Lebanon + 1 more

Lebanon: Inter-Sectoral Monthly Update January 2016

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Situation Report
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1 Protection (Child Protection / SGBV)

The Protection sector started implementation of the 2016 LCRP with focus on the following priority areas: Access to justice, civil status documentation, including awareness-raising session and individual legal counseling and assistance. In January 422 Syrian nationals were individually counseled on residency procedures and 1053 Syrians on birth registration. During counseling sessions on birth registration, parents are informed about the procedures and assisted in obtaining necessary documentation for their newborn children.

With a refugee population scattered across 1,700 localities, empowering communities to address their own protection concerns allow those with difficulties, including those more isolated or with limited access to information to reach services. The sector supported self-managed community structures, such as youth’s or women’s groups, refugees outreach volunteers and other initiatives to empower Lebanese and Syrians to solve protection issues affecting their community and re-establish social and community networks for the most vulnerable individuals. Activities organized in MOSA’s Social Development Centers and Community Development Centers created for 750 Syrians and Lebanese a space to socialize and alleviate the stress and frustration due to prolonged displacement and isolation through learning and psychosocial support. Additionally, participants to activities in these centers can benefit from referral to specialized protection services - such as psychosocial support, counseling, legal aid, and one-off emergency cash assistance.

As the most commonly reported types of violence, both through the Gender Based Violence Information Management System and in protection assessments, remain physical violence mainly linked to violence within the family or home, sexual violence (rape and physical assault), as well as forced marriage, the sector continued to focus on strengthening the capacity to provide adequate services for children and SGBV victims of violence and abuse. In January more than 5,000 women, girls and boys, who were at risk or survivors of violence participated in psychosocial support activities designed and led by women and girls including handcraft, cooking, make up, and drama, which provided opportunities for social workers opportunities to engage them on women’s rights, and peer-to-peer emotional support. In particular, survivors of violence whose lives and well-being were at imminent risk were given shelter in one of the three 24/7 centres available in Lebanon, along with their children, in January 2016.

2 Health

A number of Lebanese and Syrian Refugee children under five years of age residing in 199 different localities across the country received a dose of oral polio vaccine this month. The vaccine was provided free of charge as part of a first round of a polio mop-up vaccination campaign, targeting a total of 136,253 children. The second round of the campaign is planned for February 22 -27.  MoPH launched the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) project supported by the World Bank as well as a PHC awareness campaign entitled ”Your Health is not a game”. MoPH also announced the accreditation results of centers that have achieved the survey with Accreditation Canada.  Starting in January, Palestine Refugees in Lebanon will have to contribute to the cost of secondary health care (previously covered at 100%); a co-payment of 5% of hospitalization fees will be required in Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) hospitals, compared to a 15% co-payment in government hospitals and a 20% co-payment in private hospitals.  In January, LCRP partners were able to provide a total of 111,858 primary health care consultations to Syrian refugees, vulnerable Lebanese, PRL and PRS across the country. With regards to secondary health care, a total of 5,416 individuals (Syrian refugees & PRS) were assisted with their hospital bills. 99% of those cases supported required life-saving or obstetric care.

3 Education

Based on the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) pilot implemented in 2015, MEHE launched an ALP, funded by UNICEF, targeting nine to 17 years old children who dropped out from school for two years or more in order to prepare them to enroll into formal education. The programme will be implemented over three cycles per year (February, June and September) and each cycle is a three months programme. Local and international NGOs mobilized their resources and reached out to the communities to inform the parents about the programme and get as many children as possible to schools.  Transitional pathways into the formal education were developed by the Project Management Unit (PMU) at MEHE to facilitate the transition of children from ALP into the public education system based on their educational levels. Placement tests to assess the level of competency of the child were prepared by the Center for Educational Research and Development CERD (MEHE's body mandated with the development of the curriculum and the improvement of the quality of education) and two rounds for the pre-placement tests were conducted on the 24th and 31st of January.  The first round of the programme is expected to roll out in February in 37 schools across the country targeting a total of 9.000 children. Focal points from NGOs referred and transported children to schools to ensure they were on time and had the opportunity to sit for the exams. NGO volunteers were assigned in ALP schools and were present on the day of the placement tests to provide assistance to the school directors and the school management with the registration of children and the data management and ensure the smooth division of children in classrooms.  From 27 – 29 January, the Regional UNESCO Office in Beirut organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) an international ‘’Meeting of Experts Towards a Policy Framework for Securing the Recognition, Regularization, and Certification of Non-Formal Education’’. The aim of the meeting was to create synergies between formal and non-formal settings in the Arab Region. Within this framework, UNESCO has initiated dialogue with several governments in the region to help advance an ambitious initiative for developing Regional and National Policy frameworks on the regularization and recognition of Non-Formal Education.

4 Basic Assistance

 Analysis of the sector targets and partners appeals shows that (1) the sector partners are shifting their resources towards increased cash based interventions; and (2) a target of 16,000 extreme poor Lebanese was prioritized to receive cash assistance, a major programmatic development compared to 2015. Currently, the sector is engaging in an exercise to redistribute planned partners interventions across the country to minimize coverage gaps. Overall, 24 partners expressed interest to implement Multi-Purpose Cash (MPC) activities throughout 2016. Of those, around 10 currently distribute cash grants (out of which 6 are members of the Lebanese Cash Consortium) to vulnerable Syrian households. While all expressions of interests are subject to funding, agencies with secured resources are including families in assistance schemes on a monthly basis. On average, 2000 families are currently being included every month – as of November 2015.  The revision of the Survival and Minimum Expenditure Basket process started earlier in January 2016. Within the interagency framework, an advisory committee led by the Lebanon Cash Consortium, is currently collecting evidence and designing the methodology on how to update the content of the basket. The final product is expected towards end of April / May 2016. Expenditure patterns of families have changed depending on their worsening situation, reflected by a significant change in the main components of the basket. Since the expenditure baskets determine the amount of assistance package a refugee family receives, redesigning becomes a necessity for an effective targeting of needs.  As winter draws to a close, more than 190,000 vulnerable and exposed to cold households continue to receive assistance through cash, in-kind, and shelter weatherproofing activities all over the country. Moreover, nearly 36,000 households received multi-purpose cash assistance as of the end of December 2015. The sector will continue to scale up cash assistance to increase the coverage of vulnerable families to the extent possible throughout 2016.

5 Food security

Partners are currently implanting targeted programmes which enhance direct access to food for the most vulnerable, combined with activities promoting dietary diversity, sustainable agriculture and rural livelihoods. A combination of direct food assistance responding to immediate short-term humanitarian needs, with sustainable food production and improved agricultural livelihood activities are being provided.  In 2015, a maximum of 970,000 persons (March 2015) were reached with food assistance through various modalities (such as vouchers/cash/in-kind). However, due to funding constraints, a fluctuation in the value of the e-card assistance between 50% and 80% of the intended $27 value was experienced in 2015. Beneficiaries assisted include 757,000 displaced Syrians, reached on a monthly basis through e-cards (99%) and vouchers. In addition, almost all Palestine refugees from Syria were provided with food assistance through ATM cards and vouchers reaching up to 43,620 individuals.  Vulnerable Lebanese were supported by the National Poverty Targeting Programme, reaching 27,208 individuals monthly. In addition, in-kind food parcels and hot meals were provided to complement the food assistance reaching more than 80,000 individuals every month from all population groups including Palestine refugees in Lebanon. Around 400 Lebanese returnee families received food production (seeds and tools and bread making kits) and preservation tools.

6 Shelter

The winter weather conditions did not cause severe damages to substandard shelters in the informal settlements (IS). Shelter partners, who conducted assessments, helped in a smaller number of cases. MoSA distributed some of their heavy duty plastic sheets. These weather events also indicated in which IS more improvements were necessary to ensure drainage and avoid flooding.  Almost all families in the IS have been supported with weatherproofing activities, often combined – especially in higher, colder and snow prone areas –with unconditional cash support to cover winter needs (fuel, cloths). With assessments and trainings completed, new UNHCR kits to improve shelter insulation are ready to be distributed and installed.  The shelter partners coordinated their targets for 2016, especially in the Bekaa and the North, where the two field areas of Akkar and T+5 merged to one. The partners check household information provided by RAIS to better focus on the severely and highly vulnerable. The partners now exchange their experience in Temporary Technical Committees on Site Improvement, on Cash for Rent, on Neighborhood Upgrading and on rehabilitation of substandard buildings, including aspects of tenure security which are linked to the lease agreements.

7 Energy and Water

The Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW) convened the sector partners to a meeting where guidelines for new projects approval were provided. Agencies were requested to coordinate with the MoEW before agreeing with the water establishments on any project. They are requested to express their interest in a specific area of intervention and a specific output, after which the MoEW will propose the project to them and then the agency would proceed in its assessment of requirements, etc.  Discussions on the coordination structure and on the sector work plan are in course with MoEW and the Ministry of Environment (MoE). The MoE requires having a separate platform dedicated to the environment component of the sector. The North and Akkar working groups are now merged in one.  Under the MoEW’s leadership, with the aim of providing a sustainable alternative to water trucking, hydrogeological studies will be conducted to identify locations of wells to be drilled to ensure a dedicated source of water to the refugees living in ISs. Areas where the refugees are present in high numbers will be targeted to begin with. In addition, a comprehensive WASH assessment aimed at determining needs and WASH vulnerability at informal settlements will take place to design and target tailored WASH services to refugees.  UN Habitat launched a policy paper on solid waste management, in parallel; AUB published a guide to Municipal Solid Waste Management and MoE is in course of preparing a municipal guide on Environmental Management for Municipalities. This would put more emphasis on the enforcement of environmental laws and guidelines by municipalities.

8 Livelihood

The start of 2016 confirmed the trend observed towards the end of 2015 of gradual increase of the scope and number of livelihoods interventions. The field livelihoods working groups identified a total of 72 interventions by 25 partners throughout the country, despite a much smaller number of active partners in the South of Lebanon. Encouragingly, the current set of interventions also includes work in the area of support to small businesses and cooperatives, infrastructure rehabilitation, market construction, and value chain development, which were all crucially lacking throughout 2015.  The information and analysis gap that is hampering the sector’s strategic planning is also starting to be addressed, with important national labour force survey and child labour assessment ongoing. OXFAM and AUB already released a study this month on poverty, inequality and social protection in Lebanon, confirming the particularly high vulnerability of refugee and women-headed households when it comes to poverty, and pointing out the concentration of poor households in the informal sector where they are even more vulnerable to external shocks. The sector is aiming at addressing this situation next year by putting an increased focus on the issue of decent work, notably through increase engagement with the Ministry of Labour and the Lebanese social protection system.

9 Social Stability

This year, 19 Partners have ongoing social stability programmes throughout Lebanon, implementing over 50 interventions across Lebanon. The ongoing interventions primarily relate to strengthening the capacities of municipalities to respond to the impact of the crisis on local communities, and to setting up dialogue committees to defuse tensions between communities. In parallel, over 50 tangible projects, totaling over USD 5 million, are under implementation to alleviate resource pressure and address priority issues identified as potential source of tensions in targeted communities. South and Mount Lebanon areas remain however less covered by partners. The Ministry of Social Affairs is also preparing for a third round of local participatory planning processes ‘Maps of Risks and Resources’ to be conducted in 131 municipalities most impacted by the crisis in terms of demographic pressures on local services and resources. This process, to be concluded within a couple of month, will help identify new priority interventions in these locations.  In order to support the work of partners, the sector’s core group has selected four priority issues for the working group to address in 2016: (1) fostering linkages between conflict mitigation mechanisms and other community structures, (2) document lessons learnt and best practices of the past two years of programming, (3) strengthen and harmonize impact evaluation of programmes and (4) support other sectors and partners on conflict sensitive programming.