Employment and peacebuilding: building bridges amongst ‘youth at risk’ in Lebanon

Fragile states

Employment and peacebuilding: building bridges amongst ‘youth at risk’ in Lebanon

The impact of the Syrian crisis in Lebanon

The project aims to enhance engagement of ‘youth at risk’ through a range of livelihoods and social stability activities and strengthen the linkages and complementarities between the two. 

The structural and proximate causes affecting Lebanon’s stability can be attributed to a combination of factors related to the impact of the ongoing Syrian conflict, as well as long-standing, pre-crisis factors that can be traced to the conclusion of the civil war. Many of these factors have been exacerbated by the impact of the Syrian crisis, which has resulted in a 25 to 30 percent increase in the population within Lebanon’s borders, placing significant strain on the country’s capacity, which was already significantly pressured prior to the crisis, and placing further stresses on vulnerable Lebanese.

Competition for jobs is increasingly perceived as the primary driver of tensions between host and refugee communities in Lebanon, particularly in the most vulnerable communities. In particular, competition for lower-skilled jobs is the most common driver of tension identified by Lebanese and Syrian refugees. As such, this project focuses on selected vulnerable communities, using criteria recognised by the Government and partners to identify potential participants.

Focusing on "Youth at Risk"

youth at risk


Focusing on building bridges

Both Lebanese and Syrian refugee youth alike are crucial stakeholders in safeguarding civil peace in Lebanon.

Surveys reveal that the youth are perceived both as the social group most prone to conflict but also as most invested in positive social change. The contribution, whether positive or negative, is largely determined by the opportunities afforded (or not) to youth to advance their lives through economic, education, and civic engagement opportunities.

While recognizing that some tensions may exist between Lebanese and Syrian youth in the project locations – including due to perceived competition over jobs – the project’s approach in coupling peacebuilding activities with livelihoods opportunities seeks to directly address this primary source of tension.

Building on their capacities for peace while empowering youth to seek livelihood opportunities towards a better future is thus critical for maintaining social stability in Lebanon. While different communities view the risks facing youth slightly differently, there is broad recognition (by youth and communities, more broadly) of the positive contribution youth can make to their community, whether it be through economic activity or community engagement. This project will seek to broaden the opportunities for youth to engage and contribute in both these dimensions.

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ILO Components

Based on its My First Business (MFB) entrepreneurship development programme, the ILO will encourage and support youth to choose self-employment as a career option and promote joint ventures among Lebanese and Syrian youth as a way to decrease tensions and propose a positive alternative to their potential participation in conflict situations.

Expected outcomes 

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Target groups and target areas

This project targets Lebanese and Syrian refugee youth, between 18 and 30 years of age, both in-school and out-of-school, who are unemployed and do not have access to training.

Of all the registered Syrian Refugees in Lebanon (991,165 individual), 36% (357,592) are currently living in the Bekaa.

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United Nations Development Programme

On the ground in about 170 countries and territories, UNDP works to eradicate poverty while protecting the planet. UNDP helps countries develop strong policies, skills, partnerships and institutions so they can sustain their progress.

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United Nations Children's Fund

UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, to defend their rights, and to help them fulfil their potential, from early childhood through adolescence. And we never give up.

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United Nations Peacebuilding

The Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) is an intergovernmental advisory body that supports peace efforts in conflict affected countries and is a key addition to the capacity of the International Community in the broad peace agenda. 

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