Lack of job opportunities and developmental services are one of the most important aspects that Baalbeck-Hermel suffers from for a long time. Many in Baalbeck-Hermel are very vulnerable and live in poor conditions. This situation applies to both Lebanese and Syrian refugees. The Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST) tries to provide as much help as possible to the most vulnerable. That is why it launched the “Food for Assets” (F.F.A.) program in Baalbeck-Hermel, that is funded by the World Food Programme (WFP), on June 1st 2017.
The project aims at increasing the livelihood and resilience levels of people in Baalbeck-Hermel through support of the agriculture sector. Agriculture in Baalback-Hermel is the backbone of the economy; therefore, it is very essential to support it continuously. The project targets three areas in agriculture: irrigation canals, drainage canals, and forestation. In the F.F.A program, new segments of concrete canals to replace the existing dirt canals were added to increase the water supply to agricultural areas and homes, while maintaining the existing network of canals. 6,000 m of canals will be built in Bouday, Ein, and Fakiha. Also, the F.F.A project aims to build 1,200 m of concrete drainage canals that are linked to Ras El Ein River in Baalbeck, which feeds the entire orchard area. In addition, more than 11,000 trees will be planted in more than 45,000 of lands in Baalbeck, Iaat, and Douris. Pine reforestation will create green spaces and natural wind breakers to protect the local farms.
On the other hand, the project provides job opportunities for 500 Lebanese and Syrian participants who are vulnerable for the duration of 6 months. They will benefit from the monthly salary they receive that will contribute to their short-term food security. At the same time, the participants will gain experience from this project, allowing them to find jobs when the project ends.
WFP, LOST, and the municipalities of the mentioned cities and villages coordinated well together in the planning and launching of the project. This project will run for 6 months, and will have a great impact on the area, which will last longer than the project’s duration. Supporting agriculture in the area of Baalback-Hermel will benefit the economy and increase the livelihood and food security of the population, because of its great dependence on this sector.