Improving Living Conditions in Palestinian Gatherings Host Communities: Towards More Comprehensive and Sustainable Solutions


Palestinian Gatherings represent one of the most vulnerable and marginalized host communities in Lebanon. The 120,000 host and newly displaced refugees live in dire conditions that have long existed in the gatherings, marked by poverty and inequality, lack of service provision, run-down physical environments and limited access to jobs and income generation opportunities. While refugees in Gatherings are registered with UNRWA and/or the Lebanese Government, their place of settlement, unlike camps, is not officially recognized. This has a number of implications on refugees’ living conditions, starting with their tenure security and access to basic urban services, mainly WASH. While municipalities generally retract from extending development plans or providing services in these informal gatherings, UNRWA’s mandate to provide basic urban services is restricted to the borders of the 12 recognized camps. Refugees rely on short-term alternative solutions to access urban services, resources and jobs, which are usually associated with informality, risks and lack of efficiency. This situation has been leading to increased tensions and conflicts in the gatherings and with their surrounding communities, undermining stability and promoting risky behaviors.

Building on ongoing efforts of UNDP to fill gaps in Palestinian gatherings in Lebanon, the project seeks to strengthen the resilience of these vulnerable host communities by improving living conditions at multiple levels. The project focuses on providing adequate WASH services and facilities; promoting healthier physical environments through neighborhood upgrading projects and shelter rehabilitation; and socio-economic empowerment of local communities including youth, women and men.

This is carried out using a participatory approach, bringing various actors together and investing in building relationships, collaboration mechanisms and capacities of local actors. In this context, municipalities are engaged and supported to respond to challenges encountered in service provision on their domains, including Palestinian Gatherings. Similarly, the project support local NGOs extend their much needed services to Palestinian refugees living in the Gatherings. To coordinate efforts and jointly plan for better response strategies, UNDP chairs two working groups for UN agencies, including UNRWA, and international and national organizations active in Palestinian Gatherings in the two sectors of WASH and Youth Support programmes.

This Project, as a component of the broader UNDP Stabilization and Recovery Programme, is anchored in key Governmental and International instruments responding to the impact of the Syria crisis, including the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP).

Achievements & Results


-          Improving equitable access to WASH services in water, sewage and solid waste management systems in 37 Gatherings

-          Improving safety and environmental conditions through shelter rehabilitation so far benefiting 5,000 PRL and PRS families

-          Implementing focused WASH awareness raising activities in UNRWA schools and community centers, with 16,543 adults and children supported with better WASH life skills

-          Distributing household and baby hygiene kits on regular basis to 5,000 most in need PRS families

-          Upgrading neighborhoods through rehabilitation of roads, storm water and electricity network sand the provision of community spaces, making 13 communities safer and more inclusive

-          Socio-economic empowerment to women, men, children and youth through supporting community initiatives, vocational training, start-up grants, so far reaching out to 450 refugees

-          Piloting environmental friendly WASH technologies and solutions such as solar pumping and biological waste water treatment facilities

-          Supporting municipalities lead solid waste management schemes relying on sorting at source, engaging Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian communities


Expected Outputs:

Output 1: Provide environmentally and economically sustainable WASH services at community level in the gatherings.

Output 2: Improve environmental and structural conditions of shelter units in the gatherings.

Output 3: Promote inclusive and safer environments in the gatherings though comprehensive neighborhood upgrading interventions.

Output 4: Improve hygiene conditions for host and new refugee communities in the gatherings.

Output 5: Reduce youth risky behaviors in the gatherings through livelihood interventions.

Output 6: Develop a national coordination and planning platform for response and development in Palestinian Gatherings.

















16,890,050 USD

This project has been possible thanks to the generous support of the Swiss Embassy’s ICD; the USA Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM); the People of Japan, the Government of Germany and the Netherlands. 

Years Expenditures


• Volatile security situation in some gatherings, especially in Saida and North Lebanon.
• Restrictive and time consuming security measures especially in camps' Adjacent Areas.
• Illegal status of land that hinders or delays some interventions especially those related to the built environment.
• Weak governance structures inside the gatherings and with concerned local authorities.

• Social and economic exclusion of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, exacerbating poverty and resulting in low investment in education, limited income generation opportunities and low income levels.

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