Médicos del Mundo (MdM) is an international humanitarian organization, working in different regions and countries to make effective the Universal Right to Health. MdM is a non-profitable, non-governmental, non-political and non-confessional organization operating under the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. MdM has been working in Palestine since 2006. During this time its work has been mainly focused on supporting the Palestinian Ministry of Health in integrating the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) services at primary healthcare level, providing access to and assisting with the accommodation of health needs for the most vulnerable population, and denouncing human rights violations and advocating for social and political changes. Conflicts and outbreaks of violence contributed to increase the need for humanitatian assistance of around 2.3 million Palestinians mainly in the Gaza Strip, in the area C of the West-Bank (WB) and in East Jerusalem. In the WB other factors such as demolitions, restrictions of movements and lack of access to basic services still remain the major challenges for the Palestinian population. This situation can have a negative impact on the mental health of the people. For this reason, MdM is currently implementing in the WB a project aiming to promote the psychosocial protection of the vulnerable population. This intervention is mainly focused on the protection of children and women affected or at risk of being affected by different factors contributing to their vulnerability such as violence, demolitions, confiscations or internal displacement in the C area of central West Bank and the Jordan Valley. To achieve its goal, the intervention is articulated along the following lines: - Prevention: Through this action line MdM and its local partners are covering the primary healthcare needs (including also the MHPSS) of 14 Bedouin communities in the districts of East Jerusalem and Jericho. - Emergency Response: Through this action line MdM is covering the needs of the community members during the 3 months after the impact of a critical incident in the targeted areas. - Advocacy: Through this action line MdM tries to gather, report and disseminate information related to International Humanitarian Law and the International Human Rights Law in Palestine, with a special focus on the right to health. Palestinian women and girls experience different forms of violence that manifest at various levels. At international level, episodes of violence within the Palestinian society in general are increased, since both women and men, boys and girls are exposed to diverse and continuous situations and cycles of violence. At national level, data shows that the rates of violence are very worrisome. Both levels reflect how Palestinian women and girls are subjected to double exposure to violence. The political and structural violence in Palestine overlaps and reinforces a double discrimination, for being women and Palestinians, whose maximum manifestation is the violence exerted against them. The discrimination suffered is also intersectional, since there are multiple discriminations for other reasons, such as age, sexual orientation, functional diversity, etc. The combination of decades of Israeli occupation and the prevailing patriarchal culture in Palestinian society configures a very high gender inequality context, which limits within the domestic ambit the expected roles for women. The protracted humanitarian crisis, and its impact on gender and family dynamics, has exacerbated GBV in all its forms, including sexual violence, intimate partner violence and child marriage. In this context, the prevention, identification, treatment and care for victims of gender-based violence remains one of the priority areas of work for MdM in Palestine. MdM understands that MHPSS services represent an important entry point for the identification, guidance and care of cases of gender-based violence. As such, MdM wishes that projects having a MHPSS but also SHR component consider this issue and provide at least identification and referral for beneficiaries affected by this type of violence. MdM projects aim to promote women empowerment by becoming aware of the physical, psychological, social and legal consequences of violence they suffer, as well as of the tools they have at their disposal to protect themselves and make informed decisions. The quality of care provided to our programmes’ beneficiaries depends on, among others, the capacity of care-providers to recognise situations of violence and to respond to them appropriately. Complying with the principles of medical ethics that MdM upholds in all its programmes, and particularly “the obligation to protect” requires making care-providers aware of the issue of gender-based violence and ensuring that they are able to respond to it.
Operational details & security context
MDM in Palestine is operating through 3 functional bases: the Jerusalem base which is considered the coordination office; the Gaza Strip operational base in Gaza city and the WB operational base in Jericho City. The MdM mission in Palestine is composed of 15 people including 12 people as local staff and 3 expatriates (2 staff based in Jerusalem; 7 based in Jericho City and 6 based in Gaza City).
The EU Aid Volunteer in Gender Issues shall report directly to the Country Coordinator and shall have functional links with the WB Coordination team composed of the Mental Health Coordinator and the Project Manager.
The EU Aid Volunteer in Gender Issues shall work also in collaboration with the Gender and Human Rights Unit of MdM-Spain based in Madrid.
Security is an essential part of the work of MdM in Palestine. MdM´s security system in Palestine is framed by the General Security Plan designed for MdM in Palestine, which includes structural and non-structural mitigation measures.
Moreover, MdM regularly updates its risk analysis matrix, providing its entire staff in the field with briefings on security matters. The main security tools consist of:
1. Logistics and security procedure guidelines and risk analysis matrix;
2. Security short rules whose observance is mandatory for all MdM staff, including volunteers;
3. Security alerts and reports provided by UNDSS and distributed among the MdM staff and volunteers;
4. Pre-deployment briefings focused on security aspects;
5. Weekly meetings for monitoring the changes in the security context with the MdM security officer for the West Bank and East Jerusalem;
6. Supporting mechanisms are also available at MdM-Spain HQ in Madrid, such as a 24/7 emergency hotline, a security advisor, or a rapid psychosocial intervention team.