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 — 25 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.
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.
- Agriculture & Food: Ensuring that the most vulnerable refugees have access to food in partnership with the World Food Program (WFP). Conducting cash-for-work activities to improve long-term agriculture infrastructure.
- Children & Youth: Protecting at-risk youth from violence and neglect by providing emotional support, recreational activities, community engagement and life skills education. Raising awareness on child rights and training community leaders on how to prevent violence against children.
- Conflict & Governance: 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, including farmers and small agro-businesses, to adopt improved operational, production and marketing practices. Helping people build livelihoods through market-based skills development and work placement.
- Water: Rehabilitating water and sanitation infrastructure in schools and rural villages. Improving basic water, sanitation and hygiene facilities for refugees living in informal tent settlements, collective shelters and unfinished rented apartments.
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Lebanon: New School, New Hope
Sharif Madi looked around at the Al Khayriyah elementary school and didn’t like what he saw. The floors were cracked, paint was peeling off the walls, windows allowed the cold and rain to come in, and the playground was not large enough for the school’s 157 students to run and play.