In 2015-16, $1.302 million was provided to 50 projects in the Middle East through our diplomatic missions in Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, Malta, Ramallah, Riyadh and Tehran. These projects covered eight countries.
The Australian Embassy in Amman funded five projects in Jordan, totalling $320,000. With funding from the Direct Aid Program (DAP), the projects provided assistance to both Jordanians and refugees in the areas of health, education, youth and women's empowerment.
In the Emirati refugee camp, which houses several thousand Syrian refugees, a DAP project helped improve the livelihood of the youth through Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art performed with music for physical education. The sport makes young men and women become more active to counter the psychological effects of severe trauma and distress.
Through World Relief Germany, a humanitarian organisation, DAP funded a project to train local volunteer teachers to run a weekly football and life skills club for Syrian and Jordanian teenage girls from low-income communities. The program includes interactive sessions on health, communications/conflict resolution, violence against women and women's empowerment.
The Australian Embassy in Baghdad provided $95,000 for three small-scale projects in Iraq. The projects, funded by the Direct Aid Program (DAP), focused on education and the welfare of internally displaced women.
DAP funded the establishment of a community childcare facility in the historic and intellectual centre of Baghdad, known for its bookshops and cafes. The area was a target of terrorist attacks over the past decade and is being rebuilt. The facility boasts a puppet theatre, a library and a small playground.
DAP also funded two income-generating training programs for internally displaced women. In Salah Al-Din Province, one program offered healthcare training for women who had lost their spouses in conflicts. The women were trained in midwifery and basic medical treatments. The other program trained women in Diyala Province to bake and sell their breads and pastries in local communities. The skills will help increase food production and improve their standard of living.
The Australian Embassy in Beirut funded 10 small-scale projects in Lebanon under the Direct Aid Program (DAP). The projects, which had a combined value of $300,000, targeted the health, education and alternative energy sectors.
In partnership with the Lebanese Association for Rural Development, DAP funded the renovation of the Karama Medical Centre and the purchase of a range of new laboratory equipment. The project will improve the quality of healthcare services provided to disadvantaged people in northern Lebanon's Akkar District.
DAP financially supported the refurbishment of solar panel units, water tanks and piping in temporary shelters at Lebanon's Nahr el Bared Palestinian refugee camp, directly benefitting 128 families. DAP also funded the purchase of medical equipment for nine mobile medical units run by Caritas Liban, a humanitarian organisation, which provides healthcare services in rural Lebanon.
The Australian High Commission in Malta funded two projects in Tunisia for $32,500. The projects, supported by Direct Aid Program (DAP) funding, placed emphasis on human rights, education and the environment.
'Tunisia Recycling,' a DAP project, trained public school students in better recycling practices, tracking and logistics. The project aims to expand to include 300 new households in Greater Tunis.
The other DAP project, organised by UNESI, an NGO, provides training in making leather goods for young people with mental disability. The project will equip them with professional skills and enable them to obtain a diploma from the Tunisian Agency for Vocational Training.
The Australian Representative Office in Ramallah provided $340,000 for 17 small-scale projects across the Palestinian Territories, including Gaza and rural areas of the West Bank. The projects, funded by the Direct Aid Program (DAP), targeted children and youth, education, women's empowerment, people with disability and health.
DAP funded the Women's Bone Health Mobile Osteoporosis Screening Campaign aimed at improving the health outcomes of marginalised women. The campaign, conducted by the Palestinian Osteoporosis Prevention Society, provided free tests to identify women at high risk of osteoporosis with references for treatment.
DAP funding was also used to renovate a playground at YWCA Ramallah to provide a safe environment for children to participate in fun and educational activities, while their parents, mainly mothers, attend YWCA occupational training courses.
The Australian Embassy in Riyadh provided $50,000 for two projects in Yemen. The projects, funded by the Direct Aid Program (DAP), focused on the welfare of children and their parents, and women's empowerment.
Through Creative People Solutions (CPS), an NGO, DAP financially supported the 'I will be fine' program, which trained 1,400 children and parents in Aden to overcome post-traumatic stress. Using its creative measuring and analysing process, CPS reported an attitudinal improvement of 30 to 40 per cent after 10 hours' training.
DAP also funded a Care International project to distribute 50 vocational toolkits to the Yemenis to set up their businesses to generate incomes to support themselves. The two DAP projects provided essential support to young Yemenis, who are caught in the ongoing civil war affecting a large part of the country.
The Australian Embassy in Tehran provided $165,000 for 11 small-scale projects in Iran. The projects, funded by the Direct Aid Program (DAP), focused on education, water and sanitation, children, women's empowerment and people with disability.
Through the Society for the Protection of Working and Street Children, a DAP project provided school equipment, sanitation infrastructure, stationery and basic nutrition for young Afghan refugees in Karaj City.
DAP financially supported the Omid-e Mehr foundation to furnish a safe house for vulnerable young women in Tehran. DAP also funded its Peer Education Program, which offers vocational training and psychological support for women who have been sexually or physically abused.