Stimulating joint activities by Lebanese and Syrians in communities in Bekaa
As part of the project Future Together Now, forumZFD has partnered with the Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training to select and train community activists in various communities in Northern and Central Bekaa in Lebanon. Bekaa is a region relatively close to Syria and a place where a high number of Syrian refugees live.
Get trained, implement activities
The arrival of Syrian refugees is a challenge to the infrastructure and labour market in the host communities, many of whom are relatively poor. The situation has led to tensions between Syrian and Lebanese people and there is little interaction between the two communities. To facilitate non-violent cooperation and communication between Syrian refugees and Lebanese host communities, four community activists have been trained in methods of non-violent conflict transformation and community work by forumZFD. They also receive mentoring by forumZFD staff. The aim is to enable them to successfully implement activities in their respective communities afterwards that benefit both Lebanese and Syrian. Each of the four community activists works in a different community.
Working groups in the communities created
The LOST community activists received trainings on tools for analysing conflicts, non-violent communication, methods for working with groups and planning peace projects, among others. They created in each of the communities a working group with representatives of the local Lebanese and the Syrian refugee community as a forum for interaction.
The working groups develop and plan ideas on useful activities in the communities, which respond to local needs. The working groups assessed local needs; among others, by they interviewed people in the community, including representatives of the municipality, on the basis of questionnaires. Various needs were identified. For example, in one community the lack of clean drinking water was seen as the most urgent issue.
The working groups together with the community activists presented their ideas to local stakeholders, including staff of the municipality, religious leaders, school directors and other important figures of public life.
Cinema, talent show, trainings, building
Some activities that the community activists and working groups have implemented to address local needs are:
- In Bednayel, a local audience had the opportunity to watch different films, followed by a discussion on each of the films. For example, the Lebanese film “Gadi” about the life of a person with a mental disability in a Lebanese village was screened, triggering a discussion about discrimination.
- In Ein, local talents presented their creative skills in a public talent show entitled Ein got talent to an audience of more than 300 – and the winners, selected by a local committee, were awarded medals in the end. Moreover, the community activists and the working group established an office run by volunteers, where Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees in need of support can turn to. The office refers them to appropriate other organisations that may be able to help them.
- In Baalbeck, first aid trainings in two schools were organised together with the Red Cross.
- In Hermel, the working group decided to build a water well.
The project “Future Together Now” responds to the potential for conflict caused by the refugee crisis in Lebanon. The project aims to improve the understanding for host communities and local authorities and facilitate a conflict-sensitive management of the refugee crisis. It helps establish structures for dialogue and introduces methods of non-violent conflict transformation to both host and refugee communities which are thereby empowered. read more