DRC has been delivering humanitarian programming in response to various humanitarian crises in Lebanon since 2004, working with Palestinian, Iraqi and Syrian refugees, in addition to Internally Displaced Lebanese affected by the 2006 war, Migrant Domestic Workers, and host Lebanese populations throughout this time. Since 2011, DRC has focused primarily on responding to the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon. DRC Lebanon’s focus is to improve the living conditions of displacement-affected populations and contribute to the achievement of durable solutions as well as support vulnerable Lebanese host populations affected by protracted displacement.

Eight years into the Syrian crisis, Lebanon continues to host the highest number of refugees per capita in the world with an estimated 1.5 million registered and unregistered Syrian refugees. Today, a full quarter of the country’s population are refugees. 

The influx of refugees to Lebanon has had a profound humanitarian and socio-economic impact on the country and its people. The vulnerabilities of the refugee population in Lebanon are matched with increasing vulnerabilities of host communities with a continuous rise in poverty and unemployment levels in the country.

Refugees in Lebanon continue to have no access to a national legal mechanism that protects the rights they should enjoy under international law. Although the needs of displacement-affected populations have increased over the last several years, funding has continued to contract and vulnerable populations increasingly struggle to meet their basic needs and resort to negative coping mechanisms to endure these conditions.  In 2019, refugees faced various threats to their protection in Lebanon, including forced deportations to Syria, evictions from their housing units, and the demolition of shelter. Additionally, refugees were impacted by a government crackdown on foreign labour that further restricted their access to work opportunities.

DRC Lebanon’s response

DRC Lebanon is currently implementing a multi-sectoral humanitarian portfolio in Lebanon, encompassing programmes in the sectors of protection, economic recovery and risk education. DRC maintains programming in the most vulnerable areas of Lebanon that have the highest concentration of Syrian refugees, including North Lebanon, Akkar Governorate, and Central, West and North Bekaa, as well as operations through a local partner in Saida, South Lebanon. 

DRC’s programming also focuses on accountability and improving the effectiveness of the humanitarian response in Lebanon through coordination and analysis of referrals nationally. This myriad programming seeks to address the immediate needs of displaced populations and concurrently support vulnerable host populations.

DRC continuously advocates for a comprehensive approach to the whole spectrum of internationally recognised durable solutions and maintains UNHCR’s position that the conditions inside Syria are not conducive for the safe, voluntary and dignified return of refugees to Syria. As a founding member and active participant of the Lebanon Humanitarian INGO Forum (LHIF), DRC participates regularly in advocacy activities that aim to enhance the protection and rights of displacement-affected populations in Lebanon.

DRC Lebanon‘s interventions

Through its specialised protection services, DRC delivers psycho-social support, case management and community-based protection. This encompasses a package of response and prevention services, spanning both the Child Protection and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) needs. 

DRC also provides legal services including legal counselling, representation and awareness raising sessions to strengthen and complement its integrated approach to programming, specifically targeting beneficiaries of its Child Protection and GBV services. To reach affected populations in Lebanon, DRC works with partners and community protection focal points throughout the country, including nine local civil society organizations in North Lebanon, South Lebanon and the Bekaa.

Economic Recovery
DRC’s Economic Recovery programme aims to build the economic self-resilience of conflict and displacement affected populations through the delivery of employability services, which include tailored career counselling, technical and soft skills training, work-based learning opportunities, computer and financial literacy services and awareness on decent work conditions. To reach vulnerable persons throughout Lebanon, DRC operates through livelihoods centres in North Lebanon and the Bekaa. 

DRC piloted and institutionalized the use of a socio-economic profiling tool in Lebanon. This exercise supports DRC to effectively target beneficiaries in need of economic recovery services and better tailor its response to their individual circumstances to support them to pursue their livelihood pathways.

Risk Education
The Danish Demining Group (DDG) is the specialised human security unit within the Danish Refugee Council (DRC). Under the banner of Safer Communities, we work to improve safety related to explosive ordnance, strengthen community resilience, and build local capacities to reduce tensions. Safer Communities aims to protect communities from the effects of conflict and displacement through strengthened social cohesion within and between communities as well as between communities and local authorities. In 2019, DRC/DDG solidified its footprint as a Mine Risk Education (MRE) actor in Lebanon by rolling out activities in Bekaa and is currently assessing the need for further expansion. Through its RE programme, DRC targets refugees who are most at risk of explosive hazards, especially those considering returning to Syria.

Referral Information Management System (RIMS)
The RIMS is a referral platform, created by DRC in 2017 initially as an internal referral tool, which expanded and currently counts 30 international and national partners who conduct and manage referrals in a secure, efficient and accountable manner on a common platform. The application of RIMS seeks to ensure that the humanitarian response in Lebanon is improved and influenced through effective and accountable referral pathways, in recognition that referrals play an essential role in ensuring that people of concern have access to relevant services in a timely and accountable manner. 

RIMS endeavors to achieve this by realizing the following two outcomes: (1) Referrals pathways across sectors and humanitarian agencies are strengthened through enhanced referral management; and (2) Data derived from RIMS provides evidence-based recommendations designed to improve efficiency in referrals and, ultimately, the humanitarian response. 

RIMS is designed to support facilitation, tracking, coordination, management and follow up of referrals within and between agencies, across all sectors of intervention. DRC is working with Inter-Agency actors to ensure that RIMS complements the work related to existing referral information management and other relevant systems/databases. 

Strategic focus

In order to meet these objectives, DRC/DDG has identified several specific programmatic and capability objectives for 2019. Hence, DRC will maintain its focus on emergency preparedness and response capacities as the situation in Syria and in Lebanon do not completely exclude potential further waves of displacement – internal or cross border. 

Protection will continue to be at the core of DRC/DDG programming in Lebanon through prevention, response and systems strengthening activities focused on Gender Based Violence, Child Protection and Persons with Specific Needs. To increase self-reliance and livelihoods opportunities, DRC/DDG will strengthen and expand its Economic Recovery programming through interventions centred around employability services, local economic development and integration of livelihoods into protection.  DDG will solidify its footprint as a Mine Risk Education actor in Lebanon by rolling out activities in the Bekaa and assessing opportunities for expansion. Partnerships with national NGOs and strategic partners with the ultimate aim to develop program quality, cost efficiency, localisation of its response and handing over increasingly activities to national implementing partners must be better operationalised.

An ambition of DRC/DDG is to maximize the use of its information management capacity, in particular RIMS and Alpha, to generate solid and valuable evidence-based recommendations and analysis that inform programmes, and support advocacy and communications for DRC/DDG and the wider humanitarian community in Lebanon.

DRC Lebanon programming is made possible thanks to the generous support from: