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Community-Based Organizations Respond to Crises in Lebanon

On 4 August 2020, a series of explosions in Beirut Port caused an estimated 181 deaths, contributed to at least 6,000 injuries, and displaced an estimated 300,000 people in the Lebanese capital. The World Health Organization estimates than more than 80 primary health centers were severely damaged by the blasts. Within 5 kilometers of the blasts, less than 50 percent of health facilities were able to provide the full package of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, according to a UNFPA assessment of 55 primary healthcare sites (UNFPA). The explosion compounds and deepens existing crises in Lebanon that impact women’s access to SRH services, including economic instability, food insecurity, the COVID-19 pandemic, and a population of nearly 1 million displaced persons (UNHCR).

IAWG and its members recognize that community-based organizations have been at the forefront of responding to these crises in Lebanon, which will be amplified in the September 2020 edition of IAWG Insider. We aim to echo solidarity with Lebanon and spotlight community-led work by:

  1. Re-publishing our spotlight of the Lebanon Family Planning Association for Development and Family Empowerment, originally featured in the September 2019 edition of IAWG Insider
  2. Highlighting community-based organizations that organize emergency relief and/or sexual and reproductive programming
  3. Sharing response statements from IAWG members

Our first edition of IAWG Insider in September 2019 spotlighted the Lebanon Family Planning Association for Development and Family Empowerment (LFPADE), which provides essential sexual and reproductive health care at 28 clinical sites throughout Lebanon. The SRH services that LFPADE offer to displaced populations within Lebanon remain as crucial as ever.

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Brief Catalogue of CBOs Focused on SRH Services

ABAAD, Resource Center for Gender Equality, aims to achieve gender equality as an essential condition to sustainable social and economic development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Arab Institute for Women at the Lebanese American University advances women’s empowerment and gender equality through research, education, development programs, and outreach.

Basmeh and Zeitooneh (B&Z) develops and runs community centers for Syrian refugees in camp and urban settings in Lebanon, Turkey, and Kurdistan, and empowers Syrians in exile to be able to live lives of dignity.

Collective for Research and Training on Development Action (CRTDA) seeks to contribute to citizenship, social justice, and gender equality, including the right of Lebanese women to enjoy their full citizenship, through transmitting their Lebanese nationality to their children and spouses.

Frontiers Ruwad (FR) aims to enhance human rights embodied in the International Bill of Rights and in the Lebanese Constitution on both the individual and collective levels and currently has two main operating programs: migration and statelessness. FR also works with the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights in the fight for gender-equal nationality rights.

Himaya is a specialized NGO in the child protection sector, working to prevent violence against children and offer the support needed for abused children on a psychosocial and legal level, eventually allowing them to be reintegrated as productive and active members of society.

KAFA’s Anti-trafficking and Exploitation Unit works to build public opinion against trafficking and exploitation of two groups of women vulnerable to these forms of violence: women migrant domestic workers and women in prostitution.

Lebanese Association for Self-Advocacy (LASA) is run by and for persons with intellectual disabilities; its members are dedicated to raising awareness about the rights of persons with disabilities in Lebanon, including the rights of Iraqi and Syrian refugees who are living in Beirut. LASA self-advocates have designed and delivered trainings for refugees with disabilities and their families, and strengthened protective peer networks to reduce gender-based violence risks.

The Lebanese Women Democratic Gathering (RDFL) is an advocacy and service-based organization that calls for the equality of Lebanese women and, in particular, offers programming and opportunities targeted at eliminating gender-based violence. The NGO also runs a robust food delivery programming for in-need families.

Lebanon Family Planning Association for Development and Family Empowerment (LFPADE) operates a series of clinics that, for more than 50 years, have provided reproductive health (RH) services for adolescent and adult women and men throughout Lebanon, including survivors of displacement.

Marsa Sexual Health Center is a Beirut-based sexual health clinic that aims to provide stigma-free care, including pap smears, HIV testing, and counseling.

Mosaic, the MENA Organization for Services, Advocacy, Integration, and Capacity Building, is a holistic program committed to improving the health and wellness of marginalized groups. It provides comprehensive services for marginalized groups, researches and advocates for policy reform, builds knowledge and capacities on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) issues, and engages communities in the fight against human rights violations.

SHEILD Social, Humanitarian, Economical Intervention for Local Development is a local, national humanitarian nongovernmental association that promotes economic development by supporting livelihood and capacity building of marginalized community groups, with women and children as the main focus.

Women Now for Development focuses on empowering Syrian women displaced in Lebanon. The organization provides empowerment programming these refugee women, operates as a research hub, and engages in advocacy insisting on respecting the full rights of refugee women in Lebanon.

Statements from IAWG Members