The Lebanese Organization of Studies and Training (LOST), in partnership with Global Affairs Canada (GAC) launched a project entitled, “Engaging Syrian and Lebanese Women in Social Stability”, which aims at reducing tension between Syrian and Lebanese women and men in 10 communities of Baalbeck-Hermel, namely: Baalbeck, Hermel, Ersal, Ein, Chaat, Brital, Bouday, Chmestar, Hawsh Rafika, and Bednayel.
In Baalbeck-Hermel, there is currently increased tension towards refugees, and refugees are looked upon in a negative perception. Citizens of Baalbeck-Hermel believe that refugees are straining their already deteriorating infrastructure, consuming their resources and services, and jeopardizing their security. For that reason, there is a vast need for a conflict-resolving initiative, to diffuse the boiling tension.
By inducing social cohesion in the 10 villages of Baalbeck-Hermel, this project aims at reducing tension between Syrian and Lebanese, through responding to community needs, and reducing roots of conflict that result from competition over resources between host communities and Syrian refugees. This initiative profits from the role of women in society as a more acceptable motivator of peace. Women are targeted because they have been the direct sufferers of conflict and conflict backlash in Lebanon. These women have been chosen based on the following criteria: socially active, politically moderate, influential and relatively educated, and committed. The project began in January 2017, and will run for 18 months; it will focus on reducing tension and promoting social cohesion, but will also promote the role of women as leaders in society.