Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Closing STEP Is a Start for New Steps

Thursday, April 21, 2016, the Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST) arranged a closing ceremony of its Dutch-funded project, STEP towards Municipal Elections, in Baalbeck in the presence of the Dutch ambassador, Mrs. Hester M.J. Somsen, Baalbeck-Hermel governor, Bashir Khodor, and Baalbeck-Deir Al Ahmar archbishop, Hanna Rahmeh.

The project that was designed to engage 300 women in the political life and enable them to play an active rolein the municipal elections ended up with more than 20 women running for office in May 2016 municipal elections in Baalbeck-Hermel.

In his speech, LOST’s founder, Dr. Ramy Lakkis spoke at length about the importance of women’s participation in the political life and how significant their role is. He also pointed out that training women is a key tool to bridge the gap between them and the public life. He said, “STEP hasn’t only paved the way for women to participate in the municipal elections, but it has also made them interested in the public life.” He added, “What distinguishes the women’s participation is being unconnected to the political, tribal, religious, or sectarian considerations. When are proud of them.”

The ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mrs. Somsen, pointed at several factors, including the cultural milieu, that hinder the women’s contribution tothe political life. At the same time, she underscored the role of women in imposing their presence in the public life. She praised the participants’ courage and thanked LOST for taking the initiative to conduct such projects in Baalbeck-Hermel region.

LOST, hand in hand with its partners, implements all potentials to capacitate women in Baalbeck-Hermel to be active participants in the public life. STEP is a brilliant success, and it’s only the beginning.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

From Waste to Resource: The Swiss Experience in Lebanon

“From Waste to Resource” is a missing equation in  Baalbeck–Hermel district about which the Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST) held a seminar in Baalbeck. Sébastien Bockel, a Swiss consultant in waste management,  gave a set of lectures to LOST staff, municipal members, and representatives from all over the region about waste management and environmental issues.
The lectures aim at capacity building in Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) sector, enhancing the key role of the Liaison and Development Office (LDO) created by LOST for the purpose of engaging municipalities in the development of its infrastructure, and thus empowering its descion making in projects and investments.

Since all municipalities in Baalbeck–Hermel dump waste unknowing its effects on the long term, it is important to notify that the cost of inappropriate waste management is much higher and pretty complicated compared to the cost of recycling and appropriate management. Mr. Bockel emphasized the importance of recycling  due to its direct influence on economy, health, and preservation of limited resources.
The environmental engineer alerted about the greenhouse gas effect resulting from the current landfills in our area. He advised the attendants to adopt certain recycling and sorting methods not only to benefit the environment, but also to provide job opportunities. Recycling, according to Bockel, leads to an organized, managed, and controlled process on the waste management procedures and actions.  
How is the Swiss model relevant in Lebanon?

In the second day of the seminar, in which municipality mayors and members were attending , the Swiss expert gave a full demonstration on the types of waste, importance of sorting, and recycling effects. “Switzerland and Lebanon are two countries with many similarities,” he said. “Both are small-sized countries, with no specific underground resources, and they have been  historically lands of immigration with cosmopolitan populations form all cultures and religions,” he added.
He spoke at length on how we can turn waste to resources just from the idea of sorting waste like recyclabes and then selling to industries.
How can municipalities help?
Mr. Bockel emphasized the key role of the municipalities as a driving force in the process because they will have the chance to receive financial support from donors, develop a better infrastructure of  waste management, and prevent the upscaling of the current landfills in the region.
The municipalities welcomed the idea and proposed to launch awarness campaigns on the importance of sorting from the  source, in which the residents have major influence in the process.
LOST’s founder, Dr. Ramy Lakkis, emphasized that any action, major or minor, has to be issued from the municipalities. “The Swiss union of municapalities is ready to help, and there is a project in this regard,” he said. What is pending is finalizing the procedures and the municipalities’ preparations to adapt to the recycling program.
LOST, via its LDO, is working hard with its Swiss partners to establish a new developmental network that puts the local efforts together with the the international opportunities for the sake of a peaceful and stable society.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

LOST and its Dutch Partners: Steps toward Peace

Wednesday, April 12, 2016, the Lebanese Organizationfor Studies and Training (LOST) had a Dutchdelegation in its center in Bedneyel in the context of “Networks of Peace” project. The meeting was achance for the delegation to know more about LOST and to learabout Baalbeck-Hermel’s challenges raised by the project’s Volunteer Mobilization Committees (VMCs).

The gathering paved the way for the Dutch delegation to be informed about LOST and its approaches via apresentation conducted by LOST’s founder, Dr. RamyLakkisHe explained the organization’s abilities at the level of needs’ assessment and networking people together to convert challenges into chances

It was also an opportunity for the Dutch delegation to have a profound discussion with the VMCs who came from Bedneyel, BaalbeckHermelAinChmestar, and Deir El Ahmar about the key challenges in Baalbeck-Hermel region

In an area that is overloaded with developmental, financial, and political challenges, it is of paramountimportance for LOST to make a breakthrough in thisstatus quo. LOST, with the support of its partners,addresses people’s needs and links them up for a common understanding of solutions, and hence a more stable community.

Empowering Women To Lead Meet in Deir El Ahmar for the First-Time

A conference seminar was held Tuesday April 12th at Sayedet el Burj church in Deir el Ahmar addressing the role of women in society. This conference, presented by the founder of the Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training(LOST) Dr. Ramy Lakkis, for Empowering Women to Lead project, funded by GIZ, attracted lots of attention from men and women from all over the region.

Around a total of 300 people attended, including community activists, stakeholders from BudayYamouniand Iaat, representatives from different political parties, as well as members of Deir el Ahmar Club and LOST.

The archbishop of the church, Hanna Rahme welcomed everyone and took his place in the audience to listen to the lecture.

Ramy Lakiss emphasized the goal of this initiative is to impact the community in such a way to start a chain reaction in the developmental mind-setOne of the most obvious telltales that development has begun is the fact that both Muslims and Christians gathered peacefully under the roof of a church for the sole purpose of enlightenment. He said, "Change starts from within; each individual has the ability to change and it can start on a personal level or household level".

"To participate is to be a part of decision making, it is the meaning of our citizenship and our duty to our community. After joining this project, I finally understood that gender roles shouldn’t define us because I have a responsibility to my country like any other man," said participant Hind NaserEldeen, 40, from Hermel.

LOST through enabling women to be part of the community is working in its goal for gender equality, peace building and development. Having an understanding, an education or a set of skills in life is liberating. Freedom from societal constraints is what LOST seeks in order to give the people a dignified life.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Moayad had the Will; LOST paved the Way

Moayad Dersany (16 years old) is one of millions of Syrian youth who, because of the Cross-the-Country Crisis, have been displaced from their social environments and everyday life to be left for their own destiny. Moayad and his family roamed over Lebanon 2 years ago and shifted houses across Lebanon until they settled to Baalbeck. Being ambitious and smart, neither Moayad nor his supportive mom missed the chances  to have him back at school. So he attended a local school where he resumed studying. Unfortunately, Moayad got himself expelled shortly afterwards due to a misunderstanding with a teacher. While out of school Moayad's interest in going back to school drastically declined as he helped his father; the tractor mechanic, in his job. It seemed that his ambition of becoming a mechanical engineer one day was a farfetched fantasy. Even worse Moayad lost motivation and became a dark shade of the onetime cheerful young man he was.
In February 2016 Moayad met Eva Debs, a supervisor in the “Learning and Skills Program for Syrian Refugees and Lebanese Youth” project, implemented by the Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST) in partnership with UNICEF. He was less likely to join the training as he did not really contemplate any education or training form, but Eva had multiple dialogues and discussions with him and eventually got him to join. On March 15th classes started, Moayad was truly committed and attended trainings daily, he took an Individual and social skill course. Over the course of the next few days Moayad, the usually shy isolated kid started to blossom and connect with his peers, he began to display great understanding of the skills he acquired, and looked the part in energizing his peers. The next thing we knew, Moayad comes up to Eva and announces that he intends to go back to school!

"I have set my mind back to finishing my education" Moayad stated. “I was willing to postpone my studies, but now I am more focused and willing to study until I become the mechanical engineer of my dreams” he added. Moayad’s relationship with his peers improved, he made new friends, and his communication with his parents is better as well. He stated that if they remain in Lebanon for next year, he would definitely join any capacity building training, LOST will offer and invite his friends as well. Perhaps the most inspiring thing he said was: “At the beginning I loved to come to the training just to fill up my spare time and meet new friends, but now I am a more focused, energized person that has a goal”.
LOST and UNICEF always seek to have this impact on an adolescents life and destiny, to keep the instinct and hunger of learning alive in all youth and children worldwide, because all children deserve to get an education, to dream big, to fulfill their ambitions and to have someone guiding them through.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Early Blossoming of the EWL: Ludi Runs For Office

“Political life used to be a matter of fantasy for me; but not anymore. I’m going to run for the municipal elections in May 2016", this is how Ludi Habshi, a 27-year-old participant from Deir Al Ahmar in Empowering Women to Lead (EWL) project,recapped her seven-month experience

The Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST), in cooperation with Gesellschaft für InternationaleZusammenarbeit (GIZ) combined to create the Empowering Women to Lead (EWL) project, that aims to engage 120 women from across Baalbeck-Hermel area in the political life and brings them together under the EWL program

The project that included trainings on women’s rights, leadership, civic activism, local development, municipality law, and needs’ analysis was a good chance to raise the participants’ awareness about political participation. Moreover, its richness inpoliticalizing activities like meeting Mukhtars and municipality members helps increase women’s overall political participation and presence in the any future elections.

Subsequently, the participants started to break the traditional image of women’s absence in the political life. Moreover, their self-esteem was enhanced and their ability to be active in new fields of life was proved. The project has also secured room for the women to meet and share expertise as they come from different villages and backgrounds.

EWL that was designed to target 120 women was able to inspire more than 135 pioneer women in several occasions.

Surprisingly, EWL blossomed as early as seven months of its start. The program was very useful for me. It was my first time participating in such project,” said Ludi Habshi, one of the participants. “I decided to run for the May 2016 municipal elections,” she added. “Today, I am working on my electoralprogram, and I’m receiving all sorts of technical support from LOST and my colleagues. Ludi said, “My participation in EWL was a turning point in my life. It was only seven months that made me discover my political ability's.”

It is true that Ludi is the first ripe fruit of EWL, but it will not be the last. As long as LOST and GIZ are energizing women and backing them up, only future can tell how Ludi’s experience is going to be emulated by other women.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Big Thank You to LANA Staff

In appreciation of the success of distributing food supplies, the Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST) arranged a thank-you event for LANA (LabwehAinNabiOthman, and Arsal) staff on March 31, 2016 in LOST’s center in Ain village

The program director of “Nehna Ahl project gave a speech in which he expressed his gratitude to the team and how dedicated they were in carrying out the campaign. He shed light on the atmosphere of harmony and cooperation that encompassed each and every step in the work. It was also a chance to show appreciation for the effort paid by LANA women who had been packing the food supplies for days and days. 

More than 200 attendants, including activists, municipality members, and school principals expressed their support to the project which, according to them, is a pillar in defusing tensions in LANA area. 

The various projects and campaigns conducted by LOST cement in minds the idea that peace building in areas like LANA is more than possible; when there is will there is way.  

Sunday, April 3, 2016

UNICEF Youth Innovation Lab Workshop

Originating from a profound understanding of what beneficiaries need to successfully employ the skills learned through the “Learning and Skills Programs for Syrian Refugees and Lebanese Youth” program, which UNICEF and LOST are partners in, UNICEF has brought together partners, entrepreneurs, IT technicians, and web design experts on to launch anextraordinary Youth Innovation Lab workshop

As a follow up on this workshop, The Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST) invited the Director of Partnerships at FACTORY X, Ms. Eun-Joung Lee, to deliver a workshop in Baalbeck on startups on Thursday, March 24th, 2016The workshop included 30 participants among whom were LOST staff. Ms. Lee explained the “Rapid Prototyping Methodology” in which a prototype for any innovation may be done with simple tools during a short period of time. 

The workshop helps beneficiaries learn how to find solutions for sudden problems and make adjustments to suite clients’ demands. It is a way of learning not through discussion or debate but through testing products and receiving feedback from customers. The whole aim behind the workshop is to learn how toeffectively and innovatively put vocational and social entrepreneurship skills together.

This workshop aims to help people who acquire vocational skills open their own business and be creative in marketing their products. This goal is achieved via merging the acquired Vocational Orientation Skills with Social Entrepreneurship Skills.