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MASHAV - Center for International Cooperation
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MASHAV Activity in the Arab World

Cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority through MASHAV


The Israel Foreign Ministry's Development Cooperation Program

Israel's official overseas development cooperation was launched in 1958 with the aim of sharing with the rest of the developing world the know-how and technologies which provided the basis for Israel's own rapid development. What started as a modest program focused on grassroots-level human capacity building - at a time when Israel itself was still very much a developing country - has blossomed into an extensive program of cooperation throughout the developing world with the aim of promoting sustainable development and social equity.

Since 1958, the Center for International Cooperation of the Foreign Ministry of Israel, or as it is more commonly known by its Hebrew acronym - MASHAV, has trained almost 200,000 course participants from approximately 140 countries, in Israel and abroad. Mashav has also developed dozens of demonstration projects worldwide in areas of Israeli expertise. During this time, while technologies and methodologies transferred have changed, the unique principles which guide Israel's cooperation have remained the same:

1. MASHAV activities focus on areas in which Israel has a comparative advantage and/or accumulated expertise.

MASHAV believes that our greatest possible contribution can be made in fields where Israel has expertise directly relevant to emerging nations. The list of such fields is particularly extensive, including: water resource management and irrigation, desert agriculture and combat of desertification, early childhood education, community development, emergency and disaster medicine, refugee absorption and employment programs, and many many others.

2. MASHAV is committed to cooperation throughout the developing world.

We do not limit our activities to a small number of target countries. Our focus is on areas of expertise rather than on geographical areas. We extend our hand in partnership wherever Israel's experience is relevant.

3. MASHAV prefers small-scale activities aimed at "bottom-up," community-driven development.

MASHAV endeavors to identify relevant micro-project activities that can serve as a catalyst for wider-scale development, targeting the grassroots in many of our activities.

4. MASHAV's focus is on human capacity building and training.

Our belief is that training of trainers and other capacity building activities is the best way to achieve maximum impact in development activity. Education leads to empowerment - the surest guarantee of sustainable growth.

5. MASHAV seeks cooperative projects with other development organizations.

MASHAV offers partnership in areas in which Israel has comparative advantage, to all development agencies, governmental as well as non-governmental, international agencies and development banks. MASHAV's experience with such joint projects, often on a cost-sharing basis, has been very positive, broadening the impact of MASHAV's potential contribution and the efficacy of the projects undertaken.

6. MASHAV believes that development cooperation can and should be used to forge bonds of peaceful cooperation with Israel's neighbors.

Consequently, MASHAV endeavors to be active throughout the Middle East, regardless of the political climate.

A Brief History

The history of scientific research and technology in Israel is an integral part of the story of the Jewish people's return to its homeland. Theodor Herzl envisaged Israel not only as the physical home of the Jewish people, but also as a major spiritual and scientific center.

After achieving independence in 1948, scientific research and technological development were key factors in rebuilding the country to become a modern state. New and innovative technologies were developed to meet the challenges of a growing country with scarce natural resources, skills that Israel was eager to share with the newly independent countries of Africa and Asia.

From the earliest years of statehood, Israel's leaders were moved by a compelling desire to share the knowledge gained from Israel's own development experience. David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, believed that "...the principles of mutual assistance and equality should also constitute the basis for international relations between people... [and] must be based on the solidarity of all human beings, derived from fraternity and mutual assistance in every sphere of life - the economic, social and scientific.. "

In 1958, Golda Meir, then Minister of Foreign Affairs, first visited Africa. Deeply moved by the challenges the young nations of Africa faced after achieving independence, she returned convinced that Israel must play a significant role in assisting these nations in their struggle with problems of health, education, malnutrition, low status of women, and the struggle for resources. Golda Meir's personal commitment to international cooperation led to the creation of MASHAV, a special Division for International Cooperation within Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Human Capacity Building/Training

Human capacity building remains the main priority of MASHAV. We are proud of our highly extensive training program, which includes a uniquely wide range of subjects and languages. Almost 300 international and single-country courses annually are offered in Israel and abroad, in subjects including agriculture, medicine and public health, science and technology, management and entrepreneurship, education and economic, social, community and rural development. In addition MASHAV also offers short and long-term adisory consultancies to partner countries.

MASHAV's training program benefits from the following advantages:

  • a network of over a dozen MASHAV-affiliated study centers and academic and professional institutions, providing high-level facilities and expert instruction for courses both in Israel and abroad;
  • access to a wide range of Israel policy-makers, academics and professionals, with experience in fields of particular importance to the developing world, ranging from desertification to disaster management;
  • use of the Israeli experience of development over its 50 years of existence as a model of instruction;
  • a multilingual population, providing expert instruction in English, Russian, French, Spanish and Arabic and other languages.

Numerous international organizations, UN and national development cooperation agencies and NGOs have taken advantage of MASHAV's unique training program, sponsoring or co-funding participants from their partner countries and programs.


MASHAV's project programming seeks to advance our primary goal of capacity building in areas in which Israel has a comparative advantage. Our main project focus is on agricultural demonstration projects, with a select number of small-scale, medical infrastructure projects also completed annually.

The aim of MASHAV projects are sustainability and replicability, which are achieved by the following means:

  • Every MASHAV project is accompanied by extensive capacity-building and training activities both in Israel and on the project site.
  • MASHAV is committed to long-term follow-up activities in all its projects, including the posting of long-term expert consultants at project sites.
  • Project technologies are carefully selected to suit the needs and capacities of the local populations. Similarly, methodologies taught are designed to be easily replicable by individuals or small collectives.

MASHAV projects are designed in cooperation with host countries. Maximum flexibility is maintained in order to address the specific needs of the countries.

Major Areas of Cooperation

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security

MASHAV's agriculture program seeks to provide food security and disseminate best agribusiness practices while promoting environmentally sound resource use. Our agriculture program is based on:

  • Extensive human capacity building, both in Israel and on-site in partner countries, in a wide variety of languages and disciplines.
  • Practical, cost-effective demonstration farms, usually managed by resident long-term expert consultants in cooperation with local professional counterparts. These farms focus on extension and transfer of know-how, technologies, appropriate management practices and new field and tree crops suited to the partner country's environment.
  • Agribusiness consulting centers providing services to local small and medium farmers, including assistance in drafting business plans and the introduction of new crop strains, technologies and methodologies and better management practices to support agricultural and rural entrepreneurship.

MASHAV's agricultural activities focus on Israeli areas of expertise such as semi- and arid-zone agriculture, combat of desertification, irrigation and water management, high-yield agriculture, dairy farming and agricultural and agribusiness strategies for the small farmer. Among the most innovative of new strategies now being promoted by MASHAV is the African Market Garden concept which uses innovative, very low-cost, low-pressure irrigation systems in order to irrigate single-household plots for subsistence farming with small surpluses for cash, thereby enhancing food security and economic well-being for the poorest segments of the population. MASHAV is now disseminating this strategy in Africa, in cooperation with local partner institutions, the Government of Finland and other development organizations such as the FAO.


MASHAV serves as a bridge between Israel's medical community and the developing world. In doing so, MASHAV benefits from cooperation with an extensive network of Israeli hospitals, medical schools, research institutes and HMOs. We are thus able to draw upon a large reservoir of Israeli experts in all fields, for activities both in Israel and in host countries. Our close partnership with Israel's medical establishment, facilitated and coordinated by our permanent, in-house medical adviser, enables MASHAV to implement programming with a high degree of speed and flexibility.

The following are examples of MASHAV programming in the field of health:

  • MASHAV's training activities in medicine and public health are conducted both in Israel and on-site in host countries. Training activities are available for doctors, nurses and technicians and include our annual one-year International Master's Program in Public Health at the Hebrew University/Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem and two three-month individualized postgraduate medical training programs annually at Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine. Israel also provides international courses in a broad range of languages and subjects in Israel and one-country tailor-made courses abroad.
  • MASHAV's training program takes advantage of Israel's strong expertise in crisis medicine. In the last few years, MASHAV has sent numerous teams to partner countries to instruct in Emergency and Disaster Medicine. These teams train cadres of doctors, nurses, medical technicians and administrators to deal with mass casualty events and to treat multiple trauma patients, sharing clinical expertise and procedures for organizing response to mass casualty events. Theoretical training is accompanied by practical simulation exercises, sometimes with the participation of Civil Defense, Firefighters, Police and Hospitals, in accordance with scenarios relevant to the specific region.
  • MASHAV's also specializes in turnkey infrastructure projects with long-term sustainability. Key to such sustainability is providing partner countries with technologies at a manageable scale. In addition, every project includes extensive training in Israel and abroad, as well as long-term follow-up and support activities.
  • MASHAV dispatches Israeli eye doctors to countries throughout the developing world to treat preventable blindness and ocular disease. Teams of Israeli doctors set up "eye camps" for ten days to two weeks, bringing with them extensive treatment equipment often unavailable in the country.
  • MASHAV has recently launched a Compact Mobile Unit (CMU) project for AIDS prevention and treatment. One of the primary challenges to action against AIDS in Africa is the difficulty in bringing education, preventive care and treatment to remote or hard-to-access areas. To help overcome this challenge, MASHAV will employ small, robustly structured vehicles designed and developed in Israel as a platform for a comprehensive prevention and care strategy. The CMUs will support activities targeted at both the individual and community levels, including medical-clinical assistance.

Community Development, Poverty Reduction and Gender Equality

MASHAV sees the three goals of community development, poverty reduction and gender equality as being necessarily linked. Thus, since MASHAV's early years, a strong emphasis has been placed on working with women at a grassroots level, promoting their participation in small-scale economic activities through capacity-building, community development and establishment of support structures for small and medium entrepreneurial activities. As micro-action and grassroot-oriented strategies have become increasingly popular in the development community, MASHAV has collaborated with numerous international organizations in developing grassroots-oriented, community-driven programming, including capacity building programs in Israel and abroad and the establishment of new business incubators and small business development centers.

MASHAV's action in this field focuses on:

  • Improving the economic situation of communities through training for effective community development and the encouragement of collaborative action, networking and cooperative building.
  • Building and strengthening civil society through encouraging the participation of women in social action in all areas of society, developing women leaders and providing support for their entrepreneurship.
  • Strengthening local NGOs by helping them develop, implement and sustain programming.
  • Developing curricula for community leadership training.
  • Establishing basic social service centers to provide assistance to local communities.


MASHAV provides a wide range of training programs in the field of education. Among the many topics covered in MASHAV training:

  • Early childhood education.
  • Technology and science education.
  • Adult education.
  • Use of the Internet and distance learning tools.
  • Programs to prevent drug abuse.

MASHAV directs its activities towards both formal and informal educational frameworks. The target population for trainees is widely varied, including field workers, senior decision makers, educators, principals, local and national education system supervisors, heads of municipal and regional departments, planners of study programs, senior educational administrators, lecturers and university staff.

MASHAV draws on the facilities and resources of its Ministries of Education, Health and Social Services in its activities in order to add a practical dimension to the theoretical material studied and to insure the ongoing relevance of our education programs.

MASHAV specializes in adapting education systems to meet the demand of developing economies. MASHAV's courses draw on the experience of Israel's education system in adapting to fit the needs of a rapidly developing economy and a growing multilingual population, due to large waves of immigration and absorption of refugees to Israel over the decades. MASHAV recognizes the pivotal role of education in the process of nation-building and state development, while aiding the educational systems of developing countries to meet the challenge of technology in the 21st century.

Mashav's Training Network:

CINADCO - the Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation

CINADCO established in 1958 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, operates within the framework of MASHAV.

CINADCO's training activities take place in two centers:

  • Kibbutz Shefayim - in English, French, Spanish and Russian.
  • Agricultural Research Organization - The Volcani Center, Beit Dagan.

CINADCO's activities include on-site demonstration projects. CINADCO's activities focus on key issues and problems concerning agricultural development, and the main fields of expertise are:

  • Food security - subsistence agriculture.
  • Agricultural and technological innovation.
  • Agribusiness for rural and peri-urban development.
  • Professional support systems.
  • Management of production resources - water and environment protection.
  • Production management and marketing.
The Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center - MCTC

The Center was founded in Haifa by MASHAV in 1961.

The main goal of the center is to foster international cooperation through training courses, mainly for women, designed to increase their involvement in and contribution to the process of development.

MCTC's main fields of expertise are:

  • Community organization/development of services.
  • Organization and management of micro-enterprises.
  • Early childhood education.

MCTC works with various institutions and organizations:

  1. The Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Health, Labor & Welfare.
  2. The University of Haifa and the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.
  3. Women's organizations.
  4. UN special agencies: UNICEF, FAO, UNESCO, ILO, UNDP, and more.

The Aharon Ofri International Training Center

The Center, located in Jerusalem, was established jointly in 1989 by MASHAV and the Ministry of Education.

The Center focuses on educational fields that contribute to regional and human resource development.

The Ofri Center's main fields of expertise are:

  • Science and technology education.
  • Community education.
  • Educational technology.

The Center cooperates with various organizations and institutions:

  • UNESCO - in the areas of computerization and communication.
  • International Development Bank - in the area of youth leadership.

The Center also deals with drug abuse prevention education.

MASHAV Affiliate Training Centers:

Arava Institute for Environmental Studies - courses in environmental issues, nature conservation and education.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, the Institute for Applied Research and IPALAC, the International Program for Arid Land Crops, all dealing with the scientific exploration of the desert and afforestation.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - The School for Public Health, conducts a one-year long course providing theoretical and practical knowledge in public health and community medicine. The graduates receive a Master of Public Health degree.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Agriculture. Conducts courses in various fields: biotechnology, food technology and protected crops.

Israel Meteorological Service - Conducts courses in the areas of agrometeorology and applied meteorology.

Kaplan Hospital - Nurses College. Conducts various courses for nurses in specialized nursing areas.

Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development - NISPED. Conducts courses on subjects concerning societies undergoing processes of transition, conflict resolution, management of small and medium enterprises and development studies.

Tel Aviv University - Sackler Faculty of Medicine. Conducts an International Postgraduate Program in Medicine according to the participants' various areas of expertise.

The International Institute - Histadrut. Conducts courses in a wide range of subjects concerning social and economic development. Among others: Management of voluntary organizations, community empowerment, economic globalization, and more.

The Weitz Center for Development Studies - Conducts a long-term course on Integrated Rural Regional Development Planning. The five-month academic stage of the course is held in Israel, and the two-month practical stage is held in a selected region of a developing country.









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