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30 July 2020

King's alumnus works on COVID-19 awareness campaign in Palestine

'Your commitment is your responsibility to protect your family'. Alumnus Majd Zghyer talks to us about solidarity, partnership and the public awareness campaign to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Palestine.

Five medical staff in PPE equipment.
'Solidarity through Development'. PICA staff and volunteers.

Majd Zghyer (MA Political Economy, 2017) works for the Palestinian International Cooperation Agency (PICA) as a Programme Officer. PICA is the public diplomacy arm of the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It shares Palestinian expertise with the world and promotes international cooperation across Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa in health, agriculture, humanitarian aid, entrepreneurship and more. 

Majd Zghyer
Majd Zghyer

Majd normally works in private sector engagement. Recently he has worked on a different and more urgent kind of engagement – a public awareness campaign to keep his community safe.

The COVID-19 pandemic reached Palestine on 5 March. Once a state of emergency was declared, with many partner countries in lockdown and projects on hold, PICA had to respond quickly. PICA is guided by the mission of ‘solidarity through development’. It was this aim of solidarity and their experience of working with local and international partners, that made them best placed to change their strategy to try to tackle the pandemic.  PICA launched a public awareness campaign to help Palestinians protect themselves from the risks of COVID-19. Working in partnership with the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Bank of Palestine, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), they developed a campaign to help Palestinians stay safe.

The campaign was aimed at all aspects of the community, from health providers to the public. Within just a few weeks it had reached millions, with the help of influencers from Palestine and the Arab region, through social media, billboards, radio and TV – with the message: Your commitment is your responsibility to protect your family

We need to come together if we are really serious about creating a better world for future generations. King’s enriched me with the spirit of serving society. I’m very proud that I’ve been able to translate this spirit into tangible actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Majd Zghyer

‘The most important aspect of this campaign, aside from clear messaging, is the spirit of solidarity and partnership’ says Majd. ‘In times of crises, it’s in our shared interest to build collective frameworks for cooperation.’

‘Humanity is facing complex challenges that don’t recognise borders. These are affecting all countries, rich and developing alike. This crisis has further supported my belief in the necessity of multilateral cooperation in addressing global challenges.’

Despite being a small country with limited financial and technical resources, Palestine has been able to punch way above its weight when it comes to sharing expertise with the world. PICA continues to work with its partners to exchange good practice and information to face the current emergency as well as to address global challenges post COVID-19. One such project is the Busula Innovation Challenge, recently launched in partnership with the Palestinian Higher Council for Innovation & Excellence. The initiative aims to provide a platform for Palestinian entrepreneurs, innovators and startups to develop impactful solutions and contribute to Sustainable Development Goals.

PICA’s work, including the campaign, was recently recognised by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) which selected it to be their National Coordinator of the month (in April 2020).

‘King’s provided me with the tools and knowledge that enables me to succeed in this challenging yet very exciting field. I’m very proud that I’ve been able translate my work into tangible actions that contribute to creating a resilient world, united by solidarity and development.’

Read more #ContinuingToServe stories here.

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