Lebanon: Youth Unity and Resilience Amidst Conflict

In times of conflict and uncertainty, the strength of unity among youth becomes more crucial than ever. Across the globe, young people are facing unprecedented challenges, from political turmoil to economic instability. Youth in Lebanon are no different, especially in light of the war in Gaza and the effect it has on the South of Lebanon.

How does our Embassy in Lebanon find ways to support ways for supporting local youth, even with these challenges? Read the story from our local youth focal point.

Graduation of 36 vulnerable youth that were supported with tailoring education by the embassy.

The Meaningful Work of our Embassy in Lebanon

Despite the latest developments, the support that our embassy in Lebanon is providing to youth has become increasingly relevant – now more than ever.  A significant part of the support to local youth relates to the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) and other youth-led initiatives supported by the embassy.

Youth Advisory Committee

In Lebanon, the role and importance of the YAC cannot be overstated. For starters, it’s the biggest local YAC out there when looking at the more than 20 YACs that have been created across Dutch Embassies all over the world.

The YAC in Lebanon brings together a diverse range of voices and perspectives, fostering dialogue, collaboration, and innovation between youth. The initiative continues to provide a platform where members can share their experiences, express their concerns, and collectively address pressing issues affecting their lives. In turn, this provides the embassy with valuable information for understanding the local context.

Since the onset of the conflict in Gaza and South of Lebanon, the unity between YAC members emerged as a beacon of hope, providing solace and fortitude. During regular YAC meetings, youth engaged in discussions on the conflict’s impact on their lives and the operational challenges they are facing to continue their work in the YAC – particularly given the membership of Palestinian refugees and the presence of members residing in conflict-affected areas of South Lebanon.

Launch of the Youth Advisory Committee in Lebanon.

Including vulnerable youth through different means

In the current crisis Lebanon is facing, the importance of the embassy’s programs targeted at vulnerable youth groups cannot be overlooked. In January 2024, we celebrated the graduation of 36 vulnerable youth that were supported through tailoring education to become tailors; offering them valuable skills and opportunities for economic empowerment through our partnership with a local social enterprise FabricAID.

By equipping youth with vocational training and entrepreneurship skills, we have found that they’re enabled to pursue sustainable livelihoods while contributing positively to their communities. Moreover, they are promoting self-reliance and resilience and empowering youth to overcome the challenges they face in times of crisis and conflict.

Graduation of the Mercy Corps project.

To add, in the last week of May 2024, we also celebrated the graduation of 80 youth who received training, mentorship, and financial support for their digital business through a program funded by the Netherlands and implemented by Mercy Corps.

In conclusion, engaging with youth through initiatives like the Youth Advisory Committees in times of conflict is indispensable. Through unity, support, and advocacy, such committees empower young people to navigate challenges, promote peace, and drive positive change within their communities. Additionally, by supporting programs which target vulnerable youth populations, we can ensure that all youth has the opportunity to thrive and contribute to a brighter future, on their own terms.