Monday, May 25, 2015

UNICEF New Zeeland Executive Director at LOST to Assess Social Cohesion Initiatives

On Tuesday, May 19, 2015, the executive director of UNICEF, NZ, Mrs. Vivien Maidaborn along with Marion Blake, a photographer and UNICEF team Lebanon visited LOST premises in Bedneyel and attended a Merge activity in Hawsh Musraya bringing together more than 100 Lebanese and Syrian youth in a recreational activity.

After introducing UNICEF/LOST partnership objectives and social cohesion approach to NZ senior delegation, LOST introduced two more approaches where Mrs. Blake attended part of a “conflict analysis” workshop organized by LOST and forum ZFD and took part at another workshop on “social cohesion” about Human Rights organized by LOST and the Embassy of the Netherlands. Then UNICEF team headed towards an Informal Tental Settlement (ITS) in Howsh Mosraya to attend a Merge Activity conducted by 35 Lebanese Youth and about 45 Syrian youth in addition to the refugees’ parents, little siblings and residents. The merge program was racing bags between youth participants organized by the Lebanese. LOST then played some traditional Syrian songs and the UNICEF team danced with some Syrian children. Hanadi El Rahim, a 15-year-old Syrian participant also gave a passionate speech greeting LOST and UNICEF for the initiative and stressing the Right to learn for everybody.

Such a visit strengthens this productive partnership with UNICEF and exchanges experience which will in turn improves the quality of services offered to both Syrian refugees and the most vulnerable hosting community who are seeking assistance.  


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dreams, Aspirations and Progress at Public Nurseries in Northern Bekaa through the Australian Embassy’s DAP

LOST's Newest project came to  marvelous conclusion, thanks to the generous donation of the Australian Embassy in Lebanon through the Direct Aid Program (DAP), Starting April 2015, LOST has implemented the project in Northern Bekaa, specifically in Hermel aiming at performing a refurbishing process to 16 nurseries that had suffered years of underfunding and neglecting.  The nurseries underwent several repairs ranging from painting, placing carpets to changing the tables, desks, and closets.  Each one of these nurseries was renewed according to a needs assessment LOST has done prior implementation.

The classes' new look reflects a more vivid atmosphere where the kids can enjoy school and develop in a safer child friendly environment. Health conditions have always been a mega priority that this renovation secured for the upcoming generations. This is a corner stone in building a brighter future for our upcoming generations; they can be the breath of fresh air this society needs, and we have just got to make sure they are well equipped for tomorrow; all development starts at a classroom.

Two project upcoming events are marked on the project’s calendar for next month. On Thursday May the 28th, 2015 an event will be held in Hermel as a commemoration of the project impact and on June 4th LOST will host the Ambassador of Australia in Lebanon, H.E Mr. Glenn Miles in its Bednayel branch to conclude the project.

Friday, May 15, 2015

USAID/OTI and LOST Promote for Social Cohesion through Kicking off “Youth-led Initiative in Northern Bekaa”

On May 5th, 2014, the Lebanese Organization of Studies and Training (LOST) inaugurated a USAID/OTI 5-month project "Youth-Led Initiatives in Northern Beqaa" at LOST premises in Ein in the presence of the governor of Baalbeck, USAID/OTI senior delegation, mayors and municipality members of the targeted villages, school principals and teachers, mucktars, key local figures, local NGO representatives, and more than 100 youth beneficiaries from Labwe, Ursal Ein, Fakiha, and Ras Baalbeck.

This in-kind project aims at supporting the engagement of more than 80 youth from four areas located at the Baalbeck-Hermel district (Ursal, Labwe, Fakiha/Ein, and Ras Baalbeck). These youth will receive trainings in conflict mitigation, needs assessment techniques, social media, and project design and implementation, and then participate in public outreach activities using social media, murals at the targeted areas, and the arts to disseminate peace messages. The youth will also design and implement community projects in the four targeted areas addressing sources of tension and providing tangible community benefits.

LOST’s founder Dr. Ramy Lakkis delivered an introductory speech explaining the objectives and procedures of the project to audience. He clarified that the project develops the interpersonal and intercultural skills of participants and reinforces the conflict resolution skills across and within the Lebanese community. He also spoke about the need of a new generation that can communicate and build strong relationships built on mutual respect.
 The governor of Baalbeck-Hermel, Mr. Basheer Khodr gave a speech thanking LOST for the initiative and showed all support to such activities. He also saluted youth participants for their active participation and showed his willingness to participate in some of the project’s activities.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Karaoke, Conflict Mitigation Tool in Northern Bekaa

On Saturday April 25th, 2015, the Lebanese Organization of Studies and Training (LOST) organized a “Peak Activity” at Baytna restaurant in Baalbeck bringing together 48 youth (25 Lebanese and 23 Syrian youth from an ITS in Douris/ Balkijian).  The Activity, merely a Karaoke and singing followed by lunch, aimed at merging the Syrian adolescents with their Lebanese counterparts outside the context of the ITS where they, in a very friendly environment, can break the psychological barriers and discover their common interests they share.

The participants showed remarkable cooperation where they sang, and danced together without feeling a difference between the Lebanese host and the Syrian refugee. During lunch, the participants talked, shared stories, and even took selfies to remember this day as a joyful memory.
Such a series of activities LOST is organizing in the field on a bi-weekly basis can thus change the misconceptions that the war in Syria and the phenomena of refugees created in the mindset of young adolescents and show them that pre-judgment is a wrong practice.

Promoting Women Political Participation in Public Life

As part of the “Step towards Municipal Elections”, a joint project funded by the Embassy of Netherlands in Lebanon, the Lebanese Organization of Studies and Training (LOST) in coordination with the municipality of Bedenyel organized a seminar on promoting women political participation in public life on April 2, 2015. 

In the presence of 300 attendees that range from municipal mayors and members, school principals and teachers, representatives of civil society organizations and interested people, Dr. Rami Lakkis, founder and president of LOST, presented a seminar that highlighted the importance of women in society in general and in political life in particular.

Lakkis asserted that Lebanese women do play a significant role in business and the private sector and as increasingly in civil society, advocacy and social services. However, when it comes to their entry into the formal political arena, women’s numbers remain extremely low. Based on that, her participation is very important not only for her as an individual, but for her family and on a larger scale for the society.

He also concentrated on the fact that women participation in the political domain is not, by any means, a gender issue; she is to play a significant role in the community simply because of the positive impact she will have on the community.

At the end of the seminar, Dr. Lakkis opened the room for a series of Q&A where the participants show a great interest in the topic and appreciation for the new approach. On his end, Dr. Lakkis thanked the audience for their active attendance, as well as the Dutch Embassy for their generosity to fund the project.