Project Factsheet
Tools for » Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Lebanon
Project ID 00067231 Description MDGF-1976-F-LBN Conflict Preve
Fund
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 31 Dec 2008
Theme
MDGF Conflict Prev Peacebld
Project status Financially Closed
Country Lebanon Participating Organization   Multiple
About

Overview:

By providing assistance to curb further escalation of tensions between key marginalized communities in North Lebanon (including between Palestinians living in refugee camps and Lebanese communities) the Joint Programme (JP) contributed to the national agenda of the government through creating better institutional dialogue mechanisms, promoting participation and civic empowerment, as well as strengthening civil society, particularly through the involvement of youth and women, regardless of affiliation or religion, as agents of change. The final report provides clear evidence and examples of positive achievements grounded on solid monitoring and evaluation of the change processes and the results obtained. An example of this is the piloting, over a period of 2 years, of conflict prevention and peace building techniques in 10 public and 8 UNRWA schools. The plan was changed several times along with different government and ministry priorities. Since the June 2011 government was in place the National Ministry of Education focused on the need to institutionalize and upgrade the Citizen curriculum to encompass children’s rights, gender based violence (GBV) and conflict management.  The new approach used by the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC) based on field presence and enhanced communications at field and local level proved so useful that it was adopted as a model for other areas of the country (see details under outcome 1). The main development problem was the lack of trust between the Lebanese and Palestinian communities, partly addressed through the JP approach and activities. The creation of four new fora has contributed to a change process and the fora have started to participate in conflict resolution at the local level. Specific activities resulting from the participatory process also have had a significant contribution to easing the tensions.  For example, the expansion of the Five Martyr’s Cemetery proved to be a clear identified priority as the lack of burial space was creating tensions between the two communities.

 

Outcome 1:

Conflict resolution and mediation mechanisms developed and sustained in order to facilitate the resolution of inter- and intra-communal tensions between Palestinians and Lebanese.

Outcome achievements:

  • The Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC) has been working for two years to increase its presence at the local levels in the camps and in the Lebanese surroundings. The field presence and newly adopted strategy has led to creating new dynamics of the Lebanese Palestinian relationship and for the first time since 1948 where representatives from the Lebanese government (LPDC) were going to the field, meeting people and introducing a more consultative an participatory approach towards identifying priorities and addressing them. Monthly meetings are being organized with local municipal authorities and popular committees to identify common priorities and provide a clear idea of the situation on the ground and about the dynamics of interactions between Palestinians and Lebanese. Various fora contributing to a change in dynamics were created in different areas. In Nahr El Bared Camp (NBC) the forum has been quite successful in managing joint initiatives targeting the Lebanese and Palestinian communities in NBC, although it is too early to draw conclusions on the on-going work. However, there is anecdotal evidence reported by local stakeholders of innovative ways used to resolve tense situations, and the relationships forged through the JP have made a contribution towards local actors assuming more responsibility on local affairs. A bobcat was purchased to improve service delivery in solid waste removal, as it was one contentious issue.
  • In Beddawi a Lebanese Palestinian forum was also established with the municipality and the Popular Committee, and in agreement with the municipality they agreed on the renovation of the cultural center, where the Lebanese and Palestinian NGOs are now organizing joint social and cultural activities. Sewage was identified in two areas as a priority issue to deal with as inadequate sewage systems meant spillover from Lebanese area into Palestinian area, and into the houses of both Lebanese and Palestinian residents.
  • Training to youth and CBOs (Community Based Organizations) in conflict resolution was undertaken and following the training, participants requested an additional forum to be established to target cultural and social issues affecting both communities. The Lebanese Palestinian Cooperation Committee (LPCC) (comprised of NGOs and CBOs that used to compete against each other) has already jointly planned, organized and implemented six activities targeting youth, children and women in both communities.
  • The ILO developed an employment and labour profile that provides comprehensive socio-economic profiles of Palestinians living in North Lebanon, with a focus on employment and key socio-economic indicators. The document is translated into Arabic and will be widely disseminated to inform dialogue about the state of employment of Palestinians in the North among employers, syndicates, chambers of commerce and industry, trade unions and other relevant stakeholders.
  • The support to a media campaign planned jointly by UNDP/ILO/UNRWA to publicize the forthcoming labour law on Palestinian labour rights had to be changed given lack of sufficient legislative progress on Palestinian employment rights.  With UNICEF support and that of the Ministry of Education, more than 2,000 adolescent and youth were trained on peace building, conflict and violence resolutions and management skills, children’s rights and communication techniques in the various JP target communities. Beneficiaries were reached through continuous weekly training sessions in 10 public schools, 8 UNRWA schools and 6 summer camps for 2 years in a row. As a result, a sustainability plan was developed with the Ministry of Education to support the first phase of the Citizenship Curriculum textbooks and teacher guidebooks.
  • In one particularly extremely polarized political area (Jabal Mohsen Bab El Tabbaneh) a different approach was followed, by undertaking an assessment of the whole of Tripoli in order to create a locally led conflict mitigation mechanism in Tripoli. After the assessment was done and the conveners group including key local stakeholders was created in the city, they started developing their own strategy for Tripoli, based on a long-term strategy and initiatives (albeit not within the JP’s objectives). UNDP re-targeted resources to continue the work of UNICEF in ten different schools and the young participants showed signs of changing their attitudes and demonstrated improved tolerance when talking about the others.
  • Another output was undertaken by UNFPA in Tripoli and the Palestinian Camps to increase knowledge of health care providers on health, reproductive health, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and women’s rights. Training workshops targeted health care providers in the two target areas (Palestinian Camps and Tripoli). A reproductive health assessment was undertaken that was used to deliver advanced training workshops for health service providers. A training workshop on women empowerment and GBV was organized during five days with 15 participants (mainly women leaders of NGOs and social workers) of which two days were on project development and results based management, after which the participating organizations submitted small proposals to implement local initiatives, showing their interest in developing locally based events. UNFPA produced a documentary and a booklet with the success stories and good practices in GBV.
  • At the educational level UNESCO aimed to empower Palestinian and Lebanese youth through active participation in community development and peace building activities. 7 schools (3 UNRWA, 4 Lebanese public schools) were targeted through a specific training and activities programme. As a result, seven youth dialogue clubs were created and support was provided in organizing local initiatives promoting conflict prevention and peace building with surrounding schools and communities, specifically parents.
  • The mid-term evaluation and the continuous progress reports submitted by UNICEF highlighted and documented the positive change in knowledge and behaviour that occurred among a big number of beneficiaries.  An example is that a large number of students are also serving as mediators within their schools and advising the teachers on how to handle violent students.
  • Popular committees (PC) act as formal governing bodies of the Palestinian refugee camps and they are formed along the various Palestinian political factions. As members are not elected, they are not fully representative of the community, and further lack necessary skills for local governance, particularly in addressing the tensions and conflicts inside the camps. UNRWA conducted a capacity assessment that showed not only knowledge gap of the PC members but also highlighted the lack of interest and even resistance to the intervention. As a result the JP implementation was delayed for four months and higher level advocacy was undertaken. Eventually the PC members agreed to the intervention and to form side community groups to represent women and youth. 32 training sessions were given over a five-months period, with participation of 30 out of the 40 PC members. As a result of cooperation between the PC and the community groups, a newsletter was produced that contributed to more visibility of the camp activities and services and increased community participation. The newsletter was well received by the community. The group is now considering a proposal for continuing the publication and ensuring its sustainability. Despite the resistance faced early in the programme, evaluations have shown that the PC training programme managed to build trust and confidence between the Agency and the PCs, and promoted participation and cooperation among women, youth and the popular committees from on one side and with the Lebanese community on the other. Evaluations revealed not only enhanced capacity and skills from PC members but also a change in attitudes and perceptions, as shown by the invitation to two women to join the PC of NBC, the invitation of youth volunteers to assist with the administrative work of the PCs and the joining of a member with an academic background. The development of the complaints and claims mechanism for NBC displaced families, as a result of the reprogramming, also had positive impact on institutional and human resource capacities. Two women groups and two youth groups were formed and received training, meeting the target of 30% girls youth groups (40% achieved in NBC and 50% in Beddawi). As regards to increased community participation and openness to reform, the JP has been able to partially achieve this result.

 

Outcome 2:

Conflict risk in North Lebanon communities reduced through the design and implementation of inclusive socio-economic initiatives.

Outcome achievements:

  • UNDP contributed to reducing conflict risks through training to 33 municipalities of the Akkar border regions targeting newly elected municipal officials to improve their local governance skills based on an initiative sponsored by the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities. The ILO also supported reducing tensions through its participatory approach in developing economic plans. Three Regional Working Groups (RWG), two sectoral fora and two established cooperatives created an opportunity for open dialogue about the socio-economic development challenges and priorities.  As a result of the training to newly elected officials, ILO and UNDP insisted that regional working groups from all communities be formed. Two local cooperatives were created with a unique management structure inclusive of municipal council members from different political backgrounds, members of other existing cooperatives, farmers, local CBO members and local business owners. This was done in order to foment a holistic approach to economic development and helping local leaders to take the leadership of the approach. One example is that it brought together the Sunni, Alawite and Christian communities in the North. Despite their differences, they were able to agree on a common approach to the benefit of all (e.g. placing the vegetable nursery in a Christian village at the request of the Alawite and Sunni communities).
  • In terms of the UNPFA GBV workshop training, participants representing 6 NGOs and one Social Development Center (SDC) submitted a joint proposal to implement a series of awareness raising activities to promote gender equality and reducing GBV vulnerabilities – reflecting the spirit of solidarity among actors and aspiration for coordinated efforts at the local level.
  • UNDP support to the economic development and support to the cooperatives (potato harvesting equipment, nursery) is believed to play a role in reducing tensions in the areas, as more income and economic development may contribute to shield the cooperatives from the external factors. ILO also supported micro-entrepreneurs (36) with loans through local micro-finance institutions.

 

Best practices:

  • The Value Chain Analysis facilitated by the ILO proved to be an excellent tool in bringing people together to discuss purely technical issues (in this case around the olive sector) and agree on common objectives regardless of backgrounds and individual beliefs. The various trainings given to the two cooperatives in cooperative management and technical training also helped in bringing together people from different villages to address common challenges.
  • The individual and group capacities developed during the JP implementation have contributed significantly to the outcome achievements. All activities were planned in a way that local leaders were taking the leadership in the management of the initiatives, whether they are managing a bobcat being used by the Lebanese and Palestinian for solid waste removal in a camp surrounding area, or whether it is managing an agricultural cooperative in the Akkar region. With respect to CBOs and NGOs, the capacity building on communication skills and conflict prevention and resolution has led to these organizations coming together and planning activities that can improve relationships in their communities.
  • UNDP received very good feedback for insisting on local leadership to all activities. This made the Mayors, PCs, NGOs and CBOs and Cooperative Managers feel more empowered and motivated to complete activities and ensure sustainability of the work after the end of the JP. The shift towards bringing together local leaders regularly in the context of implementation of concrete activities proved more effective than the initial efforts to create dialogue platforms separate from joint projects.  Throughout this joint programme, a participatory approach was adopted in the design and implementation phases in order to ensure local/national ownership and sustainability.
  • UNICEF provided support to youth and to the Center for Lebanese Studies (CLS) and the Center for Education Research and Development (CERD) in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. UNRWA also designed activities to tackle the needs identified by the direct beneficiaries in cooperation with the popular committees and the local municipalities. Similarly, UNESCO had implemented activities in partnership with local NGOs, youth and teachers ensuring local ownership and sustainability.
  • This joint programme also adapted visual production and publications to display the successes of this intervention as well to support future advocacy and initiatives. UNFPA produced a video documentary and a booklet capturing key success stories and good practices while highlighting on the experiences of men and women who benefitted from UNFPA’s related interventions under this joint programme.

 

Lessons learned:

  • Any initiative that seeks to initiate dialogue committees or types of local peace councils in volatile areas requires a long-term approach. At least three years should be planned for such initiatives from the onset.
  • Involvement of local stakeholders in all stages of the design, planning and implementation process, including in the identification and prioritization of the key challenges, is the best means to ensure the buy in, local/national ownership and programme sustainability.
  • The structures that were formed (regional working groups, sectoral fora, cooperatives) and were representatives of the various communities also proved to be quite useful in reducing tensions and conflicts, while focusing on the common objectives.
  • Involving young people in the design and running of activities from the start gives them opportunities not only to build practical skills and self-confidence but additionally building of leadership skills. Further, building connection ties with peers and community decreases their vulnerability to radicalization or joining violent groups.
  • In the conflict-affected context in North Lebanon, such programmes can make a real difference to young people and communities. The youth involved in training and dialogue showed a genuine increase in understanding and empathy for their peers from other communities. They worked well together on cooperative tasks, built friendships and important ties between their communities that would not otherwise been possible. This is a highly important step in reducing conflict risk in the area.

 

More details can be found in the final project report: http://mptf.undp.org/document/download/10707

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Contacts

If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in Lebanon or the lead agency for the programme. The MPTF Office Portfolio Manager (or Country Director with Delegation of Authority) for this programme:

The person with GATEWAY access rights to upload and maintain documents for the programme:

  • Toni Ayrouth, Coordination Support; Telephone: 961 1 962524; Email: toni.ayrouth@one.un.org; Skype: toni.ayrouth1
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