Started Working in Lebanon
Direct Beneficiaries & Program Participants
Indirect Beneficiaries & Program Participants
Since 2014, RET has directly supported more than 75K direct beneficiaries in Lebanon and indirectly benefitted more than 750 K beneficiaries (52% female) throughout 14 projects focused on Protection, Education, Peace Stability and Transition, Economic Growth & Development and Gender Equality.
Since 2014, RET has conducted operations in 8 governorates in Lebanon, including deep rural and urban areas and in informal tented settlements for refugees, namely in Machta Hammoud, Wadi Khaled, Qobeh, El Mina, Qalamoun, Batroun, Qartaba, Ghazir, Zouk Mosbeh, Antelias, Ain El Remene, Chiyah, Sed El Bouchrieh, Ghaziyeh, Sahel Zahrani, Jezzin, Kfarhim, Chhim, Baalbek, Ras Baalbek, Hermel, Arsal, Akoura, Meryata, and Kfarhazir.
The Situation in Lebanon
Since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in 2011, around one and a half million displaced persons are believed to have crossed the border into Lebanon, formerly home to around four and a half million people. This massive and rapid influx of Syrian refugees into an already vulnerable state has negatively impacted Lebanon’s life on different levels. A declining economy, the exhaustion of social services, a political vacuum, a decrease in security, and a deteriorating quality of life for the displaced Syrians themselves are just a few of the examples of the adversities in that country.
The influx of Syrian refugees in Lebanon added pressure to an already fragile socio-economic situation, marred with political instability, Inter-community tensions, coupled in some areas with sectarian divisions, have a profound impact on social cohesion inter-community relations. Feelings of insecurity on both sides are causing increased mobility restrictions on refugees and segregation between communities.
As of 2019, Lebanon is facing imminent economic collapse that resulted in nation-wide mass protests in October 2019, accompanied by a rise in anti-Syrian/anti-refugee rhetoric. According to UNHCR, almost the entire Syrian refugee population cannot afford the survival minimal expenditure basket (SMEB).Lebanon’s compounded socio-economic and health crisis has hit the most vulnerable Lebanese and refugee families the hardest. The preliminary findings of the 2021 Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon (VASyR), reveal a dire situation, with nine out of ten Syrian refugees still living in extreme poverty, with a rapid deterioration in the living conditions.
In 2013, RET stepped in to respond to the needs and challenges of both the vulnerable members of the host communities and the refugee population. RET implemented multiple projects focusing on building resilience in education, protection, gender equality, social inclusion, peace reconciliation, and youth civic programs to maintain the social fabric and stability of vulnerable communities.
One of RET’s leading work in Lebanon is to empower girls, mothers, and fathers from both the Syrian and Lebanese communities residing particularly in North of Lebanon and in the South of Lebanon (Union of Municipalities of Sahel Al Zahrany) to enhance their knowledge and understanding about early marriage and Gender-based Violence.
Another focus was to strengthen government institutions’ capacities – national and local – and civil society institutions to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality, women empowerment, and respond and prevent gender-based violence, including in humanitarian settings.
In February 2016, following the strategy of Reaching all Children with Education in Lebanon and the Lebanese Crisis Response Plan (led by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education), RET worked to introduce a range of services to enhance the access of vulnerable youth to education. RET addressed the significant barriers to keeping vulnerable children and youth out of school while working with the Lebanese host community and the displaced Syrian community. RET instigated educational programs to strengthen the well-being and resilience of vulnerable youth by implementing retention strategies, remedial and homework support programs, and enhancing the educational results and achievements of public-school students at risk of failure dropping out. Furthermore, RET was actively involved in the UNICEF “Back to School Campaign”, which reached out to parents and caregivers and raised their awareness of the importance of education, while referring out-of-school children and youth to formal as informal educational institutions. RET was actively involved in 9 public schools.
Since 2017, RET has implemented consecutive projects to prevent the radicalization and violent extremism and mitigate intra- and inter-community tension and conflicts in Lebanon. RET supported the vulnerable youth’s role through civic responsibility programs, peacebuilding, and conflict resolution. RET focused explicitly on the most vulnerable and marginalized youth, who experienced deprivation, violence, exclusion, or other forms of adversity, and directly targeted 24,000 young people, 50% female participants, throughout three projects.
The projects provided interventions across the Humanitarian – Development – Peace nexus focusing on:
Responding to protection risks and improving coping mechanisms in fragile settings through support groups: Safe platforms/self-help support sessions, psychosocial support (PSS) & referral to mental health/psychosocial support services;
Strengthening youth capacities as agents of peace through: youth community leadership training, mixed social, cultural, arts and sports community peace events, youth networks for exchange, and further community support projects to ensure continued intercommunity and intergenerational dialogue.
Increasing youths’ life prospects and employability profiles through self-reliance training to enhance (a) technical skills and (b) literacy (computer, language, finance) skills.
RET is strengthening Lebanese and Syrian refugees’ resilience and peaceful co-existence through increased income generation in the agricultural and food production sectors. 2021 – 2024
The project targets Lebanese and Syrian refugee households and communities in rural areas of Baalbek-Hermel who experience poverty and food insecurity as they heavily depend on agriculture, which is insufficient to secure their livelihoods due to low productivity and profitability. RET promotes short and medium-term agriculture measures to revive rural areas that directly target the needs of the poorest refugees/local farmers and female-headed households while linking emergency food security/aid to longer-term structural support.
The objectives of RET’s intervention are to improve the food security of farmers in Baalbek-Hermel by increasing their agricultural production through Good Agricultural Practices technical training, seeds & equipment provision, training on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in all target areas. Etc. RET will increase the income generation of refugees and local population in Baalbek-Hermel by enhancing postharvest and food processing practices.
Moreover, The project will support Lebanese fruit and fish farmers to increase their agricultural/aquacultural productivity and Syrian and Lebanese farmworkers to promote employment and livelihood opportunities. RET is advancing peace-building, conflict prevention, and resolution and ensuring peaceful co-existence between refugees and the host community through food security programs. RET will work to establish community relations between Lebanese and Syrian communities in Baalbek-Hermel and ensure marginalized groups are better integrated into the community.
Finally, RET will take part in infrastructure rehabilitation with the construction of 3.2 km irrigation system in Al Qaa, ensuring safe water reaches the most vulnerable and the rehabilitation of 2 main agricultural roads with 5km and 10km length benefiting a total of 2300 to access their farmland. RET will build the institutional capacity of 6 municipalities through training on local economic plans to promote Public-Private Partnership (PPP) investment in agribusiness and agriculture to increase local economic development projects. (LEDP)
Strengthening social cohesion, promoting youth peace, and leadership agency conducive to social stability in Lebanon. 2020
Lebanon is facing imminent economic collapse that resulted in nation-wide mass protests in October 2019, accompanied by a rise in anti-Syrian/anti-refugee rhetoric with refugees being scapegoated and blamed openly for their Lebanese hosts’ economic woes. According to the Social Stability Sector – National Working Group, positive relations between the Syrians and Lebanese are being eroded, particularly in vulnerable cadasters, including Wadi Khaled (Akkar). In many villages, there is a lack of interaction between refugees and the host community. In Akkar, a survey was conducted to gauge the level of positive relations between the Lebanese and Syrians; only 27.5% and 10.6% of Syrians and Lebanese respectively described the relations as positive. Top three drivers of community tensions were: competition for jobs (46.0%), competition for resources/services (21.0%), and cultural differences (11.0%). The prolonged crisis has led to a rise in anti-Syrian rhetoric.
The Social Stability Sector will focus in 2020 on (a) deteriorating intra-Lebanese tensions and implications on refugee-host community relations; and (b) communications, on traditional and social media, for peacebuilding. The proposed intervention is in line with the revised strategy, focusing on vulnerable cadres identified in the “Map of Hotspots and Places to Watch, August 2019”. The proposed intervention is in line with the sector’s November 2019 strategy and approach. The proposed intervention will focus on Wadi Khaled, located in Akkar Governorate on the Lebanese-Syrian border, one of the poorest and most deprived areas in Lebanon. Due to the proximity of the border to Syria, the conflict has a strong spillover effect on the area, which is reflected in the high number of Syrian refugees and the deterioration of commercial and trade activities. Out of the total population of 428’600 residents in Akkar Governorate, 35.5% are displaced Syrians. According to RET’s consultation with UNHCR, the Wadi Khaled area includes 40’000 (registered and non-registered) refugees and 50,000 Lebanese residents. 58.5% of the Lebanese in Akkar live in poverty. UNDP classifies wadi Khaled under Code Red, which is indicative of the level of stress/rising tensions that characterize the type of hostile relations prevailing amongst the local and refugee communities.
The project will focus on Lebanese and Syrian youth and adolescents aged 12-25 years, including males and females equally, with activities focusing on countering the marginalization of vulnerable youth and adolescents by endorsing “a gender-balanced approach” to youth agency pillared around:
- Cultivating leadership
- Designing and administering peacebuilding and social stability modules conducive to social cohesion
- Supporting youth resilience through art, as a conduit for conflict transformation and sustainable peacebuilding
The project aims to create an inclusive space for youth-led activities, using a human rights-based approach, strengthening dialogue, trust, peaceful coexistence, and nurturing civic partnership between the Syrian refugee and Lebanese host community members. This project also aims to promote social cohesion through countering anti-refugee rhetoric by supporting volunteer-led peace tech activities. The activities have been designed to target youth aged between 14 & 25 and their families from the host and refugee communities using a gender-balanced approach by strengthening local mechanisms. The activities focused on: Awareness Raising Sessions on Peace Building, Social Cohesion and Community Stability to 2’400 participants; Group and Individual Legal Aid/Assistance to 1200 beneficiaries; PSS Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). A Psychosocial Counsellor and a Conflict Resolution Specialist will administer FGDs engaging 400 beneficiaries in community dialogue; Peace Camps training 400 youth attending three (3) workshops covering the following topics: a. youth leadership & civic engagement. b. conflict mitigation and resolution. c. building resilience and social stability.
RET will select 24 high-flyers trained to act as mentors for the youth in their communities, providing Peer-to-Peer training to 1’500 peers. RET will design and develop Knowledge Information Kits in Arabic on the issues of youth interest and provide peace-tech activities by training 200 beneficiaries on the responsible use of Social Media. RET will eventually select 50 Responsible Social Media trainees for further training on the tracking, monitoring, and reporting anti-refugee rhetoric and messaging on social media platforms that fuel social instability.
Peace Events and Community Support Projects (CSPs) are to be designed and implemented by the youth as part of RET’s approach to meaningfully engage young people and positively engage them in all phases of humanitarian work. Young people will be identifying needs, developing responses, and implementing initiatives to benefit their respective communities. The youth will organize 25 Peace Events and CSPs targeting 1’500 beneficiaries.
Youth empowerment and social cohesion – Phase I & Phase II. (2017 – 2019)
The influx of Syrian refugees in Lebanon added pressure to an already fragile socio-economic situation marred with political instability, intercommunity tensions, and coupled in some areas with sectarian divisions. This has had a profound impact on social cohesion and intercommunity relations. Feelings of insecurity on both sides are causing increased mobility restrictions on refugees and segregation between communities.
The project implemented by RET to prevent radicalization and violent extremism was accessible to all youth from 12 to 25 years old, from both displaced and host communities. RET focused specifically on the most vulnerable and marginalized youth, who were experiencing privation, violence, exclusion, or other forms of adversity. The project provided interventions across the Humanitarian – Development – Peace nexus focusing on:
- Humanitarian Aid: Responding to protection risks and improving coping mechanisms in fragile settings through Support Groups: Safe platforms/self-help Support Sessions, Psychosocial Support (PSS) & Referral to mental health/psychosocial support services.
- Peacebuilding: Strengthening the capacities of youth as agents of peace through Youth Community Leadership Trainings, Mixed Social, Cultural, Arts and Sports Community Peace Events, Youth Networks for Exchange and further Community Support Projects to ensure continued intercommunity and intergenerational dialogue.
- Sustainable Development intervention: Increasing youths’ life prospects and employability profiles through Self-Reliance Training to enhance (a) Technical Skills and (b) Literacy (computer, language, finance) skills.
The overall goal of the project was to enable youth from the refugee and host communities to stay away from harmful practices leading to radicalization and violent extremism, and instead to become agents of positive social change in their communities with a focus on intra- and inter-community tensions and conflict mitigation.
RET’s intervention in Lebanon is in line the “United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism” that stress the importance of (i) dialogue, (ii) engaging communities; (iii) empowering youth, congruent with (iv) skills development and employment facilitation (among other initiatives and measures), as a means for preventing conflict and countering extremism.
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