Summary of Key Findings and Recommendations
• Between November 2020 and February 2021, RIMS saw an increase of 60% of referrals conducted through its platform across the whole of Lebanon. In February 2021, a total of 1,741 referrals were recorded, the highest number ever to be referred on RIMS within a one-month period, with most referrals to Basic Assistance, Protection and Health. This is an important indication of the magnitude of needs in Lebanon.
• The effectiveness of referrals during the January and February lockdown overall improved compared to the November and March-June lockdowns, particularly when it comes to the speed and timeliness of referrals as well as service provision as a result of referrals. Service providers have adapted to remote safe identification and referrals, and referrals have increasingly been made a priority in various coordination fora. However, some challenges remain and continue to hamper referral pathways and access to services.
• The January and February lockdown was the strictest lockdown since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Lebanon, with the adoption of a platform to request permission to move. This hampered not only service providers’ ability to maintain humanitarian activities, but also communities’ ability to move to access services. Supporting communities with using the IMPACT platform and closely collaborating with governmental authorities on this is essential.
• Remotely identifying people in need of services continues to be challenging, coupled with the expansion of needs, which makes it difficult for humanitarian actors to prioritise requests for services and cross-check information to ensure eligibility without face-to-face interactions. Continuing to abide by do-no-harm principles, ensuring inclusion of the most vulnerable in eligibility criteria, adopting alternative mechanisms to crosscheck information, and leveraging community volunteers in these efforts is essential to avoid exclusion errors and respect the safety, dignity and integrity of persons of concern.
• With increased reliance on hotlines and community focal points to communicate with communities, there are gaps when it comes to the overwhelming number of channels used for communication on services, the confusion over which channels should be used by communities to reach service providers, the lack of response of service providers on communities’ request for services, and the fact that it is unclear whether these channels are actually adapted and able to reach the most at-risk. Coordinated engagement with all communities is essential, in order to identify preferred channels for communication, disseminate information on available services in a coordinated and pro-active manner and measuring the impact of the information disseminated, which is particularly important during COVID-19 lockdowns, and strengthening the role of community focal points in linking humanitarian service providers with communities.