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Empowering Women, Building trust

Empowering Women, Building trust
Lebanon has witnessed a mass influx of Syrians beginning with the Syrian crisis in March 2011, in search for shelter and work.
Mr. Fouad Mshawrab, Head of Baysariyeh Municipality states: “Our population has doubled, and we are affected at different levels.” Comparing to 1987 when the overall population of the village was around 7,000 people,
of which only 200 were Syrians, in 2014, the Baysariyeh village in South Lebanon, hosted more than 6,500 displaced Syrians.

In 1999, a group of women established a cooperative out of their homes. As their business expanded, so did their need for a larger workspace. Recognizing the potential UNDP and the Municipality of Baysariyeh, in 2007 jointly equipped the cooperative with new machines and workspace.

Moving to the new location (paying the mere rent of 550,000 Lebanese pounds per month) 12 women contributors and around 30 workers, half of whom are Syrians work alongside each other via exchanging experiences, cultural traditions and know-how.

The cooperative helps build trust and improve relations between displaced Syrians and local Lebanese inhabitants, while at the same time empowering women through making earnings and thus aiding in the financial support of their families.

While it is primarily geared towards meeting local demand, the long-term ambition is to export products to the global market. “Yummy” pumpkin and fig jam, Lebanese dried seasoning herbs, and other traditional Lebanese treats are produced at the cooperative.

UNDP projects continue to increase interventions in the South in response to needs of vulnerable host communities and achieving peaceful co-habitation between local Lebanese and displaced Syrians.