Improving Living Conditions in Palestinian Gatherings Host Communities 

Improving Living Conditions in Palestinian Gatherings Host Communities 



Palestinian Gatherings represent one of the most vulnerable and marginalized host communities in Lebanon. They represent informal refugee areas that do not have official camp status and do not fall under the mandate of official entities. Estimated 140,000 host and displaced Palestinian refugees live in dire conditions that have long existed in the gatherings, marked by poverty and inequality; lack of service provision; run-down physical environments; and limited access to jobs and income generation opportunities. This situation has been leading to increased tensions in the gatherings and with their surroundings, undermining stability and promoting relapse to conflict and risky behaviours. Active since 2012, the project seeks to strengthen stability in Palestinian gatherings through improving living conditions and building coordination mechanisms with local authorities. The project focuses on providing sustainable WASH services and facilities; promoting safer physical environments; supporting socio-economic empowerment; and supporting response to COVID-19. 


An estimated fifty-five municipalities in Lebanon host Palestine refugees living in informal Palestinian Gatherings. These already vulnerable Gatherings have also become the host communities to more refugees displaced from Syria. Given the lack of national and municipal frameworks to address needs in the Gatherings, the current economic crisis combined with the COVID19 pandemic represent an additional shock to the poor and vulnerable refugees who have no margin for mitigating the impacts on their lives and livelihoods. The crisis has amplified pre-existing problems in the Gatherings, including marginalization, poor living conditions, informal access to services, and lack of resources and jobs. 

UNDP has been the lead agency in support to Palestinian Gatherings, with focus on the underserved Gatherings and their host communities, through the following:

  1. Upgrading the built environment: Providing safer and more inclusive neighborhoods in Palestinian Gatherings, through:
  • Rehabilitation of the most precarious shelters to improve safety, health, and environmental conditions, which has significant impact on other aspects of Palestine refugees’ lives. 
  • Securing WASH services and networks, while investing in environmentally friendly economically viable solutions and durable governance mechanisms. 
  1. Socio-economic empowerment: Supporting refugees with focus on youth to improve their well-being and improve their income opportunities, through:
  • Supporting local NGOs extend their socio-economic programmes to the Gatherings.
  • Designing targeted programs that provide training, coaching and income generation support to youth.
  • Supporting local productive economic infrastructure (such as agricultural activities, local markets, tourism infrastructure) that provide jobs to both Lebanese and Palestinians refugees. 
  1. COVID-19 health response: Strengthening health structures in response to COVID-19, through:
  • Supporting health institutions that complement UNRWA’s health scheme in the Gatherings through expertise, training, recruitments, equipment and rehabilitation works.
  • Supporting local NGOs to provide local communities with tools to protect themselves, address positive cases and mitigate negative consequences on their wellbeing.

Major achievements

  • Access to basic urban services improved in 45 Gatherings and host communities
  • Environmentally sustainable solutions introduced to water supply and wastewater treatment including the use of solar energy and biological technology
  • Housing conditions improved to 3,000 refugee families
  • Local NGOs and CBOs supported to implement socio0ecinomi interventions in Palestinian Gatherings 

Project outcome

Strengthening the stability of refugee host communities in informal Palestinian Gatherings in Lebanon through improving living conditions.

GESI Component: 

The project ensures the active engagement of women as decision-makers as well as beneficiaries. women are engaged from the early stages of needs appraisal and prioritization of interventions, mainly through women and youth groups as well as local NGOs formed in the gatherings. During implementation, women groups are involved in following up on the projects, providing feedback and suggesting additional needs. Socio-economic interventions target women as a specific beneficiary group. Psychosocial support programs targeting children, youth, and caregivers address gender issues and aims to empower young women and women.