BEIRUT: Le Royal Hotel hosted a conference on March 13, 2019, where USAID Mission Director Dr. Anne Patterson introduced the organization’s newest assistance project in Lebanon, the Community Support Program (CSP).
More than 100 people attended the event including U.S. Embassy officials, a number of governors and mayors, representatives from the Ministries of Interior and Water and Energy, Lebanon’s water establishments, international donors, as well as local and international development groups.
“We are looking forward to seeing the results of our cooperation with the USAID and we hope that the plans we are working on are implemented as soon as possible in order to fulfill immediate needs,” said Latif Al Kuzah, Mayor of Deir Al Ahmar.
CSP, part of the robust $1.3 billion dollars in economic assistance that the U.S. government gave to Lebanon in 2007, is an $80 million five-to-seven-year project designed to enhance the delivery of essential services and improve the livelihoods of underserved and vulnerable communities, primarily in Lebanon’s North, South, and Beqaa regions.
The program, in cooperation with local municipalities and communities, plans and implements short and medium-term assistance interventions to address the lack of basic services and resources. It also provides targeted technical expertise and institutional capacity building assistance to local partners to promote maintenance and sustainability.
The project is implemented by Chemonics Beirut in partnership with: Bureau Technique pour le Developpement (BTD), Earth Link and Advanced Resources Development (ELARD), and Quantum Communications International.
In her opening speech, Dr. Patterson noted that CSP represents a qualitative evolution in which USAID delivers development assistance in Lebanon. It combines speed and flexibility with sustainability, which permits the organization to quickly address immediate small-scale needs. At the same time, it supports more complex interventions that address longer-term development issues.
“CSP builds on a number of the lessons that USAID has learned from past and ongoing USAID projects, such as the Lebanon Water Project, the Building Alliances for Local Advancement, Development and Investment or BALADI Project, BALADI Capacity Building Project, and prior activities undertaken by USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives,” she said.
Afterward, Melissa Ghazmi, senior vice president of Chemonics’ Middle East and North Africa region took the stage.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work in Lebanon on this critically important program. CSP is Chemonics’ fifth project in partnership with USAID in Lebanon since 2007. Through our implementation experience, we have developed a deep knowledge of Lebanon’s local communities and through CSP, we are now building upon the success of our previous USAID projects to provide a broad range of support to the community,” she indicated.
The event included testimonials from a number of CSP partners, including the mayors of Arsal and Tripoli. Additionally, a short video showcased the program’s material support to two public schools in the Beqaa region, where a large number of Lebanese and Syrian refugee students enrolled this year.
Rhett Gurian, chief of party of the USAID Lebanon noted the importance of the program. “CSP is a combination of the past different assistance projects by USAID that have improved the services and economic opportunities in Lebanon. It’s a program that builds upon them and pulls them together but also gives the organization the flexibility to shift and pivot as new needs emerge. It is a timely activity for the current conditions of Lebanon with the opportunity to do different interventions as needs change,” he told Annahar.
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