With the start of the Syrian crisis in March 2011, over one million people had to seek refuge in Lebanon. This influx results in significant human, social, economic, and political impacts; it has particularly led to a saturation of essential services (education, health, water, etc.).
Given their proximity to the most vulnerable populations and their presence in the most affected areas, local NGOs play a major role in crisis contexts in Lebanon. The activities they put in place contribute to improving access to basic services, at a time where public services are saturated and local authorities overwhelmed. In the aftermath of the Beirut Blast, the Lebanese civil society mobilized very quickly, confirming its vitality and key role in helping the most vulnerable.
However, most Lebanese NGOs are often plagued by a lack of financial resources and capacities and are de facto dependent on international NGOs. This pattern of dependence threatens their financial sustainability and their ability to manage crisis and post-crisis in Lebanon in an independent manner.
In order to support the resilience of host countries, AFD launched the MINKA Middle East initiative in 2017. It finances the projects of partners who are working to improve the living conditions of vulnerable populations. The Shabake program is one of these projects.
Shabake is also part of the “aid localization” agenda, a pledge for the sustainability of actions. It aims to strengthen the capacities of Lebanese civil society organizations, so that they can intervene locally and effectively in preventing and responding to crises. This program embraces all aspects of capacity-building and revolves around three main axes:
- Consolidating the capacities of local NGOs through the development and ensuing implementation of a capacity-building plan;
- Ensuring that each of them implements a project that reduces vulnerability to crises; and
- Strengthening the integration of partner NGOs into the aid ecosystem by establishing a network among these NGOs, connecting them with donors, and consolidating existing coordination mechanisms between donors regarding the support of Lebanese civil society.
- Following the Beirut Blast, give the Lebanese civil society leverage to support the economic recovery in the most affected neighborhoods.
- Strengthening the capacities of local actors so that they can meet the current needs of vulnerable populations and prevent and manage future crises.
- Reducing the vulnerabilities of the populations affected by crises, including the Beirut Blast, thanks to the implementation of projects by local NGOs.
- Improving coordination between local and international actors on the support of Lebanese civil society.
- Increasing direct international funding to local NGOs.
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