On Thursday 20 July 2017, Under the patronage of H.E. Minister of Social Affairs Pierre Bou Assi represented by his advisor Mr. Zahi El Haiby, and in the presence of the UK Ambassador to Lebanon H.E. Hugo Shorter, UNDP Country Director Ms. Celine Moyroud, Member of Parliament Mr. Nidal Tohme, Governor of Akkar H.E. Emad Labaki, Sheikh Walid Ismail representing Mufti Akkar Sheikh Zaid Zakaria, Sheikh Ali Sahmarani representing Sheikh Malek Jdeideh the Head of Akkar Endowment Committee, Mayor of Khraybet Ej Jindi Mr. Khaled Taha, UNDP North office Manager Mr. Alain Chatry, National Coordinator of the Lebanon Host Communities Support Programme Mrs. Suheir El Ghali, North Area Coordinator of the Ministry of Social Affairs Mr. Hassan Traboulsi, key stakeholders, Municipal Council members, and economic and social actors, the rehabilitation of the Social Development Center (SDC) was inaugurated at the SDC premises in Khraybet Ej Jindi.
The project is one of many interventions implemented within the framework of the Lebanon Host Communities Support Programme (LHSP). Once fully operational the center will support over 8,500 beneficiaries (Lebanese and Syrians) providing social and health services, and includes a kindergarten and a dental clinic.
Since 2013, and through a close partnership between the Ministry of Social Affairs and UNDP, LHSP has so far implemented more than 400 projects covering different sectors and benefitting more than 1 million Lebanese and Syrian displaced residing in the most vulnerable areas with the support of a pool of international donors.
Khraybet Ej Jindi is 1 of over 180 municipalities UK Aid is supporting within the framework of LHSP and one out of 15 municipalities the UK supported across North Lebanon and Akkar. The UK support reached thousands of beneficiaries in solid waste management, waste water networks and irrigation canals.
This project was identified by the community and municipal members as a priority need in their area through the Maps of Risk and Resources Methodology (MRR), the MRR, where problems and needs are identified by the local community in order of priority. The MRR was implemented in the 251 most vulnerable communities in Lebanon through funds from UK AID. All LHSP projects are identified through the MRR.
During the inauguration, H.E. Mr. Shorter announced that UK Aid is now supporting over 1 in 5 Lebanese municipalities with a total of $30m over the next two years, under LHSP; a partnership between the Ministry of Social Affairs and UNDP. By 2019, and given the achievements of LHSP, the UK's total contribution would have reached $64.2m and benefited over 1,440,000 beneficiaries.
"It is a great pleasure to return to Akkar to celebrate another fruitful cooperation between UK Aid, the Ministry of Social Affairs and UNDP under the Lebanon Host Communities Support Programme (LHSP). We are proud to have supported this Programme since 2014, reaching thousands of beneficiaries across the most vulnerable municipalities affected by the Syria crisis. The UK will continue to be #ByYourSide for as long as you strive'" he said.
UNDP Country Director Ms. Moyroud thanked the donor for supporting Lebanon and said, "The United Kingdom is a true partner in working with UNDP and supporting host communities in the North and also in other areas that have been affected by the influx of the Syrian refugees."
She added, "the UNDP has made this main focus on working with the communities and the municipalities that have been affected to help mitigate the pressure and strengthen tolerance and co-existence."
"We hope that we will keep on working together to build the capacities of vulnerable municipalities and work together on maintaining the international support for Lebanon, because Lebanon really needs it." She concluded.
Mr. El Haiby said, "we are gathered today in the heart of Akkar, the heart of Lebanon, to inaugurate the rehabilitation of the Social Development Center in our beloved Khraybet Ej Jindi. The success of this event is the result of great efforts of a number of partners who believe that there is no alternative for sustainable development which seeks to ensure social justice, decrease inequality, and strengthen real economic development. This is what MoSA and its partners believe in and this is what we will work on to reach the Sustainable Development Goals 2030".
"The rehabilitation works we inaugurate today at the SDC will play a key role in sustainable development and in offering health and social services, in addition to vocational development and professional and vocational training", he said.
He added, "MoSA will work on strengthening the role of SDCs as they play a vital role in equally benefiting the local community and the Syrian Refugees. The ministry will seek to activate and improve the cooperation between the local stakeholders and the international community and donors."
Mayor of Khraybet Ej Jindi Mr. Taha said: "the situation in Akkar is well known, villages and towns in the area have been affected by the influx of displaced. Some villages are hosting a number of Syrian displaced greater than their own Lebanese residents. This has created great pressure on water, electricity, and wastewater networks, as well as other infrastructure".
He asserted "this is why an intervention was needed. Our capabilities as a municipality were weak. That is why we sought partnerships with international donors and local institutions working on mitigating the effects of high ratios of displacement and their impact on the host communities."
"MoSA was the first institution to lend us a helping hand and offer a comprehensive partnership through the Lebanon Host Communities Support Programme," he continued.
Attendees were able to have a closer look at what UK Aid is doing in support of host communities in the short video the embassy has commissioned #ByYourSide.
Source: National News Agency