Our work in Lebanon

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Our work in Lebanon

Concern Worldwide began working in northern Lebanon in 2013 as a result of the massive influx of refugees into the country from Syria. Concern also has programmes helping those affected by the crisis in Syria and Turkey.

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Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Seven years of relentless conflict in Syria has displaced half of Syria’s population, including 5.5 million Syrians living as refugees in other countries in the region. Lebanon has the second largest population of Syrian refugees in the region and the highest per capita population of refugees in the world.  The country currently hosts nearly 1.5 million Syrians, 76% of whom are living below the poverty line - on less than $3.84 per day.

As the war in Syria prevails, the situation for refugees in Lebanon continues to deteriorate. By the end of 2017, 36% of refugee households reported having no member of their family in employment and having negative coping strategies, such as living on credit and borrowing which was cited as the primary source of income for many families. This is contributing to rising vulnerability among refugee households, with 91% of Syrian households living in Lebanon being food insecure.

Shelter

Over half of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in residential buildings that are overcrowded and in poor condition. Concern works to negotiate rent-free, rent-freeze and rent reduction agreements for tenants, coupled with building materials and technical support to landlords to rehabilitate their properties. In 2017, we also responded to 35 emergency cases of Syrian refugee eviction, relocating 80 families into safe unoccupied houses.

In the Informal Tented Settlements, Concern is working to help Syrian refugee families by distributing essentials like tarpaulins, stoves, blankets, emergency cash to new arrivals, and repair and insulation kits so that families are protected from the elements. Our work in emergency shelter support reached 21,950 people in 2017.

Syrian women help unload winterization supplies provided by Concern at an informal tented settlement (ITS) in Lebanon in December 2015. Photo: Kieran McConville/Concern Worldwide.

Water, sanitation and hygiene

Concern works closely with the Lebanese Government to build and rehabilitate water supply and sanitation infrastructure. This includes boreholes, waste water treatment plants, water supply networks and storm water drainage channels which reduce the risk of flooding of refugee settlements and neighbourhoods. To date, Concern has engaged in 25 such infrastructure projects.

Our work also includes connecting households to existing water and sewerage networks, and installing or upgrading toilets and handwashing facilities in both the informal tented settlements and substandard shelters. Concern’s programme aims to meet the immediate needs of vulnerable Lebanese host communities and Syrian refugees by improving access to clean water, reducing water-related diseases, engaging in hygiene promotion and ensuring the provision of private, dignified sanitation facilities. 

Our work to provide safe water and sanitation services to refugees and host communities reached 115,566 people in Lebanon in 2017, including those most vulnerable Syrians living in 157 informal tented settlements. 

Education

A strong focus on education by all actors in Lebanon has improved the enrolment of Syrian children in school from 52% in 2016 to 70% in 2017.

Concern’s education programme has been making great progress since its inception in 2014. In 2017, we have supported 5,370 Syrian refugee children through a range of education activities. The youngest children, 3 to 5 years old, have been taught with a specially developed numeracy and literacy programme designed to prepare them to integrate into the Lebanese school system. Concern also runs a homework and retention support programme for older Lebanese and Syrian children aged 6 to 14 who are at risk of failing classes or dropping out of school. 

Within our education programme, psychosocial support for children is provided to help mitigate against the negative impact of violence and displacement. In 2017, we trained 229 teachers in first aid and child protection, and conducted awareness sessions for parents to better support their children’s educational achievement at home. 

Refugees from Syria take part in an art workshop at a Concern-supported Collective Centre in northern Lebanon. Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos Pictures for Concern Worldwid

Livelihoods

To address poverty and contribute to the stabilisation of the crisis, Concern implements a livelihood programme to increase employment and income-generation opportunities for refugees and vulnerable Lebanese and Palestinian communities, with a particular focus on working with displaced and impoverished women. 

Concern is now working with women to establish small businesses by utilizing business grants provided by us. Moreover, we established a marketing platform for small cooperatives and aspiring women business owners to provide much needed market linkages for sustainable income generation. To promote job creation, Concern is also supporting small to medium enterprises working in the construction, clean energy and dairy sector by providing business management support, mentorship and grants to support growth.

Concern’s work in the agricultural sector aligns itself with the Government strategy to reduce import dependence and to promote improved access to technology for farmers. In 2017, we worked in rural Akkar with 250 Lebanese farmers and 320 Syrian labourers through 11 Farmer Field Schools to grow crops (e.g. potatoes) for supply to rural and urban markets.

Additionally, we worked to build 90 keyhole gardens in the Informal Tented Settlements (ITS), conducting trainings for 900 low-skilled refugees to grow food and provided them with gardening kits and training so that they can work as farm labourers in the host community.

Our programmes in both urban and rural contexts include craft skills and business training. In 2017, we trained 270 Syrian and Palestinian refugee women in embroidery, crochet, seam stressing and sewing and provided vocational business trainings to a further 200 women, selecting 114 of the strongest business proposals for start-up financial support to establish small businesses. 

Protection

Concern’s protection programme strives to build a protective environment for Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese and Palestinian communities. Through the Engaging Men and Psychosocial Support programme; men, women and children are engaged in tailored courses that focus on self-care, positive gender relationships and positive communication skills.

In 2017, we engaged 1,758 men, 1,992 women and 1,471 children through a family-focused approach. In aiming to change attitudes and behaviours around key protection concerns, such as gender-based violence, early marriage and child labour, our goal is to reduce the potential for harmful practices in communities affected by conflict and provide support for refugees to cope with their long-term displacement.

Concern is also providing support on a one to one basis for families and individuals who are very vulnerable to protection risks. Concern’s case workers  work together with the individual or families to identify their problems and come up with a plan to address these problems through various actions, including referral to services. The case workers create a participatory and enabling environment for the individual or family to have ownership and take control of their own lives.

Donors

Our donors in Lebanon include: the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Dutch Government (ACTED), the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Department (ECHO), the European Union, Irish Aid, UNICEF, UNHCR, the Big Heart Foundation.

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