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Article Index

AVSI in Lebanon

Current and Recent Projects

Additional Information


AVSI in Lebanon

AVSI began its work in Lebanon in the early 1990s working with local community-based organizations and hospitals in Tripoli, Beirut and surrounding areas. As relationships were built and new opportunities arose in regions such as Baalbek and Marjayoun, AVSI expanded its work to support communities in facing the main challenges identified. Over the years, AVSI has implemented projects in water, agriculture and environment, education including access and support to disadvantaged families through partnerships with schools, and assistance to conflict-affected persons, first for Palestinian refugees and now also including Syrian refugees. AVSI Lebanon has its main office in Beirut. AVSI has partnered with the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has collaborated in planning with UNHCR, and has received funding from the Italian Government, the European Union, the European Commission (ECHO) and UNICEF.


In agriculture, AVSI Lebanon’s various projects have grown out of a flagship water project, using a unique method which also promotes peaceful co-existence and collaboration among diverse ethnic and religious groups. Projects include multi-faceted interventions which improve farming capacity and productivity, in part through the rehabilitation and expansion of irrigation systems, mainly in the region of Marjayoun (south Lebanon).

Current and Recent Projects

Emergency intervention in support of the Syrian conflict-affected population during winter in Jordan and Lebanon

Location: Bekaa West: Lala, Qaraoun, Machgara and Mdoukha; and Marjayoun and Bint Jbeil provinces

Date: December 2012– June 2014

Description: Ongoing emergency support to over 13,000 displaced Syrians in southern Lebanon, including assistance to 450 displaced families in the West Bekaa Valley through the distribution of non-food items: winter blankets, stoves and fuel vouchers. Distribution of vouchers to buy hygiene kits for mother and infants, and clothes and shoes for all ages, especially targeting the families who have most recently arrived.

Collaboration with 11 public schools in south Lebanon to ensure school access for displaced children. Activities including remedial classes, transportation assistance, recreational activities and psychosocial support for vulnerable children (whether Syrian or Lebanese), home visits, and educational meetings with parents on topics surrounding child protection and emergencies.

Major Donors: European Commission Humanitarian Aid & Civic Protection (ECHO), AVSI private donors, St. Camille de Lellis Foundation (Switzerland), UNICEF

Enhancing Sustainable Livelihood and Promoting Community Management of Shouf Biosphere Reserve

Location: Agricultural regions throughout Lebanon

Date: 2013-2014

Description: Educational and environmental awareness activities for 1,000 primary and elementary students, including collaboration with and visits to the Shouf Biosphere Reserve. Economic study of income generation through production of handicrafts and links to rural agricultural development, building relationship with local association Green Hand.

Major Donors: Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (Conservation International, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Government of Japan, MacArthur Foundation, French Development Agency)

Lead Implementing Partner: Al-Shouf Cedar Society

Technical and management support for the Dardara cooperative for water irrigation management

Location: Marjayoun Valley, south Lebanon

Date: 2011-2013

Description: Technical and institutional assistance to the Dardara cooperative for water irrigation management in Marjayoun Valley, including: Water and irrigation system management (2 main water sources; 16 km of underground pipes for distribution to farmer plots; and 83 regulated access points (manholes) for water distribution and algae monitoring and prevention). Integrated pest management to reduce use of pesticides on peach, nectarine and tomato crops (demonstration plots, insect and disease monitoring, pheromone trap installation, residue analysis, and training sessions on pest management, fertilization, pruning techniques, harvest time and best practices in the field). Crop rotation and tracking including collection of annual data frm the 3495 land parcels of Marjayoun Plain since 2008, statistical analysis and data translation into practices. Income generating activities, educational and social development programs for the 85 members of the Cooperative and their families. Socio-economic studies of the impact of the irrigation scheme on the rural economy of the region, including baseline in 2009 and follow-up in 2013, with researchers from the University of Milan. Construction of the Dardara cooperative headquarters, with solar panel installation and implementation of a 5-year management plan.

Major Donors: FAO, Republic of S. Marino, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto and Lombardy Regions in Italy, Italian Cooperation.

Implementing Partners: Ministry of Agriculture, Municipalities of Khiam, Qlaiaa and Bourj el Moulouk


Integrated pest management to control the spread of stone fruit phytoplasma in Lebanon

Location: Agricultural areas in both north and south Lebanon and Bekaa Valley

Date: 2010-2013 (Broken into 3 phases and an extension)

Description: Study of the propagation of almond witches’-broom disease, caused by a particular type of stone fruit phytoplasma, throughout Lebanon through a national survey and GIS based data collection and analysis; collaboration among Lebanese and Italian research centers and universities for epidemiology research to identify the main insects which are carry the disease; national awareness campaigns and training sessions for plant nursery staff, technicians and farmers to share information about the disease and possible preventive measures. Assessment and revision of strategies at the national and regional (Middle East) levels to control the spread of harmful stone fruit phytoplasma and develop a protocol for a national plant quarantine.

Major Donors: FAO, Government of Italy, Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture

Implementing Partners: Ministry of Agriculture of Lebanon, American University of Beirut, Lebanese Agriculture Research Institute, the Lebanese University, University of Saint Esprit Kaslik, and the state universities of Milan and Turin, Italy.


Reconstruction of a Palestinian refugee camp

Location: Nahr el Bared, Tripoli, north Lebanon

Date: 2010-2011

Description: Financial, technical and social assistance for the rehabilitation and renovation of 326 housing units, and social development support for activities facilitating the return of displaced Palestinian refugees to their homes.

Major Donors: Government of Italy, Government of Lebanon (Central Fund for the Displaced)

Implementing Partners: Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)


Water: Source of Peaceful Coexistence and Engine of Rural Development

Location: Marjayoun Valley, south Lebanon

Date: 2008-2011

Description: Lengthening of water irrigation pipeline by 5 km and addition of 41 access points (manholes); restoration of ownership of 600 hectares of land; renovation of 10 schools; creation and capacity building of a water management committee (providing assistance in data collection, measurement and assessment of outcomes). Benefiting over 40,000 people in five villages.

Major Donors: Government of Italy, Lombardy Region in Italy

Implementing Partners: Ministry of Agriculture, Municipalities of Khiam, Qlaiaa and Bourj el Moulouk


Irrigation surrounding the city of Baalbek

Location: Baalbek

Date: 2008 - 2009

Description: Feasibility study of water resources available for irrigation in the area surrounding the city of Baalbek. Rehabilitation of the original Roman canals at the archeological site of Baalbek and cleaning of the Ras el Ain source and main canals.

Major Donors: ROSS Emergency Program - Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Municipality of Rome

Implementing Partners: Lebanese Ministry of Energy and Water


Potential of the Naher El Kalb and the Naher El Beiruth River Basins

Location: Naher el Kalb (Kesrouan region) and Naher El Beiruth river basins

Date: 2006-2008

Description: Study the potential of the Naher El Kalb and Naher El Beiruth river basins to supplement the water supply available for agricultural use, and improve management of resources for environmental protection. Benefiting over 500,000 residents in the Beirut peri-urban area.

Major Donors: City of Milan and Region of Lombardy, Italy

Implementing Partners: Local Municipalities


Improvement of Irrigation and Water Management in West Bekaa

Location: Oaraun Lake, Bar Elias

Date: 2003-2008

Description: Creation of a resource center for farmers in the region; stabilization of river banks for flood control; cleaning of river beds between Oaraun Lake and Bar Elias; trainings on innovative irrigation techniques for 2000 agricultural producers.

Major Donors: European Union - MEDA Program

Implementing Partners: Lebanese Ministry of Energy and Water


Our Valuable Children - Distance Support Program

Location: Throughout Lebanon; with focus areas in Marjayoun and Bekaa Valley

Date: 2001-present

Description: Formal and informal educational support for more than 1,400 disadvantaged children, adolescents and their families. Direct sponsorship including accompaniment by a social worker and provision of material inputs for school (uniforms, books, fees, etc.), organization of recreational and educational activities both within school hours and in after-school programs, and creation of activities to strengthen families, including through business training for the parents of supported children.

In 2012: 848 children were supported through the payment of school fees; 10 private schools agreed to give discounted tuition for vulnerable children supported by AVSI; 303 children benefited from remedial courses during the 2011-2012 school year; 1,693 children benefited from socio-cultural and socio-educational activities; 108 supported children received financial aid to acquire basic household needs.

Major Donors: AVSI private donors

Implementing Partners: Caritas Lebanon, La Libanaise, 10 private schools in the Caza of Marjayoun


Additional Information

February 2013 Update in Lebanon: Annual Campaign in action supporting Syrian refugees

November 15, 2010 Lebanon: Effective Partnerships against Threats to Agricultural Livelihoods 

October 25, 2010; L'Orient Le Jour Les amandiers du Liban,une espece en voie de disparition?


Video: AVSI and ECHO Water Access in Lebanon: At the Font of Coexistence