From Tension to Violence: Understanding and Preventing Violence between Refugees and Host Communities in Lebanon
The Governance and Community Action Programme (GCAP) aims to empower vulnerable municipalities and communities to mitigate conflict caused by resource tensions exacerbated by the Syrian refugee crisis. GCAP targets municipalities in the region of Miniyeh-Dannieh in North Lebanon as it is one of the most deprived localities, with a high ratio of Syrian refugees per Lebanese residents. Three of the six target municipalities have ratios over the national average of 33% Syrians, with Aassoun being the highest where half of the population is Syrian. Miniyeh-Dannieh is also important to target from a peace building perspective: the periodic Sunni-Alawi fighting in Tripoli frequently spills over into Miniyeh-Dannieh, with its mountains providing a safe haven for insurgents, giving the area a reputation for violence and terrorism across Lebanon.
The GCAP programme has two broad components. The first addresses inter-communal tensions and focuses on de-escalating disputes in order to avoid violence. GCAP's approach is to work with Lebanese and Syrian Community Representatives who: i) identify and design social service infrastructure projects together with municipalities; ii) design and implement broad community engagement events; and iii) utilize their mediation skills (acquired through trainings) to de-escalate disputes. Concurrently, the second component of GCAP focuses on strengthening the capacity of six target municipalities and the Union of Municipalities so that they are better able to identify and respond to local needs. As such, in order to increase the capacity of municipalities and the Union of Municipalities in addressing the most pressing needs of Lebanese and Syrian populations, and in playing an effective role in building social cohesion between them, the programme works to strengthen their financial and operational capacity, and improve coordination and information sharing processes across local government.