The war with Israel in the summer of 2006 brought international attention to Lebanon.
It also devastated the country’s economy and infrastructure. Fortunately, several U.S. businesses stepped forward to help put the country back on the road to stability and growth.
The Partnership for Lebanon Fund was formed to raise funds through public-private partnerships and help Lebanon recover from the effects of the war. Several companies including Intel, Cisco and Occidental Petroleum, joined together to donate $1 million to support local and international non-governmental organizations in their relief efforts.
ANERA has received $250,000 to launch a recovery project in southern Lebanon that focuses on restoring the capacities of community-based organizations through education and vocational training, marketing and information technology initiatives to meet community needs and promote reconciliation and understanding.
ANERA’s program builds on its strong ties with established NGO partners: the Association for the Development of Rural Capacities (ADR); the Kamel Yousef Jaber Cultural and Social Center; the Association for Forests, Development, and Conservation (AFDC), and the YMCA of Lebanon. Using the strengths of this diverse group ANERA ensured donor funds directly benefit affected communities. The Tyre Center and the Jbaa Youth Center were just two impacted by the Partnership.
Dr. Craig Barrett, Intel’s CEO, visited Beirut in April 2007 to underscore that increasing Internet connectivity throughout the country as a means of developing greater capacities in health care, employment and education. “Teachers and kids were the first to make use of this technology, and in most cases it instantly transformed their lives and conditions in their communities.”
ADR uses its IT centers to offer vocational training courses in basic accounting and secretarial skills to young people in search of better employment opportunities. The centers also provide tailored courses in cell phone and computer repair so students can acquire specialized, marketable skills. Students range in age from 17 – 25 years, half of them women and all high school graduates. Young adults completing ADR’s training program often find work in the local community, earning income for themselves and their families.
ANERA also has partnered with the Kamal Yousef Jaber Cultural and Social Center to rehabilitate and equip three IT centers, including the Jbaa Youth Center, which is a multi-purpose activity center for community youth. The center’s activities include performing and visual arts (such as music and drawing for children), cosmetology training, and instructional IT courses for young adults.
ANERA and the Partnership for Lebanon Fund is helping communities across southern Lebanon take a small step on the road to improving vocational education in Lebanon and employment opportunities – and, ultimately, providing a brighter future for Lebanese youth and the country.