The Lebanese Organization of Studies and Training in cooperation with their German partner, Forum ZFD, and a Syrian NGO, Basmeh & Zaitooneh, are working together on the “Future Together Now” Project to aid in easing social tensions between Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese in four villages located in Northern Bekaa.
“Future Together Now” was launched in February 2015 and has since received lots of attention from NGO’s all over Lebanon.
Community Activists (CA) trained by LOST and ForumZFD on conflict management, communication and negotiation are role models in the community acting as a bridge between the locals and key decision makers. The locals, along with the help of the CA, will form a council to later implement the skills learned through the trainings to mitigate the distance between key decision makers and the people of the villages. This council or committee is known as “The Mechanism”. This mechanism is a form of democratic practice for change to happen. With their leadership skills and humanitarian nature, the Community Activists and the “The Mechanism” will enable strategies to make life better for both the host and the displaced community in four of the largest cities in the Baalbeck- Hermel region.
The activists attained negotiation skills and shared the problems that need to be addressed with LOST. LOST then will set up meetings with the activists, stakeholders and key players to introduce the action plan that will be implemented by the end of 2015.
The problems that have high priority in finding solutions in the action plan are potable water, garbage and health. The goal of the project is finding peaceful and coexisting solutions for better standards of living which can transcend into the rest of Bekaa and Lebanon.
Each area had some activities involving community members, both Lebanese and Syrian, to work together. Together, members from both communities shared a soccer field and played fair and square, together they participated in community service like street cleaning.
The concepts that words are stronger than actions and that as civilized people we can learn to live together and communicate instead of raise violence are the desired outcome for all over Lebanon.