Closing of EU4WE and Shabake 1 projects, launch of Shabake 2: Expertise France reinforces its cooperation with Lebanon

Beirut, 30 March 2023 – This week was marked by two highlights for Expertise France: the closing ceremony of the EU4WE project on March 28, and the closing ceremony of the Shabake 1 project, combined with the launch of Shabake 2, on March 30. The two successful events emphasize the agency's ongoing commitment to Lebanon to support the resilience of the civilian population and encourage women's entrepreneurship in a context of economic and social crisis. Within the framework of these events, the Chief Executive Officer of Expertise France, Jérémie Pellet, went to Lebanon to reinforce this new dynamic and remind the importance of technical cooperation between both countries.

EU4WE project: Fighting gender inequality in Lebanon by promoting economic autonomy

The European Union For Women Empowerment project (EU4WE) closing ceremony was successfully held at the Smallville Hotel in Beirut. The event presented the achievements and results of this EU-funded project, and recognized the contribution of its partners in promoting women's empowerment in Lebanon. As a reminder, the project was implemented by Expertise France with funding from the European Union and it covered three main pillars: enhancing entrepreneurial capacities of Lebanese women, enhancing legal mechanisms against gender-based violence and supporting the Lebanon National Gender Observatory.


Prominent figures from various sectors attended the event, including business leaders, women entrepreneurs and beneficiaries.

Ms. Alessandra VIEZZER, Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, stressed on the importance of respecting women’s rights and emphasized the EU's commitment to promoting gender equality and women's empowerment in Lebanon.

Mr. Jérémie Pellet, CEO of Expertise France described the various phases of the programme while emphasizing the promotion of public policies and initiatives dedicated to the fight against gender inequality set up by Expertise France, as the French governmental cooperation agency.

Honorary Guest Mrs. Claudine Aoun, President of the National Commission for Lebanese Women (NCLW), delivered a speech, where she praised the project for its contribution to the empowerment of women against Gender-Based Violence and the promotion of their role in economic development.


During a panel discussion with several beneficiaries of EU4WE, three women leaders and successful entrepreneurs shared their insights and showcased their experiences and the impact of the Women Economic Empowerment for Lebanon project (WEEL) on their businesses.

The European Union, through EU4WE, supported 18 (12 MSMEs and 6 Startups) women owned/led businesses with grants raging between EUR 15K and EUR 40K for capital investment (machinery, equipment, raw material) and technical assistance (capacity building, consultancies, marketing services etc.), to strengthen and develop their businesses despite the challenging political, economic, and social environment in Lebanon.

A variety of business sectors were concerned (agriculture, agrifood, manufacturing, logistics, ICT, education, entertainment, furniture design, recruitment services, travel and tourism, fashion) in different regions across Lebanon (Beirut, Mount Lebanon, North Lebanon, South Lebanon).

All of those actions contributed to a high-level impact:

- sustaining and creating jobs, converting to green energy,

- ensuring the injection of the hard currency into the Lebanese economy by exporting goods or services,

- increasing revenues and market shares,

- organising sustainability workshop allowing women entrepreneurs to acquire the best practices to embed sustainability component into their corporate culture and business model.


Rimane Aziz, (Agrofitt), Zeinab Ismail (Garbaliser) and Tracy Drakebly (The park) discussed the challenges and opportunities for women entrepreneurs in Lebanon. They highlighted the importance of this EU-funded project, which boosted the financial autonomy of many women while creating a supportive ecosystem that encourages their participation in entrepreneurial initiatives and provides them with access to funding, networks, and mentorship.


Suzan Ismail (legal expert and trainer), Abir Dbouk (legal expert and trainer) and Joumana Sleilaty (Taskforce Coordinator) tackled the second part of the programme revealing the different events and training sessions of the 53 lawyers on strategic litigation and creation of a legal taskforce for fighting Gender-Based Violence.

Thereafter, Mrs. Lamia Chamas (LNGO Coordinator to the EU) presented the support and results with Lebanon Gender Observatory which covered the development of an action plan for the LNGO and the creation of indicators of women autonomy, in addition to upgrading the website.


Mrs. Claire Lautier, Regional Coordinator for the Middle East, Operations Division – Expertise France, thanked the European Union for their continuous trust and support, NCLW for their commitment, Berytech for their professional collaboration and all EU4WE team for the work achieved. She then concluded the event with a networking session, where attendees had the opportunity to exchange ideas and network with like-minded individuals from various sectors.


Shabake (AFD/Danida): Empowering Local Civil Society Organizations to become key actors in responding to the effects of the multiple crises impacting Lebanon

- Shabake 1 was a 3-year capacity development project aiming to support local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to become lasting key players in reducing vulnerabilities and mitigating the effects of crises. The Shabake 1 Project was funded by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Denmark’s development cooperation agency (Danida) and was implemented by Expertise France. The project spanned a period of 45 months and was implemented within the “MINKA Initiative”, the AFD peacebuilding tool as part of the French strategy “Prevention, Resilience and Sustainable Peace.”
This project has provided tailored technical support to NGOs while giving them the opportunity to put their new institutional changes into practice through the implementation of vulnerability reduction projects as well as post blast economic recovery and livelihoods projects.

  1. 6 partners benefited from Shabake support: Akkar Network for Development, Association Najdeh, Digital Opportunity Trust, Ruwwad Al Tanmya, Movement Social, and Fair Trade Lebanon.
  2. For the beneficiaries, more than 4200 women, 200 men, 2500 youths, and 1465 female headed households received trainings on digital literacy, employability, livelihoods and career guidance. Likewise, more than 1000 households got cash assistance, and almost 200 MSMEs financial support and technical capacity building.


The success of the first part of the program, especially mentioned and recognized in the speech of Mrs. Anne Grillo, French Ambassador in Lebanon, has paved the way to Shabake 2, which aims to pursue these achievements and invest in the lessons learnt of Shabake 1 by strengthening partnerships with local authorities, allowing for funding flexibility to respond to crises and push forward the localization agenda.   


- Shabake 2 spans a period of 36 months (2022 – 2025). It is funded by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Crisis and Support Centre of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is implemented by Expertise France.

The Shabake 2 Project has three goals: to enable Civil Society Organisations to be trusted partners in the implementation of 25 vulnerabilities-reduction projects and thematic actions, to support local CSOs in their efforts to efficiently respond to the emergency situations and ongoing crises in Lebanon through the implementation of 40 quick-impact projects, and to enhance technical and organisational capacities of partner CSOs for an improved localisation of aid for the benefit of vulnerable populations.


A photo exhibition in partnership with the French Institute of Lebanon

The exhibition was introduced on March 30, 2023 at the French Institute of Lebanon in Beirut, during a vernissage presided over by Mrs. Sabine SCIORTINO, Advisor for Cultural Action and Cooperation and Director of the French Institute of Lebanon and Mr. Jérémie Pellet, CEO of Expertise France.

Expertise France, with the support of the French agency “Fisheye” invited five talented photographers to take a unique look at the reality of technical cooperation for development and the daily lives of these women and men who, every day, pool their know-how for a sustainable world.

These five photographers (Douraïd Souissi for Tunisia, Faïd Hadji for Comoros, Dalia Khamissy for Lebanon, Saphir Niakadie for Ivory Coast, and Rodrigue Ako for Benin) went on a field trip to five regions where Expertise France works to strengthen the capacities of public actors and civil society. The result of this project highlights the human dimension and the practical reality of international technical cooperation in these countries.

The exhibition featured the pictures taken in Lebanon by Dalia Khamissy, with an artistic direction designed by Ricardo Balaki, a Lebanese graphic designer. It will be open to the general public for 3 weeks under the arcades of the French Institute.



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