"Our village is rich with beautiful scenery, hospitality and great architecture. We invite you to come visit this attractive location", said Hanan from Qrayeh, South Lebanon as she finished her presentation.
Hanan is part of a local team working on eco-tourism for social stability in Qrayeh. The team, formed of local actors, municipal members, staff from local Social Development Centers (affiliated to the Ministry of Social Affairs) and volunteers, joined forces to present their tourism plan for their village in front of other teams from other villages in the South.
Why did the local actors of Qrayeh choose tourism as a peacebuilding engine? "Tourism could drive positive change and encourage our community to work together for the good of our village", answered Jean.
Local actors from Zefta and Bqusta were inspired by the presentation. The teams started exploring motivating ideas to promote peacebuilding initiatives and activities in their villages.
The three mentioned working groups met on the 21st of June 2018 in Saida, South Lebanon to develop their "Mechanisms for Social Stability" (MSS), which are tools of positive change that help locals reduce tensions and prevent conflicts.
Nisrine, from Bqusta, spent the day with actors from other areas in the South, and learned so much about their villages. “This inspired us to work and coordinate on organizing better projects and activities in our communities", she said.
This meeting was part of a three-day retreat gathering local actors from the villages of Rmeich, Saksakieh, Ansar, Chebaa, Hasbaya, Qrayeh, Zefta and Bqusta in South Lebanon. They worked on MSS and planned for peacebuilding initiatives to be launched this summer.
The MSS process is organized by the UNDP under the Lebanese Host Communities Support Programme through the "Peace Building in Lebanon" project, in partnership with the Ministry of Social Affairs and funded by Germany and UK Dfid.