Building Resilient Communities in Lebanon: An Integrated Approach to Livelihoods and Income Generation for Vulnerable Populations
ACTED commissioned InfoPro to evaluate their project titled ‘Building Resilient Communities in Lebanon: An Integrated Approach to Livelihoods and Income Generation for Vulnerable Populations’. It is part of a Dutch Government funded program that aims to Address Root Causes (ARC) of conflict and instability in Lebanon by creating for vulnerable individuals’ sustainable income-generating and livelihood opportunities. The aim of the program is three-fold: 1) Build the capacity of SDCs for improved delivery of livelihood-related services 2) Improve the technical and soft skills of vulnerable individuals to ensure increased economic opportunity, and to reduce negative coping mechanisms and tensions, and 3) Improve the capacity of private sector businesses in target industries which in turn will lead to growth and job creation. The program was being implemented in Akkar, Tripoli, Mount Lebanon, Beirut, and Saida. The aim of the project was to assess the extent to which the project has met its objectives and to provide an external opinion on the relevance and performance of the project, as compared to the project document. The OECD DAC methodology was utilized. The project mandate entailed that 18 KIIs with stakeholders, 15 in-depth interviews with MSMEs / Artisans, and a CATI survey with a sample of 350 vulnerable individuals be conducted.
Improving Access to Quality Health Care for Persons with Disabilities in Lebanon
In 2019, the International Medical Corps UK (IMC) launched two programs titled ‘Improving Access to Quality Health Care for Persons with Disabilities in Lebanon’. The aim of the programs was to improve access to quality primary health care for Syrian refugees and other vulnerable populations in North Lebanon, South Lebanon, Bekaa, Beirut/Mount Lebanon, Akkar. This was conducted by supporting 60 Primary Health Care Centers and by providing PwD-focused community support and outreach. The DAC framework for evaluation was therefore utilized twice to assess the facets of the two programs. A mixed methodological approach entailing both secondary and primary data collection was conducted for each. A total of 38 KIIs, 10 focus groups and a sample of 450 surveys with beneficiaries were carried out.
LIVCD (Lebanon Industrial Value Chain) Evaluation
The Lebanon Industrial Value Chain Development (LIVCD) Project is a five year program funded by USAID. Through technical support provided to targeted value chains, the LIVCD aims to strengthen the agriculture and agro-processing sectors. This is accomplished through the enhancement of access to finance for rural small businesses and the stimulation of innovation and private sector investment. The value chains supported throughout this project include olives, honey, grapes, avocados, cherries, and apples. Moreover, LIVCD supports rural communities by focusing on food processing, a wide range of artisanal products, and rural basket products. USAID / Lebanon requested that Social Impact conduct a final performance evaluation of the LIVCD Project. InfoPro was commissioned to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the project by documenting critical successes as well as shortcomings of the project. Furthermore, the evaluation had to shed light on the approach and activities implemented under LIVCD with regards to achieving outputs, outcomes, and the sustainability of its interventions. In order to reach the objectives of the study, InfoPro conducted 28 focus groups split across the various value chains conducted under the program.
LIFE Midterm Performance Evaluation Study
Social Impact, USAID’s monitoring arm, needed to conduct a mid-term performance evaluation of the LIFE project. LIFE’s aim was to economically empower the unbanked, low-income, and underserved micro clientele. It also linked vulnerable entrepreneurs with micro-finance institutions who would provide them with customized business management training, technical know-how, mentoring, and basic business development skills. To evaluate the performance of the project, the OECD DAC methodology was utilized. Specifically three criteria were assessed; Relevance, Effectiveness, and Sustainability, in addition to cross-cutting issues such as gender. In total, 28 focus groups were conducted with beneficiaries of the LIFE project.
Barriers to Women’s Participation in the National and Local Economy and their Utilization of Available Entrepreneurial Opportunities
Oxfam partnered with BRD, UTOPIA and Association Najdeh and started implementing ‘Building Alternative Development Assets and Entrepreneurial Learning’ (BADAEL), an EU Funded project. The aim of BADAEL is to assist vulnerable host communities in countering the socio-economic drivers of radicalization by upholding social stability and community resilience. The two year project is currently being implemented in seven different areas across Lebanon: Tripoli, Beddawi camp, Nahr El Bared camp, El Minieh, Koura, Saadnayel and Jebjenine. Oxfam through BADAEL aims to promote Social Entrepreneurship as a vehicle for change by launching an outreach campaign and conducting regional and national level conferences on Social Entrepreneurship in the seven areas under study. The BADAEL program specifically focuses on the empowerment of women by equipping them with the necessary tools and skills needed to become social entrepreneurs. However, females face many hurdles and obstacles that limit their ability to become entrepreneurs / active members of the labor force. In 2019, Oxfam commissioned InfoPro to identify the obstacles that females face in becoming active members in the Lebanese economy and the steps to be undertaken to open the doors to their becoming social entrepreneurs. The study focused on North Lebanon and Bekaa with a specific focus on the seven BADAEL areas under study. As part of the mandate, InfoPro conducted a total of 30 focus groups and 1,800 household interviews with Syrian refugees, Palestinian refugees, and vulnerable Lebanese, in addition to 33 key informant interviews with key stakeholders.
ACTED Final External Evaluation
InfoPro carried out a study for ACTED to evaluate their multi-sector program. The main objective of the program was to enhance the resilience of vulnerable host and refugee communities in Lebanon, through the promotion of livelihood opportunities, protection support and advocacy for their wellbeing. The program was implemented in four governorates: Beirut (Al Mazraa), Mount Lebanon (Al Chiah, Al Ghobeiry, Al Wardanieh, Barja, Baysour, Bourj Al Barajne, Burj Hammoud, Hay El Solom, and Sin El fil), North Lebanon (Al Minieh and Beb Al tebbane) and South Lebanon (Saida). The target groups that were engaged to achieve the project objectives were vulnerable refugees and host communities, 13 Social Development Centers, 13 Civil Society Organizations, government authorities, private sector actors, government authorities, and the general public. The aim of the project was to assess the extent to which the project has met its objectives and to provide an external opinion on the relevance and performance of the project, as compared to the original plan. The scope of work entailed that InfoPro conduct desk research, Key Informant Interviews (KII) with Stakeholders, and focus groups in order to assess the project according to five DAC criteria (relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability, impact). The literature review comprised a wide array of internal and external documents such as baseline summary, interim progress, monthly progress and activities reports, occasional publications, process documentation and project output summaries which were assessed by InfoPro. This was followed by conducting 15 KII’s, and 3 focus groups with the program beneficiaries. In the end, InfoPro provided actionable recommendations and best practices that ACTED can utilize to enhance the planning, implementation, and management of future projects.
Mahmoud Abbas Loan Program Market Study
The Mahmoud Abbas Foundation (MAF) commissioned InfoPro to conduct a market study in order to develop a student’s loan program for Palestinian refugees residing in Palestinian camps in Lebanon. Since 2010, MAF was offering more than 2,000 grants to Palestinian students covering between 40 percent to 70 percent of their tuition fees. However, Palestinian students were still finding it difficult to cover the rest of their tuition despite the grants offered. Thus, MAF was studying the option of offering a student loan program. Loans and grants would complement each other and would be harmonized. InfoPro conducted interviews with 250 Palestinian students to ask them about their opinion on the current programs offered by MAF and their current situation. InfoPro also conducted three focus groups with Palestinian students to have a better understanding of their needs. In addition, InfoPro conducted interviews with banks and micro-finance organizations to have a better view of the current student loan programs available in the market. Finally, InfoPro designed several loan schemes and conducted feasibility studies in order to assist MAF in selecting the best loan program.
Secondary Analysis – Improving Access to Safe Drinking Water for Lebanese and Syrian Refugee Communities in Northern Lebanon
The Comitato lnternazionale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli (CISP) had received a grant from the EU in order to implement a project entitled ‘Improving access to safe drinking water for Lebanese and Syrian refugees communities in Northern Lebanon’. The aim of the grant was to contribute to the improvement of living conditions of Syrian refugees and host communities in North Lebanon through the enhancement of the access to safe drinking water and ensuring the availability of water fulfilling quality standards in El Fouar Municipality. A baseline ‘Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP)’ and ‘Willingness to Pay’ survey was conducted by CISP among a representative sample of the target population to assess their actual interest in the project and their willingness to pay for the water supply system. CISP commissioned InfoPro to perform the analysis of the collected data, produce and present a final report for the baseline survey, and prepare a PowerPoint presentation.
Country Level Gender Analysis
Social Impact funded by USAID commissioned InfoPro to conduct the study. The aim of the study was to assess existing gender gaps, opportunities and needs that the USAID / Lebanon program can address to better achieve its objectives. The study also delved into the different perceptions of women and men that are particularly disadvantaged or have strong unmet needs for empowerment. InfoPro utilized a mixed methodology combining both focus groups and in-depth interviews to reach the objectives of the study. A total of 56 focus groups were conducted with male and female community members aged between 18 and 24 years and between 25 and 45 years residing in the various Lebanese governorates. Seventy-one in-depth interviews were also conducted with representatives from USAID, civil society organizations, municipal members of both genders, ministries and donors. The aim of the in-depth interviews was to provide a better understanding of the different gender related gaps and the most effective improvement opportunities for the project.
Three Phase Survey on Municipal Police Perception
UNDP Lebanon, through its community security and access to justice project, is supporting the professionalization of municipal police as well as improving service delivery by ISF police stations across 23 municipalities: Majdel Anjar, Baalback, Halba, Batroun, Bourj Hammoud, Saida, as well as 17 municipalities of Iklim El Kharoub Union of municipalities. In order to assess the impact of the project and to better understand the needs of host communities and Syrian refugees in the 23 pilot and two non-pilot municipalities, UNDP in 2018 commissioned InfoPro to conduct a perception survey composed of three phases (baseline survey, intermediary survey and end-line survey). Each phase is composed of a sample of 2,900 Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees. The study will specifically delve into the following:
- Attitude towards overall quality of life
- Attitude towards the local government
- Better understand issues pertaining to fear of crime, victimization, and security
- Attitude towards the Internal Security Forces and the Army
- Better understand how participants contact local security (reactive and proactive contact)
- Attitudes towards rules of law and cooperation with the Police
Program Impact Survey
The MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) of the Pan Arab region is a promoter of entrepreneurship and innovation worldwide. The forum, in partnership with Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives, organizes on a yearly basis an MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition. The Competition which started in 2006 brings in a total of 2,000 to 4,000 applications on a yearly basis. MITEF expressed their interest in carrying-out a survey to measure the impact the Arab Start-Up Competition has created over the past six years. MIT EF indicated that they would like to quantify a set of key performance indicators related to the competition semi-finalists. The indicators developed by InfoPro and MITEF and which were assessed are the following:
- Number of ideas turned into startups as a result of the Competition.
- Number of startups that are still in business to date
- Number of Full-Time vs. Part-Time jobs created
- Number of clients acquired
- Market Size
- Average annual revenue
- Profile of people on the team
- Percentage of females with a leading role
- Number of startups that are no longer in business
- Benefit from the Competition: trainings, business coaching, media exposure, prize money, networking, connections, MIT brand helped them raise (additional) capital, win other competitions, get incubation, get acceleration, media coverage, etc..
To reach the objectives of the study, InfoPro with MITEF decided to interview a pool of semi-finalists and applicants to the MIT EF Arab Startup Competition. InfoPro to kick-start the project compiled a list of all semi-finalists and applicants. InfoPro then conducted Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews with the semi-finalists and filled an online survey with the applicants. The sample was segmented to be representative of the place of residence of semi-finalists and applicants; Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, North Africa, and the Gulf countries. The project allowed MITEF to understand the impact the Arab Startup Competition and to cater its future strategy for the program accordingly.