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The current events in Lebanon underscore the importance of Save the Children's work with children, adolescents, youth and families in Lebanon where Save the Children has been responding to emergency and development needs since 1953. At a time of instability and uncertainty, Save the Children's network of partners in Lebanon is implementing the approaches developed during past emergencies to create effective safe spaces for children, adolescents, youth and families in need.
Throughout the south, community centers run by our partner Development for People and Nature Association (DPNA) remain open and are providing safe spaces for the community. As events unfold, young people trained through Save the Children's leadership program are using their leadership skills to facilitate peer discussion groups and continue to build bridges across sectarian divides. More than 200 young people have participated in these safe space activities in the first two days of the crisis.
In Akkar, in the north, schools supported by Save the Children's partner INMA are planning discussion groups and community activities to support students affected by the rapidly changing events. Drawing on the skills and knowledge that they gained through Save the Children's civic engagement and leadership programs, teachers and peer facilitators will work with younger students once schools resume.
The Our Voice project in Beirut, supported by Save the Children, is maintaining its peer support network and media outreach network during these challenging times. The strong support network created by this leading group of 25 youth with multiple physical, emotional and mental challenges is enabling them to better cope with the situation. As a media and disability rights project, Our Voice empowers young people to take positive, rights-based action in their communities. Actions such as preparing news articles, photo essays and other media materials give young people a positive sense of purpose and direction at times of crises.
As the situation evolves, Save the Children will continue to work with its partners to monitor and respond to the needs of children, adolescents and youth and their families. More than 1,000 young people trained through Save the Children's leadership and civic engagement programs are ready and able to work with its partners to meet these emerging needs.
Save the Children will continue to focus on providing safe spaces for children, adolescents and youth and engaging them in community-based activities that put their skills into action.
Community Youth Development Programs
Supported by the Ford Foundation, Naseej ("Weaving" in Arabic) is a regional community youth development initiative that are being implemented in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, West Bank/ Gaza and Yemen. Naseej aims at supporting and strengthening initiatives that build healthy communities, and increase support for Arab youth as active agents for change in their communities throughout the MENA region. Naseej provides sub grants to community youth development initiatives and activities at the community level, enables the exchange of experience between and amongst youth, youth workers and organizations, and raises awareness of youth leadership in the region.
While Lebanon's youth are considered one of the most active in the region, the July 2006 war further elaborated the active volunteerism of youth in relieving the Lebanese people pains and distresses.
Naseej supported programs in Lebanon enhance community youth development through about 6-7 projects that cover a wide spectrum of activities and themes, mainly community health, recreational activities for children, education, psycho-social support for traumatized populations, reconciliation among youth from various political and religious backgrounds, and support for the disabled and elderly, in a relatively wide geographical distribution (North, South, Bekaa, Mount Lebanon and Beirut).
Projects are partially led by youth throughout the project cycle, some of the projects are done by youth to benefit and work with adults and communities; others benefit children, while others address issues of political reconciliation among youth themselves. All of Naseej supported programs reflect the need to mitigate the effects of trauma, the feelings of powerlessness, resentment, fear, and uncertainty amongst young people.
Siraj ("Lantern" in Arabic)is a three-year youth leadership development initiative supported by USAID. This program works closely with Naseej partners in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Yemen. Siraj aims at providing Arab youth with inspiring affirmative role models and networks that demonstrate positive and practical ways to contribute to their society and economy. Throughout the program, Siraj creates and incubates dynamic networks of leaders and leaderships that use a 21st. century mindset and civic activism to link with like minded colleagues in the Arab World.
Working with partner DPNA, Save the Children has been implementing Youth Development programs that better equip youth to act as positive agents for change in their communities.
Over the past several years, the Save the Children and DPNA trained hundreds of people aged 12–24 to act as facilitators in community development processes and activities. These facilitators went on to engage more than 2,100 adolescents and youth to actively participate in their communities touching the lives of tens of thousands of children and families. Save the Children supported youth to:
The Save the Children/DPNA Project is highly responsive to the unstable situation in Lebanon. All Save the Children supported activities and programs were designed and implemented by youth with support and training from DPNA staff and designed to build bridges across divided communities. In all these activities, young people demonstrate that they can act for positive change, take on a leadership role and succeed at the community level. Such achievements have increased youth voice and their networking capacity.
Save the Children also partners with INMA ("Development" in Arabic) to implement "Youth Civic Responsibility" projects in the Akkar region, located in the North of Lebanon. The goal of the Youth Civic Responsibility projects are to empower youth to make a difference as positive citizens in their community. As a result of the project communities benefited from:
For many of those who are participating in the project, this is their first exposure to community and self-development and their first opportunity to openly discuss issues of good governance and civic consciousness in a supportive peer setting.
Through interactive and creative workshops, INMA works with young people who express their opinions, fears and aspirations for a community and society that is free of corruption, where their own opportunities are fairly and equitably distributed and where they can have a positive role at the community level and beyond. The output of these workshops has been a youth-friendly resource book on civic responsibility which incorporates the themes, ideas, drawings and concerns expressed by the young people themselves. Youth were involved both in reviewing and commenting on draft versions of the booklet thereby enhancing their voice and recognizing the value of their contribution.
One of the key outcomes of this project has been the identification of both youth needs and youth assets in this underprivileged area of Lebanon. Young people expressed a clear need for further similar initiatives that build their capacity to express themselves and empower them as active, positive citizens.
Save the Children's newest partner is the Inclusion Network. The Inclusion Network is an informal collective that aims at achieving inclusion within the family, the educational system and society. The Network was conceived four years ago by associations of parents of children with additional needs, disabled persons' organizations and organizations for persons with additional needs with the following vision:
Inclusion is a process that reaches out to all children and requires a continuously developing environment that would meet their additional needs and match their capacities.
The inclusion of children revolves around three main axes that are intertwined, deep-rooted and indissoluble within society – the family, the school and the local community.
Save the Children is supporting the Inclusion Network's Our Voice project to:
Lebanon Facts and Statistics
Unless otherwise noted, facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children’s 2012 State of the World’s Mothers report. You can access detailed data here
Other sources as follows: Infant Mortality Rate: CIA World Factbook 2012; Life Expectancy at Birth: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2012; National Poverty Rate: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2012; Population: CIA World Factbook 2012; Human Development Index Rank: United Nations Development Program
Last Updated October 2013