External Evaluation of MAG’s project – Increasing the safety and security of Syrian refugees and Lebanese communities by removing landmines and other unexploded ordnance in Lebanon
The Blue Line has been a politically sensitive area for a number of years, and as such, clearance activities have not been possible until permission was granted by the Lebanese government. Operations commenced in April 2017 and MAG is now able to help communities that have requested support for years, enabling them to access fertile agricultural land, at a time when the Lebanese economy continues to be put under strain. The crisis in neighbouring Syria has had a profound impact, and heightened pressure for safe land and employment opportunities. Clearance on the Blue Line will provide opportunities to address both these concerns. The clearance done to date shows how dense the contamination is, with the number of items being found significantly exceeding what MAG has been removing in other areas of the country prior to commencing work in this area.
MAG, under this UK-Aid funded project, conducted minefield clearance in the area surrounding Meiss Al Jabal town, which is located in Marjeyoun District, Nabatieh government in southern Lebanon. The town is situated close to the border with Israel, with 51 minefields in its vicinity. The minefields form part of the ‘Blue Line’, a barrier minefield laid by Israeli forces when ending their occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000. The Blue Line represents the densest minefield contamination in Lebanon, stretching 118km along the southern border, where an estimated 400,000 landmines were laid.
Meiss Al Jabal has a population of just over 20,000, of which approximately 3,000 are Syrian refugees. A further 7,000 people reside in the village as seasonal workers at different points of the year. 70% of the land around the town is used for agricultural purposes, with 50% of the population reliant on this for their employment and income. Olives and tobacco are the primary crops in this area.
The overall purpose of this evaluation is to evaluate the activities which MAG has undertaken with this funding and assess the extent to which they have met the overall and specific objectives of this grant.
In particular, the external evaluator will be required to examine and report on the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and viability of the activities, as well as making suggestions for future improvements.
The evaluation will be of use principally to MAG (to help guide future planning and implementation of similar projects) and to UK government (as a report on the effectiveness of their funding under this grant).
- HISTORY OF THE PROJECT
MAG has been operational in Lebanon since 2000 initially clearing landmines and UXO and then to respond immediately in the aftermath of the 2006 conflict, providing emergency clearance from the day of the ceasefire. This action is in line with the needs identified by the Government of Lebanon and supported by the UK, to enable communities to live free from fear, and use land that prior to MAG’s intervention has been a source of worry and hardship. Landmine clearance under this project will enable affected communities in Meiss Al Jabal to benefit from additional, safe land for productive use.
- EVALUATION SCOPE
The scope of this evaluation is to assess the degree of fulfilment of the specific aim of, and the results achieved by, the project detailed below:
Title: Increasing the safety and security of Syrian refugees and Lebanese communities by removing landmines and other unexploded ordnance in Lebanon.
Implementing agency: Mines Advisory Group (MAG), Lebanon
Funder: UK aid
Period of the grant: 1st December 2019 – 30th June 2020
Total Value of the grant: GBP146,185.85