The U.S. government has been providing assistance to Lebanon since 1951, before the establishment of USAID, under the Point Four program. In the 1950s and 60s, USAID built irrigation canal networks along the Litani River in the Beqaa Valley and helped build the Qaraoun Dam in the Beqaa, which continues to provide irrigation water to more than 43,000 residents. USAID also helped establish the American University of Beirut (AUB) Medical Center, which provides cutting-edge medical services to the Lebanese people. During the Lebanese Civil War (1975 to 1990), USAID never closed its doors in Lebanon, providing assistance for relief, reconstruction and infrastructure, and health. In the 1990s, USAID focused on providing economic opportunities for people in rural areas, supporting democracy and good governance, and improving education. In the past 10 years, USAID has worked closely with municipal governments to help them improve services and be more transparent and accountable. Since 2007, more than 70,000 Lebanese have benefited from USAID-financed wastewater treatment plants located in the Chouf and the Bekaa.
USAID is currently a lead donor in education and water and an important influence in promoting good governance and economic opportunity for low-income Lebanese citizens. USAID funds development projects that offer grants to American-style educational institutions for scholarships and finance technical assistance, training, construction and equipment to public schools throughout the country. In the next five years, we will work to help rehabilitate Lebanon’s public schools to improve infrastructure and the classroom learning environment. USAID has awarded an estimated 10,000 student scholarships since 2000 and, to date, approximately 87,000 students have benefitted from school renovations under our basic education programs.