AVSI in Lebanon
- Jounieh HQ Office Jean-Paul II Center, St.Fawka Str.
Jounieh, Libano |P.O.Box 92
Tel: +961 96 37 748
- Sin el Fil Office Boulevard Sin el Fi – Hitachi Center , 10th floor
Libano | Tel: +961 81 201 099
- Marjayoun Office Joseph Jelyan Building, Beirut Old Road, Klayaa
Marjayoun, Libano | Tel: + 961 78 35 761
- Zahle Office Samir Sader building, 2st floor
Ksara-Zahle, Libano | Tel: +961 81 317 952
We have been in Lebanon since 1996. We first came here to face the post-war socio-health emergency and start rehabilitation services in a Palestinian refugee camp, set in the Northern part of the country. We then promoted education for children attending public schools, and carried out actions to improve the agri-food system throughout the territory.
Our projects in Lebanon respond to the serious economic and social crisis that has been afflicting the country by granting access to education, training and job opportunities to refugees and to the Lebanese host community.
We cooperate with “La Libanaise”, one of AVSI Founding members.
Lebanon nowadays: an unprecedented crisis
The country is going through one of the worst financial crises in the world: over half the population needs assistance in meeting their basic needs, such as food. This, added to the crisis linked to the numerous arrivals of Syrian refugees caused by the conflict that began in March 2011, made it so that more and more people - Lebanese and refugees - suffer from food insecurity
The crisis. In 2019, an unprecedented financial crisis undermined the real economy and generated a very profound social crisis: around 82% of Lebanese people are currently living under the poverty line (source UN Economic Commission for Western Asia ECWA ). The living costs are unsustainable, basic services, as well as the institutions, are collapsing. Unemployment and inflation threaten the already fragile social cohesion.
The explosion at the Beirut port
On August 4, 2020, the explosion of a warehouse full of ammonium nitrate, which was abandoned in the Beirut port, caused one of the worst disasters ever in Lebanon: 218 casualties and thousands of injured people were counted and part of the city was destroyed. Yet another blow to the Lebanese economy which largely depends on seaborne imports.
AVSI responded to the emergency by restoring 300 residential units and shops, by supplying sanitary equipment through dispensaries and mental-health services, by delivering food parcels and hygiene kits as well as by supporting psychologically and socially those who underwent the explosion trauma, especially the youth and elderly.
In support of unemployed people due to the Lebanese crisis, the program of cash-for-work
In Lebanon, AVSI promotes cash-for-work interventions, which involve vulnerable people in community work in exchange for a decent salary to purchase goods or services.
By doing so, AVSI provides jobs in the agricultural and urban sectors for Lebanese people and refugees that are skilled or semi-skilled. The beneficiaries of this program are engaged in infrastructure maintenance (rehabilitation of channels, streets, retaining walls) and in managing community green areas.
These environmental actions, while providing an income for workers, also play an important role in strengthening social cohesion working together with the municipalities, among the last Lebanese institutions trying to fulfill citizens’ needs and to supply basic support services.
Interventions to fight food insecurity in Lebanon
Agriculture is a strategic resource for Lebanon: 25% of Lebanese people are employed in the agricultural sector. Agriculture is one of the major sources of income for the poorest people. Supporting agriculture with targeted interventions means contributing to the fight against poverty and to the sustainable development of the country.
- supports eight agricultural technical schools of the Ministry of Agriculture, by promoting the capacity building of the administrative staff, teachers and ministry technicians, the update of the TVET (technical and vocational education and training) curricula and the restoration of infrastructures (installation of solar panels and greenhouses). AVSI's actions have contributed to increasing applications;
- offers training programs in the agri-food sector, especially to women and young people;
- offers job opportunities through internships, apprenticeships, training programs based on entrepreneurship and scholarships for the creation of income-generating activities;
- supports start-ups, farmers and Lebanese cooperatives, through training opportunities on business management, technical assistance and in-kind contributions. The aim is to improve production and marketing.
In the southern part of Lebanon, a new hope after the 2006 war
In recent years, AVSI focused its activities in the southern part of Lebanon, especially in the Marjayoun Plain. Once one of the largest agricultural areas in the country, it was abandoned due to the war between Lebanon and Israel in 2006.
AVSI is the only international NGO permanently operating in the region, it is an important point of reference for local and international authorities, but especially for over 40,000 people.
At first, AVSI came to this area to carry out emergency aid interventions. Once the conflict ended, AVSI started development activities. For example, it promoted the creation of the Dardara cooperative that fosters peaceful cohabitation between Shia Muslims and Christians in the territory, thanks to shared management of water resources, the rehabilitation of 16 kilometers of irrigation channels and technical assistance. These activities helped the farmers living in the region feel hopeful again, so that they chosed to stay and not to migrate.
AVSI alongside Syrians in Lebanon
Since 2011, the conflict in Syria has resulted in a massive flow of refugees into Lebanon. Most of them still live in Informal Tent Settlements (ITS), non-recognized refugee camps.
These tent-cities are set in the agricultural regions, where it is easier to find a job, albeit casual and not well paid.
In the Marjayoun Plain, AVSI organizes professional training courses, and psycho-social activities for Syrian children and distributes essential goods (water, food, clothes).
How many refugees are there in Lebanon?
Lebanon does not adhere to the Geneva convention relating to the status of refugees, signed in 1951. It is estimated that 1.5 million Syrians reside in the country, in addition to around 400,000 Palestinian refugees and about 18,000 people from other countries.
Lebanon is the country hosting the largest number of refugees per capita and per square kilometer in the world: in 10,000 square kilometers, there are around 4 million Lebanese people, living together with over 2 million asylum seekers and displaced people.
Help for Lebanese and Syrian children
Thanks to projects funded by institutional donors (such as Back to the Future, supported by the European Union) and thanks to every private donor who sponsors a child, we promote the right to education in Lebanon.
We support Lebanese and Syrian girls and boys who never had the possibility to go to school or who could not continue their studies because of the war.
All educational programs are integrated with child protection, recreational, sports and cultural activities, and school recovery programs for children with special educational needs. AVSI has also been involved in the rehabilitation of public school buildings, to allow children to study in safe environments, equipped for their needs.
The Distance Support Program with AVSI in Lebanon
The Distance Support Program started in Lebanon in 1998. In 2022, thanks to the Italian supporters around 1,300 children and teenagers attended school (81.49% Lebanese and 18.51% Syrian) and participated to educational and professional programs or sport and recreational activities.
Children’s parents were involved too. Thanks to the Distance Support Program they were engaged in training or cash-for-work activities.
help a child grow up and thrive in Lebanon
- 27€ Monthly
- 312€ Yearly
FADAII: a home for AVSI designed by Mario Botta
Fadaii is a reception center built by AVSI in the Southern part of Lebanon, a place where the community can always witness what AVSI does, not only in relation to a project.
Thanks to the engagement of some private donors the internationally renowned architect Mario Botta gifted AVSI the project design of the structure: a center with three floors of 350 square meters.
AVSI “home” is set on a donated land in the village of Bourji El Moulok, in the Marjayoun Plain. The center, in addition to hosting the offices, aims to be a point of reference for the community and to provide a meeting place for the young, to offer psycho-pedagogical services for children and their families, literacy courses for women, professional training for farmers. A friendly space that shapes itself according to the community’s needs.