Lebanon, a country of 6 million, today hosts around 1.5 million displaced Syrians – of which around 54 percent are children. Statistics indicate that the country has the highest per-capita concentration of refugees worldwide, where one person out of four is a refugee.
With poverty rates already high prior to the refugee influx, the situation in the country continues to be precarious, pressuring all sectors from education and health to housing, water and electricity supply. According to the Lebanon Crisis Plan 2017-2020, nearly half of those affected by the crisis are children and adolescents, at least 1.4 million children currently growing up at risk, deprived, and with acute needs for basic services and protection. Public services are overstretched, with demand exceeding the capacity of institutions and infrastructure to meet the rising needs. At present, 1 million Lebanese and more than 70 percent of displaced Syrians live below the poverty line. All these factors have led three quarters of the displaced households to adopt negative coping strategies, such as reducing their food spending and buying food on credit, reducing essential expenses such as education and health, taking children out of school and sending them to work, or selling houses and productive assets.
Qudra in Lebanon
The Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP) 2017-2020 acts as a guiding framework for Qudra activities in Lebanon. The LCRP is a joint, multi-year plan between the Government of Lebanon and its international and national partners aiming to address the needs and vulnerabilities of refugees and Lebanese people, communities and institutions affected by the crisis.
Qudra activities in Lebanon are designed to strengthen the resilience of refugees and host communities by improving the education infrastructure, expanding and improving vocational skills and strengthening social cohesion through various measures.
Working in compliance with national laws and regulations, Qudra aims to assist all stakeholders in Lebanon in following areas:
Improving school infrastructure and access to extracurricular activities (GIZ)
Qudra seeks to increase access to good quality education services for Syrian and Lebanese children and students in Lebanon.
With this action, Qudra responds to the immense needs in the education sector, where based on LCRP statistics, almost 500,000 displaced Syrian children registered in Lebanon are of school age (3-17 years old) ; but half of them – more than 250,000 children – remain out of school along with 50,000 Lebanese of primary school age (6-14 years). Many factors act as major barriers to school enrolment and attendance, and lead to high number of dropouts: child labour, high costs for regular attendance at schools including transport, far and dangerous distances to schools, language barriers to education, and worn out existing infrastructures in schools with dramatic deterioration in the sanitary and hygiene facilities. To cope with the rising education needs of both the refugees and Lebanese, as of January 2016, an additional 238 schools have opened for double shifts in schools. As a result, the Lebanese public school system has been severely strained with public schools being overcrowded.
Qudra in Lebanon endeavours to improve the situation described through school rehabilitation with inclusive features, providing schools with facilities for extra-curricular activities (e.g. sports, playgrounds), offering capacity development for teaching staff, parents and community workers in close cooperation with its partner Ministry of Education and Higher Education. Modules on how to use extra- curricular activities to develop social and personal competencies are jointly developed and being implemented.
Expanding and improving basic vocational skills (GIZ)
The overarching objective of this component is to enhance educational and economic opportunities for host communities and Syrian refugees through skills training measures, in particular for youth and women in Lebanon.
Activities focus on formal and non-formal short-term trainings for both disadvantaged Lebanese and Syrians with an overall aim to strengthen their resilience and contribute to their economic self-sufficiency. Tailor-made training programmes are offered in construction, services and agriculture-related skills that correspond to the demands of the labour market, and they are conducted in collaboration with local NGOs that have context-based expertise and knowledge. The programmes are short (1-3 months), which means that trainees are able to quickly gain the qualifications needed to join the labour market. They focus on providing trainees with on-the-job skills that can immediately be put to use.
Strengthening social cohesion through community-based services (EF)
To foster social stability between refugees and local populations in four host communities in Bekaa-Lebanon, Qudra provides basic services through four semi-permanent community centres. In doing so, this component seeks to prevent children marginalisation through activities reflecting a positive engagement in their communities. Activities also focus on improving opportunities for adults from both communities to develop life skills. Community-based awareness sessions as well as psychosocial support are essential parts of this component, which also aims to improve exchange and ensure the access of refugee and host communities to information on their rights and duties in Lebanon.
Promoting regional and national dialogue (GIZ)
Qudra brings refugees, IDPs, host communities and local, national, regional stakeholders together in different platforms in order to encourage all parties to enter constructive dialogue and exchange experiences. Through such a participatory strategy, Qudra events and activities aim to develop new, innovative strategies for an appropriate response to the region’s refugee crisis. Most importantly, this module advocates for and provides the mechanisms of giving a voice to refugees, members of host communities and IDPs.
Qudra in Lebanon, through various event formats and types of activities, play an essential role in building bridges and creating synergies among all relevant actors. EU Madad Labs provide a unique forum for these encounters, where all parties come together to discuss and identify key issues pertaining to the refugee crisis and develop context-based innovative solutions.