Update on MADRE’s Work in Lebanon
Support from Global Giving members was instrumental in helping MADRE provide humanitarian aid to women and families affected by violence in Lebanon last year. In the midst of Israel’s attacks in July and August 2006, MADRE quickly linked up with the Collective for Research and Training on Development-Action (CRTDA)—a social justice organization committed to equality for women—to offer food, shelter, medical care, and trauma counseling to displaced Lebanese women and families (who made up almost one quarter of the civilian population). With this established progressive women’s organization, we worked to ensure that humanitarian relief reached those most in need while simultaneously building CRTDA’s outreach ability.
Health and Sanitation Kits, consisting of basic necessities such as drinking water, diapers, soap, sanitary pads, and other materials not included in relief kits provided by government agencies, were distributed to 1,000 female-headed households over the course of several months. Distribution was carried out by an extensive network of local women’s groups and volunteers in Beirut, Saida, Metn, Jbail, Kesrwan, and Tripoli. Volunteers visited each household prior to distribution in order to identify specific needs, and conducted follow-up visits after women had received their kits.
In addition to delivery of kits, MADRE and CRTDA ensured that women were empowered to meet their own and others’ needs and sustain this initiative. Together, we emphasized women’s active participation and representation on environmental health committees in the internally displaced people (IDP) centers and schools housing refugees to ensure cleanliness of common spaces and appropriate distribution of clean water.
During this time, MADRE also called on governments to protect civilians in the region and helped provide a desperately needed message of hope and solidarity to our sisters in the Middle East. We thank Global Giving members for their support for this important project.