With the turmoil and instability that have been widely experienced throughout Lebanon for the past few years, and with the increase of life stressors on a daily basis, there is increasingly a crucial need to retain and preserve the ever-shrinking human rights and positive humanitarian practices space in Lebanon. Under the heavy burden of overlapping crises, the vulnerabilities of already suffering communities in Lebanon are exacerbated with no government-led capacities or resources to support these communities, increasing the pressure on the need for greater role and presence from local and international organizations in the country.
Most of the communities inside Lebanon are currently facing a number of insecurities in terms of safety, food security, and psychosocial needs, among many others. Tensions, violence, and protection risks have also been reported to be on the rise, exacerbated by prolonged isolation and lockdowns as a result of the pandemic, which is weighing on the psychosocial wellbeing of individuals. With this, women and girls are especially at a greater risk of domestic violence. It should be noted as well that cases of domestic violence and gendered crimes are very likely to be highly underreported.
Participating in the 16 Days of Activism Against GBV campaign aims at raising awareness to improve the legal framework and processes available for women and girls seeking protection. The campaign will highlight the importance of supporting individuals to become more knowledgeable about their rights, the protection processes and legal framework for gendered crimes, and having access to justice.
This would be accomplished through the following activities:
Activating our network of committees established in 20 informal tented settlements in the Bekaa Valley, composed of active representatives of their camps’ residents, to increase discussions and sessions aiming at increasing leadership roles of women in the camps and raising awareness against gendered crimes.
Creating an activities’ booth to reach out to the highest number of people in the community through engaging them in activities including trivia competitions
Gatherings, Morning Coffee activities that will encourage participants to discuss guided topics with a moderator/PSS worker
World Café technique camp activities to allow participants to discuss a selected topic from different perspectives
Increase awareness raising in the education centers through art competitions for the younger participants on related topics
Increase awareness through social media platforms
Feature stories of gendered crimes survivors (if suitable*)
Another important component in the campaign would be to place emphasis on the implementation of reporting procedures for cases of rights violations and gendered crimes, as well as SAWA’s Feedback and Complaints Mechanism which tracks reports of highly sensitive and urgent cases, including cases of sexual or child abuse. Information on how to report cases or get in touch with a focal point will also be shared in the awareness sessions. Reported cases will then be assessed and referred externally to specialized organizations.
This campaign naturally contributes to SAWA’s overall mission of providing holistic and integrated support to individuals, promoting knowledge sharing, and fostering networks of solidarity. SAWA’s main areas of work cover several sectors, including protection where we have developed efficient and creative methodologies and activities to address our communities’ protection needs. Within this perspective, we are running multiple protection programs in dedicated safe centers, providing Psycho-Social Support, Gender Based Violence mitigation, Child Protection, and Community Awareness sessions.
Our protection team, adept and well experienced in psycho-social first aid and supporting trauma affected communities, provided psycho-social support and counselling to affected individuals and families on the ground previously through several activities. With teams of psychologists and social workers drawn from our communities, SAWA developed efficient and creative methodologies and activities to address our communities’ protection needs. Within this perspective, we are running multiple protection programs in dedicated safe centers, providing Psycho-Social Support, Gender Based Violence mitigation, Child Protection, and Community Awareness sessions.
SAWA for Development & Aid is a civil society organization initially founded in December 2011 as a spontaneous response to the arrival of the first 40 Syrian families displaced from Syria into the North of Lebanon. This initiative has grown to include both local and international activists who worked together (SAWA in Arabic), united by their belief in Syrians’ right to live in dignity and freedom, and to be active individuals in their communities, and wherever they may be. In order to better support Syrians, from those internally displaced within Syria to Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, SAWA’s activists focused on sharing their knowledge and exchanging their experiences.
At SAWA, we see ourselves as part and parcel of society as a whole. We are on a continuous learning journey based on a participatory approach at all levels with our communities, whether host or displaced, as well as with local and international partners. We believe that humanitarian, development, and community-based work must always strive to promote social justice. To that end, SAWA aims to work with individuals and communities through holistic interventions towards a society based on democracy, pluralism, and values of citizenship and human rights.
Vision: Individuals supporting one another to build a just, civic, and democratic community
Mission: SAWA, “Together”, aims to provide holistic and integrated support to individuals, through sharing skills, knowledge, and resources; encouraging each other to self-organize to build strong and vocal communities; fostering networks of solidarity, and mobilizing for collective action at local and international levels.
Main Areas of Work:
Relief: Our relief team of dedicated field officers and volunteers work tirelessly to implement projects and provide individuals and families residing in more than 20 camps in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon with shelter, energy, food, and basic assistance.
Education: SAWA aims at providing a holistic education to children and young adults. Our programs aim to facilitate access into formal education and vocational training, promote well-being and a sense of personal identity.
Protection: With teams of psychologists and social workers drawn from our communities, SAWA developed efficient and creative methodologies and activities to address our communities’ protection needs. Within this perspective, we are running multiple protection programs in dedicated safe centers, providing Psycho-Social Support, Gender Based Violence mitigation, Child Protection, and Community Awareness sessions.
Livelihoods: Our livelihoods department was one of our early interventions when we started training the most vulnerable groups such as women and youth and developing their capacities to become active and productive citizens in their community. We worked with women in knitting, sewing, accessory design, and with the female and male youth, we designed unique projects to support them to generate income such as wood recycling and design workshops, organic agriculture, livestock farming, and others.
Our approach within the projects are holistic; in addition to the technical skills, we provide life skills, soft skills that can be utilized to run businesses and improve performance, psychosocial support, awareness sessions, and we provide raw material, workspaces, coaching and training, as well as connections with the local market.