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Conditional cash assistance to build resilience against water scarcity in the West Bank

Creating employment opportunities and enhancing adaptive capacities to recurrent drought within protracted crises

The West Bank is an arid or semi-arid land characterized by low precipitation with a large proportion of rainfall rapidly lost as surface runoff. While natural shocks like drought pose challenges to the already fragile water network, the protracted conflict in the region causes further difficulties by restricting access to available water resources. As a result, many farmers are unable to take full advantage of their agricultural lands. FAO has been supporting families dependent on agriculture in the West Bank by supporting the construction of cisterns through conditional cash transfers and a step by step approach. This practice ensures access to water resources and consequently contributes to building more resilient livelihoods.


  • On water stress: Drought-like conditions and chronic water shortages threaten the livelihoods of thousands of poor farming families. The vast majority of small and medium-scale farmers in the West Bank lack financial resources to invest in their traditional livelihoods but would benefit from improved access to water storage infrastructure (e.g. cisterns). Through this practice, FAO aimed to protect and improve the livelihoods of poor rural families by sustainably improving the availability and management of water for agriculture and domestic purposes while also creating jobs and enhancing income-generating opportunities. Participating families have benefited from a more secure and affordable access to water from rainwater harvesting. Water availability for domestic use has relieved women’s work burden, and the cisterns have enabled the establishment of backyard gardens, creating opportunities for women to generate income from vegetable sales, and to improve family nutrition by diversifying the diets. Savings on annual water costs contributed to freeing a significant amount of capital to meet other household needs.
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