Operating since 2004 in Lebanon, DRC has been addressing the needs of both refugee and host populations through rights-based programming. In the most recent phase of the Syrian crisis, DRC’s response in Lebanon has focused on delivering critical multi-sector support to displacement-affected individuals and communities to deal with the effects of protracted displacement, while maintaining emergency response capacity to ensure flexibility in a volatile environment.
Concerning the overarching humanitarian conditions, although the number of people in need remained relatively steady in 2017, a combination of factors contributed to the deepening vulnerability of many, weakening their ability to cover basic needs and putting them at an increased risk of exploitation, abuse, and human rights violations. This included restrictive livelihoods and movement regulations and rises in debt and other negative coping mechanisms. The complexity of the humanitarian response in Lebanon is characterised by five key categories of beneficiaries who require assistance: Syrian refugees, Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS), Palestine refugees in Lebanon (PRL) before the crisis, Lebanese returnees from Syria, and vulnerable Lebanese. Women and children account for 80% of the refugee population, with 54% below 18 years of age. As of July 2016, 78% of Palestine Refugees from Syria (PRS) are women and children, and 57% below 18 years of age.
DRC Lebanon Interventions
In 2017, DRC reached 100,736 Lebanese and Syrians individuals through its interventions across the country. It prioritised continued support to emergency response capacities in Lebanon, improving living conditions, and providing access to basic services and livelihood opportunities, strengthening protection and self-reliance for the most vulnerable households and communities.
DRC invested heavily in 2017 in strengthening its Information Management (IM) capacities by developing a system called ‘Alpha’ for implementing and monitoring its programmes to ensure accountability to both beneficiaries and donors. It allows for mapping, integrated activity monitoring, dynamic dashboards, automated infographics and is encrypted and fully secure. Within this IM framework, DRC developed the Referral Information Management System (RIMS) to provide a common platform for the management of information relating to referrals where trends analysis as well as day to day management is done in an effective, user friendly and secure way and five NGOs have since adopted the system.
In 2017, DRC piloted an innovative approach called “I Am Here – Am Stronger” designed to tackle the issue of early marriage. The approach was developed by the Women’s Refugee Council and piloted and contextualised by DRC. It provides a participant-driven, context-specific response that engages households to prevent and respond to early marriage, including: adolescent girls, adolescent boys, and male and female caregivers. It was piloted in North Lebanon showing a positive impact on preventing child marriage and intimate partner violence within targeted families and robust engagement of boys and men in supporting adolescent girls. The engagement of males and caretakers has been flagged as a key achievement at the interagency level.
Some key protection activities implemented by DRC in 2017 include case management services, inclusive of cash support and safe identification and referral, focused and community-based psychosocial support, individual protection assistance, community-based protection activities, emotional support groups, psychological counselling, legal awareness sessions, legal counselling, and court representation.
In terms of protection monitoring and advocacy, DRC worked thoroughly on a research agenda to support humanitarian efforts in Lebanon, including developing eight protection monitoring reports assessing key issues affecting Syrian refugees. In addition, DRC collaborated with other protection agencies to release additional research on topics including detention, evictions, youth and new arrivals. These efforts supported stakeholders to stay abreast of some of the most prominent protection trends and concerns observed among the Syrian refugee population throughout Lebanon in 2017. DRC supported 33,228 individuals under its protection programme in 2017.
DRC in Lebanon aims to provide sustainable and decent employment opportunities, supporting access to markets, and enhancing social and economic-self-reliance and inclusion of extremely vulnerable and marginalised households. It includes primarily a core package of employability services designed to improve access to individuals and households to sustainable livelihoods via skills trainings, apprenticeships, job referrals and job placements.
To this end, DRC led a two-county (Lebanon and Jordan), six agency livelihoods consortium, called LEADERS. In addition, DRC provided Business Development support to 107 Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises which includes business training, individual coaching and grants. Finally, DRC implemented interventions in North Lebanon and Bekaa involving cash for work programming for Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese to rehabilitate 10 infrastructural and agricultural assets in their communities. This included rehabilitating fishing cooperatives, reforestation, developing agricultural roads and irrigation canals. In 2017, DRC supported 3,504 individuals under its livelihoods programme.
DRC Lebanon Strategic Focus
DRC undertakes programming in Lebanon based on the idea that if displacement-affected populations in Lebanon are provided with the physical and social capital to withstand the stressors of displacement by both government and civil society, then their ability to realise their rights and build resilience in the long-run will be strengthened.
To advance these objectives, DRC will prioritise key actions in 2018 across all of its sectors of intervention. In protection, DRC has initiated a greater focus on evidence-based advocacy to leverage its extensive networks and global position to promote the rights of displacement-affected populations. In livelihoods, DRC will explore interventions at the market level and seek to better integrate and mainstream protection across its programmes. In shelter, DRC will better mainstream protection and social stability programming into its approach to ensure that the most vulnerable individuals receive the assistance they need and social tensions are reduced as much as possible. Finally with regards to partnerships, DRC will focus on capacitating existing partners to allow for complete handover of various activities and services. The year 2018 will focus on strengthening the organisational frameworks and processes of partners to ensure comprehensive capacity support is provided to allow for sustainable operations of local actors well into the future.
In 2017, DRC developed a comprehensive partnership toolkit that enables mapping, vetting, selection, capacity building, management, monitoring and evaluation and handover of activities primarily to local civil society organizations. This systematic and participatory approach to partnership management enabled DRC to establish partnerships with 16 community service organisations in 2017 to carry out a range of humanitarian and development interventions and innovative projects encompassing community-based psychosocial support, safe identification and referrals, community-based protection interventions, and case management.