For almost two years, Lebanon has been facing a myriad of multiple crisis affecting Lebanese, refugees and migrants. The October revolution followed by the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic – and its most recent dangerous strains – that went around with complete lockdowns, accompanied by a devastating explosion at the Beirut Port leaving damages in the capital worth billions of dollars with more than 200 deaths, have made the situation quite catastrophic. This horrendous turmoil has been compounded by ongoing civil unrest across the state, political instability, and the worst and unprecedented economic and financial crisis the country has been facing in its modern history.
With the overlapping of crises, Lebanese and refugees’ needs in general and women and girls’ needs in particular, have exacerbated their living conditions into poverty and quite often their inability to access health services. “Unless women – especially pregnant ones- are provided with timely and essential access to sexual and reproductive health services, they are at high risk of suffering from complications and morbidities that could be life threatening to them”, says Asma Kurdahi, the Head of Office at UNFPA Lebanon. In response to this emergency and with the support of the Government of Japan, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Lebanon launched a new project “Ensuring lifesaving, integrated gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services for women and girls affected by the multiple crisis in Lebanon” in the aim to better promote access to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and preventing and responding to gender-based violence (GBV), in crisis/humanitarian related perspectives.
“Japan has given higher priority to women’s health and their rights with a view to promoting gender mainstreaming and empowering women in close partnership with UNFPA. As unprecedented socio-economic and crises are affecting the vulnerable segment of the communities in Lebanon, Japan is more determined than ever to contribute in mitigating the impact of the crises on women and children,” said H.E. Mr. Okubo Takeshi, Ambassador of Japan to Lebanon.
Under this project, several activities are currently being implemented in West Bekaa by UNFPA’s partner, Amel Association, which have reached to this date around 2200 women and girls. The activities consist in enhancing capacities of service providers (i.e.Gynecologist, midwives, nurses, social and outreach workers), on GBV and SRH including Clinical Management of rape, safe identification, Mental Health and Psycho-social Support, menstrual hygiene management, providing subsidized services for women and adolescent girls (i.e. RH consultations, PAP Smear tests, IUD insertions and mammography), and supporting the most vulnerable ones through provision of emergency cash assistance and vouchers for menstrual hygiene products as well as dignity kits. Also, this project involves enhancing and reinforcing a Women and Girls safe space which provides Psychosocial support to most affected women and girls including those survivors /at risk of GBV.
At times of crises, women and girls are the most affected. Many words are left unsaid on the WHYs we should support them and never leave them behind. Ensuring their protection and helping them flourish their future is securing the protection of the whole entity in Lebanon and the world. “Due to my financial limitations and social constraints, I can’t move around from one place to another to get those services, but now the process is so much easier and more accessible” says Samia*, a 34-year-old Syrian woman married with two children who received case management services and benefitted from the psycho social sessions under this project, “it is very nice to have all these services in the same place now” she adds.
Source: UNIC Beirut