One Drop For Peace
ONE DROP FOR PEACE (ODP) is a project funded by the European Union and implemented by ILDES and AIDA.
ODP aims to mitigate the environmental, economic, and social impact of the Syrian refugees’ presence on livelihoods in Qaa, caza of Baalback-Hermel, Northern Bekaa, Lebanon.
the 3 Problems to be addressed by ODP are:
Disrepair of the irrigation facilities: Due to the insufficiency of specific investment in infrastructure the irrigation facilities are now ageing and falling into serious disrepair. Qaa gets its irrigation water from the source in Laboueh that also irrigates the villages of Nabi Otham, Al Ain, Fekha and Ras Baalback. The share of Qaa in the source is 52%. The water debit at the source is 500 litres per second and falls to 250 litres per second on average when it reaches the Qaa. A preliminary field survey produced the following observations: for 6kms from Ras Baalback and into Qaa, the water flows in a primary open earth channel that overflows on the road and that allows for pilfering, non-beneficial use and loss. Then 11kms of secondary channels irrigating the agricultural lands of Qaa are open dirt trenches that are in a total state of neglect. The state of disrepair results, year after year, in the squandering of an increasing volume of water otherwise vital for economic activities.
Resource scarcity and diminishing income: in Lebanon, and especially in arid areas of the northern Bekaa valley, climate change, alternate droughts and flash floods as well as water mismanagement aggravate water shortages and intensify the degradationof water resources. In turn, the scarcity of water leads to decreased agricultural production, threatens food security, causes general economic decline, provokes population displacements, disrupts institutions and creates tense social relations. It increases demands on key institutions while these institutions’ capacity to meet those demands are reduced, which in turn might lead to social unrest and open conflicts. These factors exacerbate economic underdevelopment and pose serious long-term threats to stability especially at times when actual and potential conflicts cross the national boundaries.
Fragile social status quo:The displaced Syrians who have taken refuge in Qaa in the caza of Baalback (Bekaa) are from the neighbouring villages of Qusair, Homs, Nizariyah and Rableh that are a few kilometres northeast of Qaa. With the influx of Syrian refugees, Qaa has become an “at risk area” as it faces changes in the distribution of and access to resources. On the other hand, moves toward a more equitable distribution of resources may be disruptive and cause conflict as they threaten to alter the status quo. Actual or potential change in the socio-economic status quo due to any development project addressed exclusively to the refugee community could lead, in the short run, to the perception of relative deprivation and to accusations of favouritism. This in turn could exacerbate tensions, alter relative social cohesion and result in violent struggles.
ODP is a sustainable intervention that enhances the infrastructure needed to support the economic sector of agriculture that represents 80% of the local GDP. By addressing the disrepair of the network ODP reduces loss and non-beneficial use of water, improves access to water for irrigation, expands the scope of agricultural exploitationsandenhances the food security and healthof both the host and refugees communities. ODP participates in improving LIIMQ’s management capacities and its stance in the community as it encourages the public’s positive attitude towards the preservation of water and the sound management of this scarce resource. The host community benefits from the rehabilitation of the water distribution network that addresses and reduces the non-beneficial use of water and impacts the water bill of the farmers; it improves and stabilizes the supply of water to agriculture and animal husbandry and allows the exploitation and irrigation of more agricultural land to feed the population and the animals. The Syrian refugee community has access to a larger number of exploitable agricultural lands and therefore it is enabled to face the economic and health challenges of the forced displacement.
The project addresses the priority to improve the situation of youth, children, women and the elderly in the host community and among the Syrian refugees as it enables them equal access to food security and improved hygienic and sanitary conditions. It also enables a better understanding of the importance of water, its conservation and preservation and its impact on the sustainability of the environment and economy and on the future livelihood opportunities of the region. Youth, children, women and farmers from both communities are educated to the benefits of water conservation and preservation in order to mitigate the environmental and climate change challenges on the limited resource and ensure a sustainable local economy. The awareness to the environmental survival issues will deflect the young and children’s interest in bearing arms in an already destructive and cruel war. Women will observe the best household practices concerning water consumption.
On the social level, the project improves the common welfare of the host community, as it recognizes and rewards its positive stand and empathic attitude towards the Syrian refugees. It promotes social cohesion and peaceful cohabitation by the concerted participation of its communities and encouraging dialogue, networking for conflict prevention and conflict resolution.