Since 2019, Lebanon has been plunged into one of the country's unprecedented economic and social crises. In March 2020, the first default was declared, to which was added the health crisis caused by the Pandemic, and, to make matters worse, the profound damages generated by the explosion at the port of Beirut on 4th August 2020. The pandemic, the monetary and political-institutional crisis have made it a country at the end of its tether. In the last two years, around 7 out of 10 people have slipped below the poverty line: 15% of families decide to stop educating their sons and daughters, 25% cannot access online teaching tools, 30% of children miss at least one meal every day, 60% are in debt to buy food, and 77% do not have enough food on the table (a percentage that rises to 99% in Syrian and Palestinian refugee families).
School drop-out and early marriage rates as well as child labour are on the rise. In this context, thousands of young people have taken to the streets to demand a radical change in the political class, an end to sectarianism and corruption.
Un Ponte Per has been working since 15th September 2021 on the Amn al Insani - Prioritising human security project, funded by Otto per Mille funds of the Italian Catholic Church - Conferenza Episcopale Italiana (CEI); the project, which is expected to continue until 15th March 2023, is designed to ensure human and food security to the Lebanese people of Mount Lebanon. The social and economic crisis which has gripped the country for years has prevented people from emigrating, so many people have gone back to working the land. This project is designed to provide people in rural areas with the necessary skills and the means to became self-sufficient and achieve full food security.
Part of the project is the organisation of training sessions and awareness raising for farmers and potential owners of small food producing companies, local cooperatives and the whole community, in order to increase understanding of human and food security.
The project will reach approximately 200 families. Training sessions will focus on the different skills required to run a small business: planning, time management, entrepreneurship, food security techniques, financial management and many other skills required to manage a sustainable business. Micro-credit schemes will be established to allow trained people to start agricultural businesses in the Aley and Chouf districts. Round table discussions with local farmers and owners of agricultural businesses and cooperatives will help identify local requirements, challenges and encourage best practice.
A key focus will be encouraging the involvement of women and young people in businesses and all aspects of food security. Their role in these agricultural start-ups is central to the project’s gender equality and anti-discrimination policies, during its implementation. Project partners include the Permanent Peace Movement, which has been promoting peace in Lebanon and throughout the region for over thirty years.
UPP IN LEBANON
Un Ponte Per has been present in Lebanon since 1997. It works mainly in Palestinian refugee camps, to guarantee the right of education and health to Palestinian and Syrian-Palestinian refugee children. Following humanitarian emergencies in the country, UPP has supported its partners in responding to and distributing essential aid. It works alongside local organizations to support the process of rebuilding social cohesion, following the civil war that bloodied the country for 15 years. Since 2017, it has been participating in the first Italian experimentation of Civil Peace Corps, with the presence in Lebanon of young operators who collaborate with local partner NGOs in non-formal education and peacebuilding programmes.
Name: Amn Al Insani: Towards The Prioritization Of Human Security
Project Sector: Food Security and Livelihoods
Beneficiaries: 200 Farmers
Total duration: September 2021 – March 2023
Project Areas: Chouf and Aley Districts, Mount Lebanon
Partner: Permanent Peace Movement (PPM)
Donor: Otto per Mille funds of the Italian Catholic Church - Conferenza Episcopale Italiana (CEI)