• Photo: Corinna Robbins/Mercy Corps

The context

Lebanon is home to deep-rooted political, cultural and religious complexities that frequently result in complicated conflicts. Since the start of the Syria crisis, Lebanon has become home to the largest number of Syrian refugees per capita in the world — 30 percent of the population is now made up of refugees.

Most of them have settled in the poorest areas of Lebanon. This has put additional strain on the country’s already-fragile infrastructure and social makeup, and tensions are soaring as Syrian refugees and Lebanese families compete for the same overstretched resources like jobs, shelter and public services.

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For example, the inflow of refugees has expanded informal, low-wage employment and deteriorated working conditions, and both Lebanese and Syrian families are struggling to find and maintain sufficient livelihoods to meet their basic needs. More than 1 million people already live below the poverty line — and unemployment is rising rapidly.

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Our work

  • Children & Youth: Protecting at-risk boys and girls from violence and neglect by providing psychosocial support, recreational activities, community engagement and practical life skills education. Leading gender-based violence awareness sessions for men, women and girls.
  • Governance & Social Stability: Increasing social cohesion between communities, reducing inter-communal tensions, and enhancing trust between communities and local government institutions. Empowering local governance structures to be responsive to the needs of all community members, including refugees. Training key municipality staff and Lebanese and Syrian community leaders in local resource management and conflict prevention to help mitigate resource-based tensions and defuse local conflicts.
  • Economic Opportunity: Increasing sustainable livelihood opportunities by supporting small and medium enterprises to improve operational, production and marketing practices, and linking them with markets. Helping people build livelihoods through market-based skills development and work placements. Strengthening solid waste management and recycling services and supporting the development of agro-food, construction, renewable energy and ecotourism markets. Supporting municipalities in managing intensive labor programs so the most vulnerable populations can access short-term income to meet their basic needs.
  • Water, Sanitation & Hygiene: Improving communal water and sanitation facilities for both Lebanese and Syrian populations. Testing innovative solutions to wastewater management and sanitation in close coordination with local communities and government.