Local actors from Beirut Southern Suburbs trained on crisis management and mediation
Municipal council members, local NGOs representatives, representatives of municipal police departments, social workers, Heads and members of Social Development Centers from Al Chiyah, Harek Hreik, Furn El Chebbak, Al Ghbayri, Burj El Barajneh and Al Mrayjeh have participated together in the first cycle of a training organized by the UNDP “Peace Building in Lebanon” project on crisis management and mediation,
Funded by the European Union, the training took place from the 18th till the 20th of August 2014. Participants from these 6 municipalities of Beirut Southern Suburbs showed their full commitment and actively participated in different topics of the training such as negotiation techniques, problem solving mechanisms, mediator’s role, and conflicts’ causes and dynamics. They also took part in several role plays and discussed a number of case studies tackling disputes, crises and conflicts faced by municipalities and local actors.
“The methodology adopted is extremely new to us. We found it very interesting as it is based on interaction and participation” said a social worker from Al Mrayjeh municipality.
The project adopted a participatory approach to prepare for this training led by Mr. Ali Chahine, a prominent trainer with extensive facilitation skills. The project initiated a conflict assessment and analysis based on in-depth interviews with mayors, deputy mayors, municipal council members and other local active people in Beirut Southern suburbs in order to better understand the local dynamics, the conflict trends, and collect case studies. Local leaders were also asked to suggest, based on a set of criteria, key people from their community to participate in the training, building therefore a sense of ownership.
This training is part of a two training cycles aiming at enhancing the participants’ skills and capacities in identifying and analyzing local conflicts, addressing them using various conflict resolution and preventive approaches and establishing community peace building mechanisms to enhance social cohesion, especially with the increasing impact of the Syrian crisis and the growing pressure on the Lebanese society.
It is not the first time that UNDP trains municipalities. Since 2009, UNDP has been working closely with municipal council members and mukhtars all over Lebanon (including Beirut Southern Suburbs) on conflict resolution and peace building.
“A number of training on crisis management previously took place but the training techniques adopted this time are different. It makes you eager to attend the next day of the training”, concluded a member of a local organization.