Permaculture design for educational gardens in the Bekaa Valley

The project

Project description

The Middle East is currently experiencing a profound crisis. The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are both a reflection and a transmitter of this crisis, with growing potential to further destabilise neighbouring countries and the wider region. These crises have resulted in a humanitarian disaster affecting more than 13.5 million people who were forced to flee their homes from Syria, and more than 17 million people in need of humanitarian aid (12.2 in Syria and 5.2 in Iraq).

Lebanon is now home to the largest number of Syrian refugees per capita relative to its total population, putting a severe strain on the country’s fragile infrastructures, economy, and security. The population of Lebanon was estimated at about 4.8 million (including almost half a million Palestinian refugees) in 2013. Even though Lebanon has not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention, up to date it has taken in about a fourth of its own population. According to UNHCR, in September 2016 1,017,433 persons from Syria were registered as refugees in Lebanon. In the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan 2015-2016 (LCRP), the total number of people living in Lebanon is estimated at 5.9 million, with 3.3 million people in need. Among the Syrian refugee population in Lebanon, which today comprises over 1.5 million people[1], the Bekaa Valley contains the highest concentration of refugees, with over 360,000 registered with UNHCR

In Lebanon, Expertise France ensures the consistency and the coordination of projects co-implemented with local civil society organisations for the benefit of both Syrian refugees and Lebanese host communities.


Background information on the programme


The programme seeks to improve social stability between communities in Lebanon through a comprehensive and local approach to non-formal education of adults and children.To do so, activities will revolve around three pillars: (i) support to children, (ii) life skills for adults and young, (iii) protection support, with several crosscutting activities to support the aforementioned two pillars. Expertise France will adopt a comprehensive approach to services provision in the targeted areas, through two major elements: the first is the establishment of four community centres which will offer developmental services to both the refugee population and the local host community, and attached to each centre, a mobile unit to reach out remote informal settlements.


1) Providing support to 350 refugee kids in each community centre


In each of the community centre, children will be registered in classes based on their levels. This activity aims at providing basic literacy and numeracy skills to Syrian refugee children by constructing semi-permanent centres next to their informal tented settlements and the urban areas where they live. Qualified Lebanese and Syrian Educator teams will be trained to manage a classroom confidently and implement the MEHE curriculum. The aim is to have Syrian pupils prepared to integrate into the formal Lebanese schools at a later stage.


2) Providing life skills activities to both Lebanese and Syrian communities

  • Non certified courses

This activity will provide key life skills to Syrian and Lebanese women and men, in order to increase their capacity to both contribute to their self-development, well-being and become a constructive member of society. The program will be split between professional and educational activities, all of which  intend to increase the participants’ quality of life.

  • Certified courses

Alongside the life skills courses organised within the programme, certified vocational courses will be offered through the Lebanese engineering school CNAM (Conservatoire national des Arts et Métiers). In this part of the project, the role of the community centres will consist in identifying, referring participants who are deemed eligible to follow certified courses.


3) Protection activities


The Protection programme will be set up and implemented from each of the four community centres, to provide a set of protection services to Syrian refugees and host communities, women, men, children and people with special needs. These services will range depending on the target group; there will be awareness-raising and empowerment services for women who have been exposed to, or are vulnerable to, sexual and gender-based violence; child-protection services for refugee children; and sessions for men who are experiencing psychological problems as a result of war and displacement. The program will also provide ongoing psychological support available to men, women and children who are victims of trauma or other psychological complications.

[1] Sources UNHCR: the population of Syrian refugees in Lebanon amounts to 1.5 Million including those who are and are not registered with the UNHCR. (LCRP Year 2 p 91)

The position


Permaculture design for educational gardens in the Bekaa Valley

Country or Region

Lebanon (Beirut and the Bekaa Valley)


10 days

Job description

  • To improve social relations between refugees and hosts communities living in poor conditions without access to basic services;
  • To engage children in gardening with a strong educational aspect on botanic, biology and in growing organic food, and to propose stress-relieving activities for the beneficiaries of the psychosocial support departments;
  • To improve the nutrition of beneficiaries by enabling the centres kitchen to directly cook vegetables grown by the communities.


Each site will consist in semi-permanent rooms, made of wood and metal, according to the master plans provided at a later stage. Sites range between 2000 and 4600 square meters of which approximately 500 m2 will be used for educational gardens.


During the design phase, the consultant(s) will conduct an assessment based on the master plans and information regarding the type of lands, best watering solutions, climate specificities, wind exposure, etc. provided by the Expertise France team.


Description of the tasks


The consultant(s) shall:

  • Design the gardens according to the space available and propose cost-effective solutions to maximize the space available for gardens, including innovative structures such as green walls, agro-shelves, etc.;
  • Coordinate with EF engineer and partners to collect insights on technical aspects to achieve the plans;
  • Give priority to zero-waste practices;
  • Take into account the specificities of end users: children and vulnerable communities attending psychosocial sessions; and propose activities or tools specifically designed to bring social stability to both communities;
  • Propose a water harvesting storage solution aiming at gardens’ self-sufficiency in water;
  • Develop and ensure the educational purpose of the gardens.


  •  Full conceptual design and mapping within 2 weeks after receiving initial master plans and engineer insights for 4 sites;
  • Provide a list of procurement for phase 2 (installation);
  • Provide a yearly planting and operational plan for installation for food growing;
  • Provide recommendations for phase 2 (installation) and phase 3 (training) of the project.



Required profile

Qualifications and skills

  • Degree or equivalent university diploma in Environmental studies, agricultural engineer, landscape designer, etc.
  • Solid experience in garden designing and vegetable garden implementation
  • Very good knowledge of context where refugees and host population compete for resources
  • Sound understanding of the use of permaculture/urban agriculture as a social tool
  • Professional working knowledge of Arabic and English is required.

Other information

Location: Lebanon, Beirut and Bekaa Region

Period of implementation: 2 weeks, starting January 25th, 2017


Please send:

  • A CV
  • A 2 page document showing the methodology and a budget
  • 3 references


Incomplete applications cannot be considered. Applications must be made in English.


The process of selection of expressions of interest will occur in two phases:

  • As a first step, a shortlist will be freely established by Expertise France.
  • Selected candidates may then be invited for an interview.

Fees for the services will be negotiated with the designated candidate.

The offer



Deadline for application


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