What about the new UNICEF project to nurture children in Lebanon?

Lebanese and Syrian children learning side by side in Lebanon
UN-HABITAT's projects highlight the need for support and nurture children, including their health, education, nutrition and child protection services in Lebanon. © UN

Children’s need must come first. In a development which supports and nurture children, including their health, education, nutrition and child protection services, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) along with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched a national project called Neighbourhood Profiles in Lebanon.

The project is aimed at assessing the vulnerabilities of most disadvantaged areas in the country in order to create a national database of comparable data for evaluation, monitoring and programming purposes.

To this end, a conference was held in Tripoli, where profiles for Lebanon’s neighbourhoods such as El-Qobbeh, Bab el-Tabbaneh, and Jabal Mohsen were introduced. This conference which nurture children supported more than 1 million girls, boys, adolescents and young people across Lebanon in 2018 by providing them nutrition, health, education and child protection services.

The project, which was funded by the US Government, Swiss Federal Council and the UN Trust Fund, will build a Lebanese national database to understand and assess the vulnerabilities of its citizens in an urban setting.

Thanks to the creation of these profiles, Lebanon will gain a solid foundation for mitigating immediate needs as well as for gaining strategic insights for further planning and investments which will help support and nurture children at the local grass root level.

The project has helped provide child protection services to 6,500 children which includes specialized psychological support; it has also provided access to more than 18,500 girls and women to mobile and static safe spaces. The project’s child-focused social assistance programme has reached more than 50,000 children and has provided them with winter clothes. The project also saw cash-transfers to refugee children in informal settlements.

“These neighbourhood profiles are amongst a national series conducted jointly by UN-Habitat and UNICEF,” said Tanya Chapuisat, UNICEF Representative to Lebanon. With reference to the project which nurture children she went on to add, “Organizationally, profiles can serve as a framework for area-based, coordinated actions between partners to the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP), United Nations Strategic Framework (UNSF), and local authorities to improve the response in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in complex urban settings”.

The initiative got a warm wholehearted response from the mayor of Tripoli, Mr. Ahmed Qamar al-Din, who stated, “We are pleased as a local authority to highlight the needs and opportunities in our region, which can be based on evidence, and we look forward to using these files to improve cooperation internally, and with our partners, to address specific challenges, and alleviating the needs of the marginalized population.”

The neighbourhood profiles, created in order to nurture children, especially their health and living conditions, has mapped more than 30 disadvantaged areas in Lebanon covering multiple sectors and issues, including governance; education; safety and security; buildings and housing; population; health; child protection; local economy and livelihoods; youth; basic urban services; and access and open spaces.

“Every child deserves a fair chance in life”, said Chapuisat. “By achieving real results and real progress for the most vulnerable girls and boys, we all are showing that progress is possible when we join efforts. UNICEF results in 2018 were feasible thanks to 22 donors from all over the world, and 84 partners that we support in Lebanon who deliver tangible results for children. However, much more needs to be done to reach every vulnerable child, and we count on our donors to continue making children and young people safer today and better off tomorrow”.

All the children and young people reached by UNICEF supported programmes in Lebanon are either Lebanese, Syrian or Palestinian. UNICEF continues to cater to this vulnerable segment in order to nurture children in 2019, making it the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Such programs will need to be further supported since far too many childhoods are cutshort when children are subject to exploitation, discrimination, conflict and violence which rob them of their precious childhood. In 2019 we have a chance to increase and amplify this action for the betterment of children. UNICEF is determined to make the most of this opportunity so as to further accelerate the development and implementation of children’s such that the right of every child, is fulfilled, not only now but for future generations as well.

Children’s need must come first. Always.