Vocational training, social and economic empowerment of cluster bomb affected communities project


 

As of the 2000 Israeli withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, UNDP commenced its program in the region by working with communities on the advancement of human, economic and social development. In partnership with the Council of Development and Reconstruction, the UNDP assisted the various villages of the districts of Bint Jbeil, Marjayoun, Tyre and Hasbaya on the rehabilitation of their communities affected by a long period of conflict and occupation. The work of the program focused on several areas of the economic and social development of local partners, targeting villages, cooperatives, municipalities and local authorities, youth, and the rehabilitation of the ex‐ detainees.

 

The program continued its support during the war of July 2006, and decided to extend its recovery and post conflict activities to include villages in the districts of Jezzine, Sidon and Nabatiyeh.

 

It is worth mentioning that one of the first challenges that confronted UNDP throughout its work in the region was the presence of a large number of mines and cluster bombs from previous conflicts with a large number of cluster bombs dropped at the final days of the 2006 war. That resulted in immense losses of lives, materials, properties and infrastructure in addition the psycho social effect particularly on children and youngsters. This situation led to a prompt intervention of the international community, the UN and international and local NGOs to urgently meet the needs of the affected communities and restore their livelihoods.

 

The Post demining socio economic rehabilitation program in South Lebanon project is funded by the Japanese government and targets 18 villages in the area of Nabatiyah, Jezzine and Sidon. The Japanese Government has proved to be an affective and prompt partner in support of UNDP and the communities’ recovery efforts of this region; the first support aimed at the Reintegration of Former Detainees, the second delivered repairs in water and sanitation facilities only weeks after the war to 110 villages, and now this project targets villages contaminated with cluster bombs.

 

In fact, this project is a joint project between UNDP and UNMACC‐ SL:

While UNMACC was in charge of demining areas and clearing land of unexploded ordnance; UNDP, in collaboration with institutions and NGOs operating in the region, directly implemented economic and social projects in villages contaminated with cluster bombs. Objectives were met through the creation of youth groups to support and motivate young people to participate effectively in community work; through the support of municipalities and agricultural cooperatives; in addition to the development of vocational trainings and capacity building workshops.

 

Hence, the cooperation with Jihad al‐Bina to implement the vocational trainings benefiting 195 trainees. In view of that, a certificate distribution ceremony took place on the 14th of January in The Merchant Hall of Nabatyeh to reward participants of vocational trainings. The certificate distribution was conducted by the UNDP program Manager Mr. Mohamad Mukalled, the economic attaché of the Japanese Embassy Mr. Hasunuma Yoshikazo, the Minister of Labor Mr. Mohamad Fnech, the general director of JBDA Mr. Kassem Ollaik, as well as the heads of municipalities. The nine months long training sessions included electrical networking, cooling and heating systems, electrical machine repairs and plumbing classes; these areas were chosen based on their demand in the labor market. The highlights of these trainings were clearly the application of the theory learnt by the apprentices inside the houses of vulnerable people whose houses were destroyed during the 2006 war; participants were transported by bus to helpless properties to arrange electrical and plumbing systems assisted by their coaches.

 

Moreover, a brochure detailing the names and contacts of participants along with the type of trainings attended were distributed all over the region, the outcomes of this brochure were already visible since many participants found jobs thank to this exposure.

 

Mr. Mohamad Sleiman who is originally a farmer decided to attended the electrical training; he mentioned that the difficult economic situation compel led him to have an additional profession to benefit from supplementary income. Similarly, Mr.Mahmoud Hadraj, who was afraid of loosing his job in mine clearance, participated in the vocational training and is seriously thinking about starting his own electrical business. He is pleased that the experience he gained through those trainings can also be applied in his own house and will decrease his family’s expenditures.

 

Such initiatives are crucial to the enhancement of participants’ skills to facilitate their access to the labor force, improve their livelihoods, and encourage the return of the displaced and Diaspora to their homelands.