World Vision began its operations in Lebanon in 1975, providing shelter, food and medication to children and their communities during the Civil War. It did not have a formal setting or center to operate from at the time and kept on helping downtrodden segments of the society until the early eighties when it finally assumed an institutional character and partnered with orphanages and schools.
World Vision Lebanon has 201 staff members who help implement the organization’s programs in cooperation with local entities. The organization reaches out to 18 sites across Lebanon. It has so far served 293,000 people and 150,000 children through its development programs and 21,100 children through care and welfare programs. In 2013, World Vision spent USD 31,336,032 on child-centered activities and programs.
In cooperation with local communities and civil society, World Vision researches marginalized areas to identify and assess their needs, before tailoring an adequate 15-year action plan that best fits development objectives in all sectors. Its work with child-related affairs allowed World Vision to tap into varied fields such as agriculture, skill development and training, education and health. When the An-Nahr Al-Kabir flooded over Akkar plains submerging many neighboring villages, World Vision intervened to compensate farmers, coffee shop owners and restaurants for their loss.
Programs and services
World Vision programs are catered to the varied needs of disadvantaged children and communities across different sectors. The organization spent USD 1,018,340 to help 9117 people benefit from its Education and Life Skills Program. Another USD 659,981 was allocated for the Health and Food Program, which served 5361 children. This program raised the national rates of breastfeeding from 16% in 2010 to 27% in 2013 and the number of baby-friendly hospitals from 18 to 28. The Advocacy Program raised policy reform recommendations that covered an elaborate legal analysis of the conditions of children of ‘unknown nationality’ (maktumi al-qayd) and the impact of refugee influx on host communities. This program cost USD 441,369 in 2013.
Knowing Lebanon’s vulnerability to conflict and perturbations, World Vision launched a Peace Building Program engaging 10,500 children in peace-building activities and camps. Participants in the Economic Development Program were trained on individual skills and given micro-loans to become part of the labor market such as the popular market inside Al-Buss Palestinian camp in Tyre. The refugee crisis entailed an urgent humanitarian response from World Vision, which carried out water, hygiene and sanitary projects for about 16,000 Syrian refugees in the camps of Beqa’a and the South and offered food vouchers to 136,000 beneficiaries. The cost of this urgent assistance rose to USD 23,084,170.
World Vision’s Children’s Council brought together children from different Lebanese regions to raise their awareness about their rights and responsibilities. Children were given the opportunity to write recommendations on the problems and challenges facing the Lebanese children based on their own experiences and to file it to the UN.
Other programs included irrigation and waste water recycling projects in Bsharri, Saida and Bint Jbeil, training ISF personnel and journalists on ways to fight and report child labor as well as sustainable agricultural activities including the promotion of organic farming, an apple juice factory in Bsharri and a facility to process products in Roumieh.
Currently, World Vision is engaged in development projects in the Qada’as of Marjeyoun, Bint Jbeil, Tyre, Western Beqa’a, Zahle, Central Beqa’a, Bsharri and Akkar, in addition to its regular assistance to Syrian and Palestinian refugees. It provides child-friendly spaces and entertainment activities for children both in Beqa’a and South Lebanon, as well as education courses covering reading and Maths. In-kind food donations, detergents and fuel and food vouchers have been distributed to 65,519 households.
Security unrest comes foremost among the challenges hampering World Vision’s execution of its functions because it restricts the movements of its team and minimizes its outreach.