One of the key challenges facing the children of Lebanon is that even after reconstruction from conflict progresses; they are living in the shadow of internal political instability. UNICEF is committed to ensuring that all its activities address the impact of this situation on children.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene:
In 2008 the focus of UNICEF-supported interventions in Water and Sanitation was the completion of post-emergency and recovery rehabilitation of water and sanitation infrastructure in a number of communities and public schools.
Under the UN joint project (funded by ECHO) for the integrated support to the rehabilitation of Nahr el Bared Camp (NBC) adjacent area, UNICEF and “Islamic Relief” (IR) implementing partner together with UNRWA are installing water pipes and constructing a water reservoir with 200 m3 capacity and household connections for 900 units. Upgrading of existing boreholes and installation of generators for water pumping, organization of hygiene and environmental education campaigns, training technical personnel of local municipalities and representatives of Popular Committees in water management and quality surveillance are also implemented by the organization in close cooperation with its partners.
In addition to Nahr el-bared and in close cooperation with the ministry of Education, UNICEF partnered with International Medical Corps (IMC) NGO to rehabilitate a number of public schools, their water and sanitation facilities. Hygiene education and household water management trainings were successfully achieved through the active participation of more than 20 communities that most suffered during the 2006 and 2007 emergencies. 28 schools in the South, Akkar and Beqaa have been rehabilitated (with special attention paid to their water and sanitation infrastructure) benefiting approximately 3,800 students. In six villages local water networks have been repaired to bring safe drinking water to some 40,000 inhabitants.
Supporting the Ministry of Public Health in strengthening national Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI), strengthening EPI cold chain infrastructure at the decentralized level and training MoPH staff in vaccine management, data collection and monitoring was the objective of UNICEF supported programme for the year 2008. This resulted in the increase of the immunization coverage from 40-50 per cent to more than 70 per cent in 17 out of Lebanon’s 27 districts (Qazas).
In 2008 the focus of UNICEF-supported interventions in Health remained on the Primary health care package with special attention on regional disparities. A new national Neonatal Resuscitation Programme has been launched with the MoPH, to strengthen the medical staff capacity to save children’s lives during the period when the mortality hits the highest. Emergency preparedness issues have been addressed in a special AUB training course, in addition to minimal contingency plans put in place.
The government of Lebanon had committed itself to the global community to eliminate measles and rubella from Lebanon by year 2010. During 2007 only 30% of children received two doses of MMR vaccine in the public sector. To address the situation, MoPH, in cooperation with UNICEF, WHO and the Lebanese Pediatric Society partners devised a plan to vaccinate all children from 9 months of age to 14 years of age (900,000 people) all over Lebanon against measles and rubella, irrespective of previous vaccination history. Schools, kindergartens, nurseries, day care centers, etc... and all health centers for all preschool and out of school children have been mobilized . The implemented by YMCA and reached 78%of the targeted 900,000 children.
UNICEF’s partners in the Learning Programme Component are the Ministry of Education, the Center for Educational Research and Development (CERD), Higher Council for Childhood, local donors from the private sector, private educational establishments and selected schools. In 2008, UNICEF-supported activities were through the “Adopt-A-School” Initiative, a pilot programme jointly funded by the private sector in 20 locations in the most deprived areas of Hermel, Baalbeck and Akkar. The Initiative is a first hand testimony of how the approaches, models and techniques lobbied for by UNICEF at the national policy level can translate into practical and tangible improvements in the lives of children and their immediate environment. In addition to the “Adopt-A-School” Initiative, basic rehabilitation of more than 50 public schools (including, of their water networks and sanitation facilities) continued in 2008.
Other activities undertaken in 2008 within the Learning Programme Component included the introduction of ICT component to the “Adopt-a-School” model mainly funded by the Partnership for Lebanon. The Partnership for Lebanon (PFL) is a collaborative effort of Intel Corporation, Cisco Systems, GHAFARI Inc., Microsoft and Occidental Petroleum to help revitalize Lebanon through projects aimed at improving education, enhance active learning and stimulate critical thinking and computer access to the Internet for its citizens.
On another front and in partnership with ALPHA literacy classes targeting both adult and younger trainees have reached up to 700 young illiterates (aged 10 to 18) and 800 adult learners (aged 18-45), most of them being women; remedial courses to 1,000 students were also offered in 20 villages.
Within the “Adopt-a-School” project run by the national IQRAA NGO 15 libraries have been completed in the most remote areas in the country providing also a whole spectrum of activities for children. “Un Ponte Per …” an Italian NGO, in association with the Lebanese Permanent Peace Movement have also reached more than 1,700 children and their families.
The learning programme also contributed to the completion of rehabilitation of up to 50 schools (including water and sanitation facilities) in the South and other areas affected by hostilities in 2006.
The continuously unstable security situation in Lebanon has impacted negatively on all aspects of children’s lives. School closures, sporadic fighting and a worsening economic situation have undermined their security, wellbeing and sense of normalcy. The situation also further marginalized most vulnerable communities and pushed children’s protection issues off the agenda at several decision-making levels.
In 2008, UNICEF worked to bridge between its emergency response programme and regular programme to institutionalize mechanisms for prevention and promotion of children’s psychosocial well-being and protection.
At the central level, this has translated into supporting the Ministry of Social Affairs’ infrastructure of Social Development Centres by training their staff to respond to psychosocial distress and appropriately intervene with families and children. Nationally, UNICEF worked on strengthening the Child Protection Working Group of NGOs (25 organizations at the current stage), identifying geographical and thematic referral points, and creating a mechanism for monitoring and sharing of information.
At the community level, activities that reached some 250,000 children in the South (Bint Jbeil and Nabatyeh) and North (Tripoli and Akkar) are being transformed into sustainable Child Protection Networks where local authorities and communities are empowered to better identify and address their specific needs. During this time, UNICEF continued its policy work and important studies on child protection legislation, children deprived of parental care and children in conflict with the law.
The youth empowerment and protection programme, for young people aged 14 to 18, contributes to providing youth with skills and knowledge for the future.
This is done through supporting operational research to identify priorities and actions; promoting policies and plans specific to youth; and building partnerships with government, non-governmental and private sector partners and sister UN Agencies to create development opportunities for youth.
The activities planned by UNICEF at the policy, intermediate and grassroots/intervention levels targeting adolescents and youth from civil society, public and private schools and universities articulate around:
At the policy level, UNICEF, the UN Task Force (UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP/UNRC, ILO, UNOHCHR, UNFPA) the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Youth and Sports worked together with the civil society and youth organizations that are involved in the data collection to finalise the National Youth Policy and the Youth Profile Document. As a result, the Council of Ministers issued an official decree in November 2007 that enables the government to adopt the National Youth Policy. At the intermediary level, UNICEF, UNESCO and the UN Youth Task Force have partnered with legal research institutions to develop 2 new chapters on “Youth Participation and Law” and “Youth, Leisure, Sports and extra-school activities” to be integrated within the Youth Profile Document as well as designing the legal processes attached to the Youth Card aiming at providing easier access to health insurance, discounted public transportation fees, and the like.
Finally, at the grassroots/intervention level, after the decree was issued by the Council of Ministers in November 2007 and after many delays due to the political/ governmental unrest, UNICEF, the UN Youth Task Force and the Ministry of Youth and Sports officially launched the National Youth Policy in August 2008.
Promotion of Children’s and Women’s Rights Programme
UNICEF put important efforts in advocating on issues affecting the well-being of mothers and children. Communication approaches and awareness-raising material are produced to support all programme interventions in addition to sensitizing the public opinion at large to the Convention of the rights of the Child. All channels are explored by the organization to increase the access to information and empower mothers and children with the knowledge to increase their awareness and positive attitudes. A wealth of information material is produced and widely distributed all over Lebanon.
SAWTNA, the voice of the 50 Lebanese youth representing all geographical areas in Lebanon, is a social TV programme aimed at giving youth a platform to talk about the issues of concern to them has been broadcasted on LBCI TV since November 2006. The program is fully the ownership of young people: they choose the stories and determine the shape and tone of the program. The TV programme, unique in its kind, aspire at staying above the political and confessional divides, respecting cultural, confessional and religious diversity while contributing to raising awareness on many development and human rights issues facing Lebanon today. To maintain high professional standard of this innovative TV product, UNICEF, with the help of high level professionals is continuously improving the capacity of Sawtna youth and empowering them to become the journalists of tomorrow. In 2008 alone, 60 reportages were produced by the youth and 2009 prospects seem very promising.
For more information about UNICEF programme:
UNICEF House, Yamout Street.,Hamra
Tel.: 961-1-756 101
Fax: 961-1-756 109