The YWCA of Palestine is a national membership-based women organization registered locally as a non-governmental association affiliated with the World YWCA movement, which has a special consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It was first initiated in 1893 by informal groups of Christian women who were meeting in Jaffa and Jerusalem as YWCA groups, and consequently established officially in Jerusalem in 1918. Currently, the YWCA of Palestine is formed by three associations situated in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Jericho, that also oversees two multifunctional community centers in Jalazoune and Aqbet Jaber Refugee Camps. The National Council Office, headed by the National General Secretary is mainly responsible for coordinating the strategic planning of the YWCA, monitoring the strategic implementation of the annual plans and budgets, fundraising and advocacy, and facilitating the external program evaluations. It also offers technical assistance and support to the three associations. Throughout the years, the YWCA has developed a wide range of programs and projects with the aim of empowering women and girls and improving their status through enhancing the accessibility of educational and cultural activities, creating and developing economic opportunities, and raising awareness, and advocating for their individual and national rights. The work and values of the YWCA has given it a special identity as a community development organization that is widely respected, both among Palestinians and internationally.
The YWCA of Palestine envisions an independent and free Palestinian democratic state where justice and peace, tolerance, equality, respect for the rights and dignity of human beings, gender equity, freedom of expression, social justice, pluralism and cultural diversity and women’s leadership are promoted and sustained.
The YWCA of Palestine supports and aspires to create women leadership, especially among young women and girls, to realize their full rights and capabilities, and to promote and advance their full participation in decision-making on equal footing with men and in all aspects of their lives as they contribute to building a democratic and free civil society.