Lebanon since late 2019 has been facing a critical political, financial and economic crisis that has been further exacerbated with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that reached Lebanon in February 2020. Beginning in October 2019, the deteriorating economic situation triggered a wave of civil protests nationwide against the Government, calling for profound social and economic reforms. Roadblocks and protests across the country coupled with lockdown measures to prevent the widespread of COVID-19 have rather limited mobility, which affected the outreach and the provision of some face-to-face/direct child protection services. Therefore, child protection services have been provided in remote modality in both periods, during the protest and COVID-19 lockdown.
Following the lockdown measures, all public and private schools as well as NGO education centers were closed in March 2020, similarly NGO’s and other service providers were also complying with government decisions. Schools closure and isolation measure regulations due to the pandemic increased the risk of violence at home including intimate partner violence with great impact on children who can be both witnesses and victims of violence. In addition, the economic deterioration lead to a considerable increase in negative coping mechanisms, such as child labour, and which triggered worsening conditions at work environment.
Unemployment and poverty rose exponentially, impacting both Lebanese and non-Lebanese communities. Since October 2019, 220,000 people have become unemployed either temporairly or permanently, inflation has been at 31.2% (Reuters, March 2020) with significant increases in basic commodity prices of basic commodities and reaching 89% by June 2020 (https://www.focus-economics.com/country-indicator/lebanon/inflation). The compounded crisis led to a substantial increase in the number of vulnerable populations in the country and their reliance on aid, assistance and basic services and leaving serious impacts on the future of millions of Lebanese and non-Lebanese children and their families. With the increasing challenges to access basic services, quality education, livelihood opportunities, children more than ever have become more at risk and exposed to various forms of violence, neglect, exploitation, abuse and distress.
To capture the rapid changes on the ground, in March 2020 the CP Sector has started to collect information in order to monitor the situation of children on a monthly basis and to generate real time monitoring reports, further complemented and tabulated with other information sources. Hence, the mid-year dashboard aims at generating a situational report on child protection concerns during the first semester of 2020 through compilation of data from four different sources: LCRP Child Protection Sector reporting platform (Activity Info), tracking of Himaya’s Hotline for the past 2 months, the Referral Information Management System (RIMS) developed by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and the Child Protection Real-Time Monitoring Reports developed jointly by UNICEF and the CP Sector.