The field trip included a visit to a public school and kindergarten which was provided with the necessary equipment and training in order to cope with growing number of students due to the increasing influx of Syrian refugees.
Peace Building in Lebanon, Phase III
The UNDP Peace Building Project (2006-2011) aimed to address the underlying causes of conflict in Lebanon and sought to create “safe spaces” for local identity groups to discuss their concerns openly and enhance mutual understanding of the different “other”. Social cohesion was enhanced at the local, community and national levels between civil society (youth, educators, media, NGOs and religious leaders) and relevant local public (municipal council members and mukhtars) actors. Through training programs, advocacy work and enhanced networking, stakeholders were better equipped to actively and harmoniously contribute to peace building, community dialogue and ensure a more effective bottom-up impact of efforts.
Building on these initiatives, the second phase of the project (2011-2013), Strengthening Civil Peace in Lebanon, focused on strengthening dialogue, trust- and consensus building, enhancing and nurturing partnerships between civil society and local government actors. During the second phase, focus was directed towards strengthening initiatives that promote collective memory and integrate peace building concepts into formal and non-formal educational channels. Moreover, the project tackled media (traditional and alternative) to manage diversity and decrease biased reporting. At the local level, the project focused on developing local level peace strategies in three conflict prone areas of Lebanon with a special focus on youth engagement. Finally, a cross-political, multi-confessional civil society platform addressing civil peace was created and supported. With the Syrian crisis further impacting the Lebanese context, the project acted as a focal point to many partner organizations on issues pertaining to the impact of the Syrian crisis impact on social cohesion in Lebanon, both in terms of inter Lebanese relations and Lebanese Syrian interaction.
Building on the understanding and successes of the previous two phases, the third phase of the project (2014-2015) will focus on addressing the new challenges to civil peace and peace building in the country posed by the Syrian crisis. Therefore the focus will be on four outputs: 1. Education promoting social cohesion supported; 2. Media empowered to promote balanced and conflict sensitive media coverage; 3. Local level peace building strategies to mitigate tensions developed in selected conflict prone areas of Lebanon hosting Syrian refugees; 4. An NGO platform promoting nation-wide truth and reconciliation supported ex-fighters’ role in promoting peace building supported.
Achievements & Expected Results
- Peace Building and conflict intervention training of 48 intermediate level teachers from public schools of Mount Lebanon and Beirut hosting both Lebanese and Syrian students on dealing positively with differences; understanding conflict and conflict intervention skills
- Peace building trainings for 88 public school teachers from mixed Lebanese and Syrian schools in Tripoli area (44 teachers), North Lebanon and Bekaa (44 teachers). In addition, sensitization sessions for school principals and parents councils from the same 44 schools (total around 44 participants in each area) areas were organized.
- Development and launching of the Journalists’ Pact for Strengthening Civil Peace in Lebanon in partnership with the Ministry of Information
- Long and participatory process of consultations and negotiations with senior editors from the 35 media outlets in the country. Round table organized around the draft of the Pact
- Memorandum of Understanding signed between Ministry of Information and UNDP.
- Production of 3 joint news supplement with Annahar and Assafir newspapers (34000 copies/ issue), engaging journalists from different and diverse media outlets on peace building related issue. The issue of the last supplement tackled the impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon and conveyed positive messages to both Lebanese and Syrians, aiming at alleviating the rising tensions between the two communities and raising awareness on the issue from its social, economic and humanitarian perspective
- Establishment of 2 conflict mitigation mechanisms in Fnaydeq and one in Wadi Khaled. In Fnaydeq and as a result of the long process established during the previous quarters of the project and as agreed with the local reference group representing the local community, a water management system has been identified supported by the rehabilitation of 1982m of land irrigation canals which was achieved in a record time (less than a month).
- Capacity building for Wadi Khaled 8 municipalities on crisis management, mediation, conflict resolution, technical management of municipalities, communication and advocacy
- Conflict assessment undertaken in Burj Hammoud
- Quick conflict assessments in host communities produced in order to analyze the different conflict dynamics and advise other organizations on best ways to address them
- Follow up with Ministry of Education and Higher Education to integrate peace building into formal educational channel ensured
- Continuous support provided to the NGO platform
- Partnership with the ISF regarding the incidents taking place by and on Syrian refugees and working on translating the data into map
- Project Period
- 1 January 2014 – 31 December 2016
Relevant NewsMedia field visit to Lebanese communities hosting Syrian refugees
The training session brought together youth from Meshmesh and the surrounding regions to sensitize them on concepts of collective memory, war, reconciliation, peace building, conflict transformation through non-violent means and acceptance of the “other”.
This supplement, published concurrently with Annahar and As-safir newspapers on March 22nd 2013, shed the light on the civil movements and on a number of campaigns launched by various Lebanese civil society organizations and actors.