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Lebanon is currently facing its worst economic and financial crisis. The country has considerably struggled with reduced economic growth, structural constraints, and the high influx of Syrian refugees since 2011. In October 2019, a profound political and economic crisis erupted. The explosion in the port of Beirut in August 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic worsened the already dire economic landscape and led to surging unemployment and poverty rates. It is estimated that 78% of the overall Lebanese population now lives in poverty while 89% of the Syrian refugees live in extreme poverty.
One in three Lebanese is jobless and has no source of income. As a result, the financial resources of families, especially the most vulnerable, are becoming insufficient to afford quality training and education for their youth that could qualify them in a highly competitive job market. Thus, the number of youth not attending education, training or employment is expected to increase significantly. Meanwhile, employers struggle to reate new jobs or practical training opportunities especially for young people. Worryingly, competition over jobs also remains the most-citedtension factor in Lebanese-Syrian relations.
The project aims to promote the livelihoods and socio-economic empowerment of 900 vulnerable Syrian refugee and Lebanese youth (thereof 50% women) by addressing some of the key constraints in youth employment in Lebanon. In this way, the project aims to enhance the self-reliance of vulnerable youth in the long-term.
Through a targeted youth empowerment model, the project will assist young Syrian refugees and Lebanese in managing the transition to either employment or self-employment to stabilize household-level income and increase self -reliance. On the labour supply side, youth will be systematically supported through a tailored package of life skills training, technical and business capacity building, financial micro-business startup support, sponsored internships, and regular coaching. A Livelihood Development Plan for each participant will identify key goals and milestones as well as a timeline for the different assistance steps.
On the labour demand side, financial and strategic support will be offered to employers providing internships to youths through a direct assistance package including technical advice and in-kind support, such as work equipment. In this way, the project integrates activities that are oriented towards both the labour supply and demand side to act as a catalyst in facilitating socio- conomic youth empowerment.
The project will focus on three pre-identified employment areas which will be verified through an in-depth assessment at project start:
The project is situated in the thematic area of income and has been designed based on learnings from previous livelihood interventions. The project aims to test and verify the proposed youth empowerment model and therefore specifically focuses on the creation and dissemination of learnings to ensure that best practices are documented and shared with other actors in Lebanon, allowing for a replication of the model.