Mission contextWhile Lebanon’s history has made it accustomed to hosting tremendous numbers of refugees from neighboring states, in 2018, the country was home to the highest concentration of refugees per capita in the world. Both Lebanese and Syrians are struggling: over the past year, 170,000 Lebanese fell into poverty and 51% of Syrian refugees could no longer afford to meet their basic needs. 88% of refugee families had debts averaging 1,000 USD. With upgrades to state infrastructure and basic service provision falling behind demand, political pressure increased to push Syrians back to Syria without the necessary guarantees for their safety in place.
Central to ACTED’s approach in Lebanon is engagement with local stakeholders, including community members, to both support service delivery and promote greater resilience. ACTED implements multi-sectoral integrated programs such as community-led, area-based WASH, shelter, and multi-purpose cash assistance. In its WASH programming, ACTED targets water authorities for trainings to improve infrastructure management, while also engaging with members of the public to promote household-level approaches to water management such as rainwater harvesting.Using its links with micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and cooperatives, ACTED seeks ways to create livelihoods opportunities so lacking in Lebanon. This involves working to develop technical trainings and business development services, as well as supporting local institutions to provide market-based skill development.
As access to employment remains a major challenge in Lebanon, those with additional protection concerns face multiple barriers to securing and maintaining jobs. To bridge this gap, ACTED launched an integrated livelihood and protection program, working through Social Development Centers to provide trainings, career counseling, and support to the self-employed.Trainings moved beyond work skills, incorporating intensive courses aimed at developing life skills through building an understanding of gender equality in employment, conflict resolution and general job readiness. Participants, some of whom had never accessed education, were able to acquire the skills and confidence to land their first jobs or leverage their home-based activities into profitable businesses.ACTED plans to scale-up this approach of individualized coaching and mentoring schemes to offer a pathway for vulnerable households to achieve long-term income security and work themselves out of extreme poverty.