Thursday, June 25, 2015

EU Senior Delegation along with UNICEF Visit ITS in Baalbeck

On Saturday June 20th, 2015, The Lebanese Organization of Studies and Training (LOST) along with UNICEF, Bekaa hosted two senior delegates from the EU and all together visited Hosh Al Rafka IS in northern Bekaa.

Ms Marisa Matias, Member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Chair of the Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Mashreq Countries - Con-federal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left and Ms. Elisa Reschini, Political adviser from GUE/NGL paid an ITS in Baalbeck a visit to discuss the present conditions of the 200-refugee IS. They met the watchman, meandered across the location, and made a few meetings with random families to get some information about the refugees’ way of living and the level of suffering.

Showing a great sense of empathy and highlighting the humanitarian side of the visit, EU delegation played some entertaining games with children and listened attentively and compassionately to an old lady whose two of her children died in Syria where they demonstrated a high philanthropic level of support.

While the last piece of the visit was an exchange of experience with a few women of diverse circumstances (pregnant, sick, and a lady having a debilitated infant), they got some information about their sufferings and what they go through on a daily basis. Things can’t change overnight, Miss Matias asserted, but the whole team promised to do their best in order to voice the concerns of the refugees to the designated people so they can minimize the ordeal the refugees are passing through and make things a bit easier.

LOST seized the opportunity to explain to the EU delegation the objectives behind such a timely and efficient intervention at these ITS in partnership with UNICEF. LOST also expounded the approaches of social cohesion adopted at these location by engaging the Lebanese at the grass root level in the process of promoting for a more understanding climate towards the Syrian crisis.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Forum ZFD Director Visits LOST and Attends a Focus Group in Ein

On July 16th, 2015, Oliver Knabe, the director of Forum ZFD worldwide, along with his senior team in Germany and Lebanon visited LOST premises in Baalbeck, Bedneyel, and Ein. He also attended a focus group for local stakeholders in Ein where participants mapped the priority needs of the local community.

This timely visit of forum ZFD to LOST came to assess the process of a longstanding and productive partnership between the two NGOs. This partnership aims at the establishment of local mechanisms of non-violent conflict transformation and decision making at the local level. Such mechanisms will engage key representatives from the hosting community and Syrian refugees in the promotion of social cohesion and co-existence in four of the largest cities in Baalbeck- Hermel region.

On a related note, the two entities finalized the visit of a senior delegation from the two organizations to Berlin, Germany to participate in a conference explaining the fruitful outcomes of this partnership and its impact on the local community.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Partnership between LOST and MCC- Income-Generating and Social-Cohesion Project

The Lebanese Organization of Studies and Training (LOST) in partnership with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) have initiated their 3-year income-generating and social-cohesion project targeting 60 most vulnerable Lebanese families in Baalbeck-Hermel region on June 9th, 2015.

This project aims to improve food security, family nutrition and economic well-being while empowering families to establish community cohesion by distributing sheep for 60 needy families, and training women in these families on milk production, marketing techniques, and community peace building education towards social cohesion. The end result of assistance in food security and peace education training will build the capacity of the local rural communities to cope with financial pressures, insuring stable incomes and ability to feed themselves nutritionally. Thus, it aims at empowering families in a certain degree of economic and food security while strengthening their potential to assist the refugees in helping create social acceptance and sympathy to their current situation.
This project will provide technical assistance and training along with the sheep distribution to increase the income of 60 families by $100 to $125 (per family) each month making them viable economically besides increasing their families’ nutritional status. Women targeted by this project will benefit directly by increasing the income of their families; thus easing the burden they carry for caring for the children and family living needs.
The project will allow LOST to be aligned with the Lebanese Crisis Response Plan (LCRP) and the strategic objectives of the Global Food Security Clusters. Through this project LOST will promote sustainable stabilization of food consumption for vulnerable households in northern Bekaa, ensuring food availability by supporting sustainable agriculture production.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Australian Ambassador H.E Glenn Miles Visits LOST to Assess DAP

  On Thursday June 4th, 2015, H.E. Glenn Miles the Australian Ambassador in Lebanon and two of his assistants visited The Lebanese Organization of Studies and training (LOST) at its branch in Bednayel. After a brief introduction about the implementation of DAP, funded by the Australian Embassy in Beirut, the whole team watched a short video in order to evaluate the success of the project.

The main course of the project was to renovate nurseries at 15 public schools in Hermel Caza. The renovation included tables, chairs, painting, carpets and boards. This generous gesture from his Excellency reinforced the trust and confidence in public schools from the parents and students alike. H.E asserted that LOST is a trust-worthy old partner, expressed his appreciation for the work that was done, and promised of more future projects.
Dr. Lakkis and LOST staff were very happy to keep his Excellency for lunch after a fruitful day for both parties.

LOST, UNHCR, and Intersos Capacitating Municipal Police in Mid and West Bekaa

 On June 6, 15, LOST in partnership with UNHCR and Intersos conducted the 3rd of a series of 4 workshops that are being held in Rashayya, the central town of western Bekaa to municipality members and staff of the region.  These workshops aim of building the capacity of municipal police and municipality members in western and Mid Bekaa in the fields of communication skills, emotional intelligence, role of municipal police based on principles of human rights, covering civil, economic, and political rights, and Refugee’s Rights. 

The 32 attendees of the workshop coming from the municipal union of Jabal Al Shaykh were very excited during the training, where they were eagerly asking questions related to their real-time context and paying attention to tiniest details.  After the training, the participants showed interest in getting additional workshops in the future to benefit more from the skills and information of LOST on various topics related to the nature of their work.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

LOST and Saints Coeurs, Baallbeck Preach for Women Political Empowerment

A seminar entitled "Women's Participation in Public Life" was organized by the Lebanese Organization of Studies and Training (LOST) in collaboration with Khalil Motran secondary high school (Saints Coeurs) in the auditorium of the high school in Baalbeck on June 2nd, 2015. In the presence of more than 200 participants that range from municipality members, Saints Coeurs administration and staff, school principals and educators, delegates of society associations and interested individuals, Dr. Rami Lakkis, founder and president of LOST, presented a discourse that highlighted the significance of women engagement in public affairs all in all and specifically in political life.

Dr. Lakkis emphasized that participation is a fundamental principle of development. Sustainable human development is to look at people as actors in the process of social change, and not just beneficiaries who receive results without the active participation. He also added that the concept of “participation interlinked with empowerment” is also a part of the development components.
He believed that the participation of women in public life promotes free citizenship, fosters the formation of civil society and gender balance, and contributes to the empowerment of women and thus promoting stability in society. In addition, he stated that women's participation in public work at the individual and social levels increases women’s capacity and positions in all areas and promotes a sense of responsibility, public awareness and faith in their capabilities.
Toward the end of the seminar, Dr. Lakkis opened the space for a progression of related Q&A where the interested audience demonstrated an extraordinary enthusiasm for the point and gratefulness for the new approach. On his end, Dr. Lakkis expressed gratitude toward the audience for their dynamic participation.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Capacity Building and Youth Engagement in Ursal

The Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST) has always been committed to playing a vital and important role in building local capacity and enhancing youth engagement in the process of building bridges of co-existence and non-violent conflict transformation among various stakeholders throughout the Baalbeck-Hermel region, especially in Ursal and its surrounding, one of the most underprivileged areas that has received a lot of attention after the Syrian crisis. 

In Ursal, LOST and for 3 consecutive years has been implementing a capacity and skills building program of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) staff in northern Bekaa. As part of this program, an English training session respecting pedagogical objectives is being given to MSF staff, mostly who are doctors and nurses in order to develop, improve and expand their knowledge and capacities in English so that they can communicate better within the working environment.
In addition, LOST with the partnership of OTI/USAID is implementing a project entitled "Youth Led Initiatives in Northern Bekaa" for high school students by organizing workshops on conflict mitigation and social media in addition to the implementation of youth-led community projects. The project covers four areas (Ursal, Labwi, Ein and Ras Baalbeck). These training sessions and community projects will help in promoting peaceful coexistence and reducing tensions between local stakeholders in the targeted villages thus tackling negative stereotypes and prejudices against “the other”. 

UNICEF/LOST partnership Embraces “Education for All”

The Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST) and through its partnership with UNICEF is implementing a lot of social cohesion and peace building activities that help the Lebanese community and the Syrian refugees accept each other and reduce tensions between these different constituencies. Moreover, LOST/UNICEF partnership also offers an educational opportunity to Syrian refugees who have been left behind due to a lot of unforeseen reasons.
LOST’s team on the ground is experiencing a lot of success stories where highlighting some of them in can show how beneficial it is to implement such projects  and channel this partnership with UNICEF towards a higher level of intervention .
Abdalla Al Abboud, a 16-year-old Syrian refugee living at an Informal Tental Settlement (ITS) in Ein, retarded and disabled as an aftermath of an auto crash. One day, he showed up at our branch in Ein very enthusiastic to learn and so eager from the beginning to take part of our educational skills program. He called us many times to know when we are going to start our educational skills program in order to join in. At the beginning of the program, he had his grades around 3 out of 10. Now after 3 months in the program, his grades are around 8 out of 10. This pre and post-testing showed a lot of commitment, determination, and improvement on part of Syrian beneficiaries of the program.
Not too far from that ITS in Ein, Somar Al-Ghafri is a 16-year- old student with a disability in Fakiha public location. Somar decided to challenge his disability where he showed a lot of improvement since he first came to our educational facility at Fakiha. His understanding capacity used to be extremely low and couldn’t also read. Now, he can write faster than before. He passed all his exams with high grades especially in French and Arabic.
The above stories make us feel proud of our work because in a way or another we are helping and improving a lot of people’s lives not for the time being, but for a life time.