Launch of the Shabake Project: towards a stronger civil society in Lebanon to improve crisis prevention and management

On January 27, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Denmark’s development cooperation (Danida) and Expertise France launched Shabake, a three-year capacity development project designed within the framework of the localization of aid agenda and the need to support Lebanese NGOs to become lasting, key players in mitigating the effects of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon.

Lebanon is home to one of the most vibrant and dynamic civil societies in the Middle East. Lebanese NGOs play an essential role in responding to the challenges Lebanon faces. Their presence in the areas most affected means that they can address a great many of the needs of host and refugee populations, reducing vulnerabilities. .Lebanese NGOs work on vital social and technical issues, ranging from social cohesion to reforestation, through programs that promote long-term development and humanitarian relief. These organizations regularly rise to the occasion to respond to crises, while established CSOs often switch between thinking long term and emergency response, which has been the case following the influx of Syrian refugees and the Lebanese current crisis

However, Lebanese NGOs’ reliance on international donors and international NGOs for funding means that most local NGOs are facing organisational challenges. They also continuously seek to ensure a sustainably agile way of growing and securing funding. Resolving these issues is crucial to the development of a robust national civil society that can reliably play a key role in crisis prevention and management.

To address this challenge, the Shabake project will aim at improving the resilience of Lebanese civil society, strengthening their leadership and decision-making roles in crisis prevention and management through capacity building and vulnerability reduction activities. The project falls within the Minka Initiative, AFD tool dedicated to peacebuilding as part of the French strategy “Prevention, Resilience and Sustainable Peace.” deployed in 4 crisis areas in the world. Minka Middle East is covering Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey.

Partnering with seven Lebanese NGOs

Shabake is the result of a funding partnership between AFD and Danida. Expertise France, the French international technical cooperation agency, is in charge of the implementation of the project.

Through a call for proposals held in 2019, seven local NGO partners were selected to be part of the project: Akkar Network for Development, Association Najdeh, Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), Fair Trade Lebanon, Insan Association, Mouvement Social, and Ruwwad Al-Tanmeya. Localization of aid is a strategic component of AFD and Expertise France intervention in Lebanon.

Tailored capacity development support

The uniqueness of Shabake lies within its holistic approach. The NGO partners will be receiving intensive tailored capacity development support, followed by an opportunity to operationalize their organizational improvements through the implementation of projects responding to the needs of both the vulnerable refugees and host communities in Lebanon.

During the launching event, the NGO partners presented the vulnerability reduction projects they will implement within Shabake. The sectors of intervention range from youth and livelihoods, to child protection and gender-based violence, reaching all regions of the country. One inspiring example of a sustainable project is the economic empowerment of vulnerable women from refugee and host communities in the Bekaa Governorate, contributing towards their livelihoods and improving social cohesion in that region.

Shabake will also contribute towards bringing the conversation around the localization of aid in Lebanon to the forefront, engaging NGOs and the donor community alike to promote a coordinated national approach.

The event was attended by, Mr. Olivier Ray, AFD Regional Director for the Middle East, Mr. Steen Norlov, Danida Senior Regional Advisor and Mr. Jérémie Pellet, General Director of Expertise France. The ceremony ended on a creative note, with a live Art Gallery inspired by the Shabake Project’s identity and main messages.

Find out more on the project page

Follow Shabake on Facebook (@ShabakeProject) and Twitter (@ShabakeProject)

The French Development Agency (AFD) Group is a public entity that funds, supports and accelerates the transitions towards a fairer and more sustainable world. In Lebanon, AFD takes action to reduce vulnerabilities and assist the country towards a more balanced and sustainable development path in a context of regional crisis.

The Denmark’s development cooperation (Danida) aims to combat poverty through promotion of human rights and sustainable economic growth. It operates under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

Expertise France is the French public agency for international technical cooperation. It designs and implements projects that sustainably strengthen public policies in developing and emerging countries. Governance, security, climate, health, education… It operates in key areas of sustainable development and contributes alongside its partners to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

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