Lebanon


OTI Lebanon
Lebanese youth work together to strengthen civic activism.
USAID

1999 - 2001

WHY USAID/OTI WAS IN LEBANON

Following his election in November 1998, President Emile Lahoud launched an anti-corruption initiative, promising to make rule of law and clean government keystones of his administration. As a result, a window of opportunity opened for increasing public awareness and discussion of the cost of corruption to Lebanese society.

USAID/OTI'S ROLE IN LEBANON

To take advantage of the opening for anti-corruption activities, USAID/OTI and the USAID Mission implemented a program to encourage key Lebanese stakeholders — local government, media and civil society — to initiate anti-corruption activities. To create space for Lebanese citizens to take action against corruption, USAID/OTI’s Lebanon aimed to:

  • Heighten public awareness of the extent of corruption and its social, political and economic consequences;
  • Reduce opportunities for corruption in municipal administration; and
  • Persuade citizens that corruption can be reduced through their efforts.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Anti-Corruption media campaign: USAID/OTI gathered a group of prominent Lebanese citizens who named themselves Kulluna Massoul (We Are All Responsible). With research conducted by the Lebanese firm Information International, Kulluna Massoul identified the campaign’s target audience and message, and chose the Lebanese branch of Saatchi & Saatchi to create and conduct a nationwide multimedia campaign against corruption. The media campaign, which encouraged citizens to talk openly about corruption, was the first major corruption awareness campaign in Lebanon.
  • Municipal government assistance:  To complement the USAID Mission’s program and to provide assistance to  Beirut and Jounieh, two key Lebanese municipalities, USAID/OTI contributed resources to the Mission’s Municipal Government Assistance project. The goal of the project was to reduce the opportunities for municipal workers to exact bribes from local citizens and to update antiquated administrative procedures, by providing computer equipment and specialized computer training to municipal employees. Citizens reported that they were relieved to change from a system of arbitrary procedures and lengthy transaction times, to a transparent system of streamlined procedures.

2007 - 2014

WHY USAID/OTI WAS IN LEBANON

USAID/OTI’s Lebanon Civic Support Initiative (LSCI) launched in September 2007 to support peace and stability following the restoration of a functioning government and harnessing the desire among many Lebanese to defuse sectarian tensions. Adapting to a changing political environment, in January 2013 LSCI reconfigured the program objectives due to increasing community volatility as a result of the spillover of the Syrian crisis.

USAID/OTI'S ROLE IN LEBANON

Working through its extensive network of local partners, LCSI sought to:

  • Increase social cohesion in vulnerable communities by mitigating tensions in areas most affected by the crisis;
  • Reduce resource and economic strains in affected communities;
  • Facilitate community engagement through positive cooperation and inclusive participation; and
  • Promote positive alternative messaging through traditional and social media outlets.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Through a series of activities, USAID/OTI provided civil society organizations with an array of resources ranging from advocacy training to effective use of media and communications as a tool for successful advocacy and change. For example, through a grant to the Youth Television Network, USAID/OTI supported a new web-based television channel to provide a space for youth to express their views and report on critical topics and themes with an interactive forum. The first and only station of its kind in the region, this innovative outlet encouraged youth to engage in advocacy in a positive way.
  • In response to car bombings in Tripoli a USAID/OTI grantee led a rapid volunteer clean-up campaign, assisted with recording damages, provided emergency response support, including a mobile health clinic, rehabilitated 64 shops damaged by the blast, led a solidarity campaign and supplied affected street vendors with new equipment. In a related grant, Hamid Construction rehabilitated 30 shops and provided support to 25 street vendors. Engaging youth from conflict-prone areas, Hamid Construction worked to repair  a two-story commercial building next to the mosque. These efforts helped to minimize economic losses and downturn resulting from the bombing.

2014 - 2017

WHY USAID/OTI WAS IN LEBANON

USAID/OTI extended its program in Lebanon at the request of the USAID Mission and began the Lebanon Community Resilience Initiative in September 2014 to implement the Lebanon Community Resilience Initiative (LCRI), a follow-up program that aimed to mitigate the tensions that threatened Lebanon’s stability.

USAID/OTI’S ROLE IN LEBANON

LCRI sought to strengthen the ability of Lebanon’s most vulnerable communities to cope with the destabilizing effects of the Syrian crisis by:

  • Strengthening youth empowerment and civic participation;
  • Promoting peaceful alternatives to violence;
  • Reducing the isolation and marginalization of communities; and
  • Supporting moderate actors.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

USAID/OTI worked with local actors to deliver visible, tangible projects that build credibility and trust and quickly demonstrate the benefits of peace and stability to communities in turmoil. For example: 

  • USAID/OTI strengthened moderate actors by bolstering their reputation and enhancing their ability to deliver key services and community priorities. In 2017, USAID/OTI culminated three years of work in war-torn Aarsal by transforming a hill formerly known as the "knee of the dead" into a vibrant community park, establishing a local civil society coalition and municipal government as community leaders capable of bringing a sense of peace and stability to the isolated town. 

  • USAID/OTI mitigated tension between host communities and Syrian refugees through dialogue and the delivery of community goods, reducing the potential for destabilizing violence. In 2017, USAID/OTI supported joint committees of Lebanese and Syrians in volatile neighborhoods and tense border towns as they assessed community needs, responding with solar lights, water systems and other shared infrastructure – building bridges instead of violence.

  • USAID/OTI empowered youth and increases civic engagement, reducing their vulnerability to recruitment into violence. In 2017, USAID/OTI engaged more than 2,000 Tripoli youth in activities that employed arts, sports and community engagement to bolster their sense of agency and self-worth, addressing key local drivers of violence.

 

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Last updated: April 06, 2018

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