conditions, our programs provide communities with the tools and support they need to transform their own lives. Our worldwide team of 3,700 professionals is improving the lives of 14.5 million people in more than 40 countries. For more information, see www.mercycorps.org.

About Qatar Charity:
Qatar Charity is an international nongovernmental organization established in 1992 and based in Doha, Qatar. It is one of the largest charities in the Gulf region, carrying out relief, rehabilitation and development projects in more than 40 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Balkans. For more information, see www.qcharity.org/English/.