Sports For Peace Ii
North Lebanon, which was already one of the poorest areas of the country before the crisis, is hosting about one third of the million refugees from Syria. Several recent socio-economic studies have shown that social cohesion in the communities of North Lebanon has been deeply affected by the Syrian crisis.
ANERA’s recent assessment of youth needs (to be published soon) has indicated that youth from both Lebanese and Syrian communities are among the main victims of the ongoing crisis, and are increasingly resorting to violent and intolerant conducts. The Syrian conflict and subsequent displacement to Lebanon has destroyed the youth’s safe environment. As a consequence of the dire economic situation of their families, Syrian youth share the families’ burden of meeting basic needs for survival. Many Syrian youth reported dropping out of school to work and support their families, a factor that leads to higher competition with locals in the labor market. With the continuous influx of over one million refugees from Syria, the resilience of host communities is stretched to the limit, and Lebanese youth resent refugees for the deterioration of their living conditions.
Youth however, can make significant difference in the society, even and especially, during humanitarian emergencies. In spite of a pervasive feeling of anxiety, youth in North Lebanon showed a willingness to address these issues and improve relations with those of other communities. Having worked with youth in North Lebanon since 2010, ANERA has seen that youth from both refugee and host communities, when given the tools to become meaningful actors of change, can transform existing dynamics of violence and alienation.
Based on the success of ANERA’s pilot project funded by OTI in 2013 “Sports For Peace,” ANERA is expanding this model to other conflict-prone areas in North Lebanon.