Tuesday, November 14th, 2017, the Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST) welcomed a German delegation at its main branch in Baalbeck, in the presence of Dr. Ramy Lakkis, founder of LOST. The delegation consisted of representatives from BMZ (German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development), GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), KfW (German government-owned development bank), and the German Embassy.
Dr. Ramy Lakkis initiated the meeting by providing a brief overview of LOST’s projects, and discussed the different sectors that these projects compliment in Baalbeck-Hermel. Dr. Lakkis emphasized that “local development is a decision that should not only be taken by the government, but by people as well”. He further explained that LOST aims to empower women and local authorities, in an effort to create a stronger bond between the two. Additionally, Dr. Lakkis indicated that the LEAD (Strengthening Women in Decision Making in the Middle East) program created capacity building on a community level, not just on an individual level, and emphasized that women participation in society is very critical.
Furthermore, Dr. Christiane Gaehtgens, program manager of GIZ indicated that it is critical for women to participate, and it is also essential to implement the law regarding the role of women, which already exists in Lebanon, but is not being implemented. Dr. Lakkis added that women participation can increase peace in society. At the end of the meeting, the participants from the EWL 2 (Empowering Women to Lead) project (funded by the German Foundation for International Cooperation, GIZ) had a chance to speak about the projects that were implemented in their villages, and their experiences in the EWL 2 project. One women from Chaat stated, “before participating in the EWL project, women would not even step foot in the municipality; however, after the project, women are now part of the municipality as consultants”. The fruitful visit ended with a presentation by Dr. Ramy Lakkis about the EWL 2 project that took place in Baalbeck-Hermel.