Under the patronage of the Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform and in the presence of the Deputy Dr. Fouad Makhzoumi and Mrs. May Makhzoumi, the President of Makhzoumi Foundation, the representative of Bishop Issam Johan Darwish, a number of Heads of Municipal Unions participating in the project, and Heads of Municipalities and associations or their representatives, stakeholders from Bekaa and principals of schools, the Makhzoumi Foundation celebrated, with its partners, the closure of the Project “Civil Society for Sustainable Development”, implemented by Makhzoumi Foundation and its partners, within AFKAR program, funded by EU, and managed by the Minister of State for Administrative Reform.
The aforementioned partners are the Italian NGO “Armadilla”, the Mediterranean Network "Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture, and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE)-Greece and the Lebanese Association for Energy Saving and for Environment (ALMEE).
The ceremony was opened by Makhzoumi Foundation President, pointing out the importance of the project and its relevance to the 17 SDGs. Then, the Development Program Manager, Eng. Sallama Namani, presented the project's achievements. The director of AFKAR Program at the Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform, Mrs. Youmna Chakar Ghorayeb had a word about the role of AFKAR Program in supporting projects. The MP Dr. Fouad Makhzoumi and his wife Mrs. May Makhzoumi offered a trophy to AFKAR Program team at the Ministry of Administrative Reform. Two beneficiaries spoke about their success stories for what they learned during the project. The ceremony was accompanied by an exhibition of environmental handicrafts produced by the trainees of the project.
The project aimed to promote sustainable development in the Bekaa in cooperation with Union of Municipalities of East Zahle in Mid Bekaa, Union of Municipalities of Al Sahl in the West Bekaa, Union of Municipalities of East Baalbek in North Bekaa and the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO. The project included a competition on carbon footprint and awareness lectures for the youth to activate their role towards sustainable development. Also, and in the framework of rural development and environment protection and ensuring job opportunities, training workshops were implemented on beekeeping and environmental crafts: Soap Making, Loom Weaving, Papier Mache and Decoupage, Patchwork, and entrepreneurship. The project included as well installation of solar water heaters in 30 schools in the Bekaa and installation of solar lamps in three municipal unions. The project benefited 300 women and men, and 872 students in secondary schools.
The "Civil Society for Sustainable Development" Project sought to promote sustainable economic and social development in the Bekaa, being immensely affected by the repercussions of the Syrian crisis. The project focused on the concept of sustainability as a critical factor in improving the living conditions of local communities through empowering capabilities and skills of inhabitants, in addition to promoting effective energy solutions in local communities. During the ceremony in Zahle, the beneficiaries thanked the Makhzoumi Foundation and the European Union as well as AFKAR Program for their concern to develop individuals and communities through various projects and workshops covering various Lebanese regions and groups. A woman beneficiary considered these sessions as ongoing charity and a science to make use of it. Among the success stories of this project is what one of the participants gained from her loom and paperwork production; friends and neighbours admired her work that she received customers for gifts of brides, boxes of clothes, garlands placed at home entrances, lamps for room lighting, caps, cork paintings and others.