about the project
Lebanon is known for its religious diversity, with 18 officially-recognized sects. However, the society is deeply divided, with segregation evident between religious groups. Over the past few years, these divisions have grown with the rise of populist political messaging, including sectarian-based narratives that stoke fear and mistrust between communities. In contrast, the anti-government protests that started in October 2019 demonstrated the appetite that young people have for helping to move Lebanon past its sectarian past and present. However, the challenges that 2020 has brought – including a financial crisis, and social and economic pressures resulting from the impact of COVID-19, and the devastating explosion in Beirut on 4 August – have dampened the hope and faith in civic ability to effect meaningful change that prevailed in late 2019.
There is an urgent need to implement initiatives that give young people faith in their capacity to be a change-maker, that create networks of supportive peers, and to improve youth attitudes and skills in favour of inter-religious understanding and collaboration, and away from sectarianism. Currently, schools in Lebanon offer limited opportunities for interaction between young people from different communities. Education, however, has huge potential and responsibility to shape attitudes and behaviour.
Impact: Growing circles of people in Lebanon are empowered and supported to be sustainable ambassadors for social cohesion and peaceful coexistence, helping to overcome sectarianism in Lebanon and instead sustainably embed values of diversity, solidarity and human dignity.
Outcome 1: Online Alwan programme addresses the evolving situation in Lebanon, including the necessity for digital/blended learning.
Outcome 2: Improved knowledge, attitude and behaviour among Alwan students towards religious diversity and active and inclusive citizenship.
Outcome 3: Improved intercommunal partnership between young students, and increased positive engagement with communities across Lebanon.
Outcome 4: Increased and sustainable engagement with in inclusive citizenship and peacebuilding initiatives by a strengthened national Alwan community, and by members of the public.