After the 2005 assassination of Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, Lebanon began grappling with political deadlock, increasing polarization, and issues in security. USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives in 2007 launched the Lebanon Civic Initiative, implemented by Chemonics. The project used a range of grant-making approaches, and fast and flexible grant systems that enabled the project to support a variety of local activities and organizations and to respond quickly to emerging windows of opportunity in Lebanon.
The project supported local organizations in conflict resolution and dialogue at the community-level. Local activities funded by project grants helped create a national culture of peace and a strengthened civil society, which is essential to overcoming social, political, or religious challenges. The project supported activities such as community participation in shared decision-making, consensus-building around community problems, fostering community development, preserving and strengthening civil peace, and promoting national solidarity.
In one example, young activists from diverse backgrounds took messages of peace across Lebanon in a “peace bus” tour commemorating the Civil War and anniversary of the May 2008 clashes between pro-government parties and the opposition. For a month, the bus served as home to a dynamic crew of youth activists, journalists, cameramen, and storytellers, brought together by local arts nongovernmental organization Zico House. Symbolizing the bus that sparked the start of the war in 1975, the bus made 34 stops to mark the 34 years since the end of the war. The high-profile tour was an opportunity for 32 nongovernmental organizations across Lebanon to highlight their work and share lessons learned.
- 143 grantees were awarded to 115 organizations.
- Increased awareness of 2,050 youth from Lebanon’s 24 districts of the consequences of war and violence and fostered debate among youth from different sectarian backgrounds on the dangers of political radicalization.
- Created 13 independent media outlets that provide a platform for youth to voice their concerns and ideas
Project Duration: 2007 - 2010