With the onset of the Syrian crisis in March 2011, over a million people had to seek refuge in Lebanon. This influx has had major human, social, economic and political repercussions.
Local NGOs play a crucial role in the crisis contexts in Lebanon, through their closeness to the most vulnerable populations and their location in the most affected areas. Their activities contribute to improving access to basic services in a situation whereby public services are saturated, often leaving municipalities overwhelmed.
However, most Lebanese NGOs are faced with a lack of financial resources and capacities and are often dependent on international NGOs. This logic of dependency threatens their financial sustainability and therefore their activities for the post-crisis period when a number of international actors may withdraw from Lebanon.
During the World Humanitarian Summit, which was held in Istanbul in May 2016, the international community pledged to make every effort to be more effective in our response to crises. Over 61 countries have committed to the “Grand Bargain”, which should lead to more financing, but especially to more support to national actors, both governmental and non-governmental, in the context of a great movement for the “localisation of aid”.
Shabake therefore came about through the desire to address the localisation of aid agenda and the need to build the capacities of Lebanese NGOs to ensure they play a key role in the response to crises in general, and more specifically to the current Syrian crisis which affects Lebanon.
Shabake: building the capacities of the Lebanese civil society
The Shabake project aims to build the capacities of Lebanese civil society organisations so that they can take effective action locally to prevent and respond to crises.
This project covers all the aspects of capacity building and is based on three areas:
• Building the capacities of local NGOs by developing and implementing a capacity building plan,
• Ensuring each NGO implements a project to reduce vulnerability to crises,
• Reinforcing the integration of partner NGOs into the aid ecosystem by setting up a network between these NGOs, putting them in contact with donors and strengthening existing coordination mechanisms between donors to support the Lebanese civil society.
The project is financed by Danida (Denmark) and AFD (France) under the Minka Middle East Initiative. Minka Middle East finances the projects of partners working to improve living conditions for vulnerable populations.
Following a call for proposals launched in 2019, seven local partner NGOs were selected to take part in the project: Akkar Network for Development, Association Najdeh, Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), Fair Trade Lebanon, Insan Association, Mouvement Social and Ruwwad Al-Tanmeya. The localisation of aid is a strategic component of the operations of AFD and Expertise France in Lebanon.
The entire project is designed to be inclusive and will be based on a participatory governance by partner NGOs of the Shabake project. The NGOs will be required to be agents of change and directly manage the actions for diagnostics and capacity-building provided for under the project. They will also have the opportunity to contribute fully to improving relations with donors and to giving them a better understanding of the Lebanese civil society.
• Building of the capacities of local actors to meet the current needs of vulnerable populations and prevent and manage future crises.
• Reduction in the vulnerability of populations affected by the crisis through the implementation of projects by partner NGOs.
• Improvement in coordination between local and international actors.
• Consultation with aid actors in Lebanon, on common principles and a joint approach to the localisation of aid and the support to Lebanese civil society organisations.
Shabake project news
A new Economic Recovery Response following the Beirut Blast
In the wake of the Beirut port explosions, an additional component, the Economic Recovery Response (ERR), was added to the Shabake project. This component of the Shabake project is aiming to address the needs of nano, micro, small and medium businesses (NMSMES) affected by the blast. To do so, Expertise France partnered with six additional local NGOs: Al Majmoua; the consortium formed by arcenciel, Live Love Beirut and DPNA, Basmeh and Zeitooneh, LebRelief Council, ShareQ and Shift.
The ERR aims to support over 200 NMSMEs, 350 vulnerable families, and 100 persons with disabilities (PWD) situated in the Beirut impacted blast areas. Activities include support to businesses in the form of cash grants, rehabilitation, restocking/ reequipping, business coaching, training in quality control and inventory management, fundraising and marketing. The areas in Beirut impacted by the blast are very rich in their diversity of businesses, therefore the targeted NMSNES sectors range from food & beverage, bakeries, roasteries, butcheries, to grocery stores, minimarkets, hairdressers, electricians, garages, boutiques, retail shops and tailors, electronics, handicrafts and antiques, laundromats, and others.
To ensure sustainability of the action, the Shabake ERR component also includes fundraising and marketing initiatives to engage the public to support the revival of the affected NMSMEs in the area, in addition to assisting vulnerable families with vouchers linked to targeted businesses offering basic food items trying to reduce their economic burden. Other activities cover cash for work and employment readiness training complemented with placement through wage incentive programs for PWDs with local businesses.
As of July 2021, over 170 NMSMEs, 29 % women owned businesses and 45 employment trainees have been reached, and work is ongoing to launch the remaining activities, concluding in February 2022. The 14th of July the French embassy together with AFD and journalists have visited the ERR component in Mar Mikhael to learn more about the Shabake ERR component and meet with right holders supported.
Visit of the @AmbaFranceLiban and @AFD_MidEast to the MSMEs located in Mar Mikhael affected by the Beirut Port blast and supported by Shabake’s project partner @Shiftsih within the framework of the Economic Recovery Response component of project. pic.twitter.com/EDI9ijyuHw— Shabake Project (@ShabakeProject) July 15, 2021
Launch of the Shabake project in Beirut in January 2020
On 27 January, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Danish Development Cooperation (Danida) and Expertise France launched Shabake in Beirut, in the presence of the seven local partner NGOs selected to take part in the project: Akkar Network for Development, Association Najdeh, Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), Fair Trade Lebanon, Insan Association, Mouvement Social and Ruwwad Al-Tanmeya. The localisation of aid is a strategic component of the operations of AFD and Expertise France in Lebanon.
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