It's Time for Thyme

By Ornella Najem, Communications Officer, UNDP Lebanon | Photo credit: UNDP Lebanon/ Rana Sweidan

May 18, 2021



“When the situation began deteriorating in Lebanon, I had three options: emigrate, give up, or regain control of my future by seeking potential gains. All I needed was a little support and I realized that I made the right decision to stay once I started witnessing results.”

Meet Rami, the recently graduated civil engineer and PhD student who found in the cultivation of thyme an alternative solution to overcome unemployment caused by the socioeconomic crisis and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. By using his management skills and creativity, he’s earning a livelihood while benefiting the community.

“From only one land to five now, we started small, and with UNDP’s support, we were able to expand and build a solid infrastructure” Rami said.  “This definitely encouraged us.”

UNDP, in partnership with Germany through KfW, is supporting 2,312 farmers across 113 villages in Lebanon in leading the path towards a sustainable and green economic recovery through cash-for-work to stimulate local markets, especially in rural areas, creating a ripple effect of benefits for vulnerable people across Lebanon. This comprehensive intervention has generated 250,000 worker days so far for more than 6,000 women and men working in the fields and in agro-food production.

“Together with 14 women and men, we are planting, harvesting, and preparing diverse ingredients of Zaatar mixes, such as the fruity mix and garlic mix, and delivering within Lebanon and abroad,” he added.


“We are earning an income preparing a variety of thyme mixes while enjoying the amazing fragrances around us.” - Gisele Bassil


By empowering youth like Rami, we nurture ambition during these challenging times in Lebanon to help build a strong social structure of active doers who are eager to grab the first opportunity and turn it into success.

“Let us work on our productivity and export to increase the influx of money and give back to our homeland,” he concluded.

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