Press release by Mouvement Social on the Humanitarian Aid Program

Beirut on March 31,2020 

The spread of the Corona pandemic in Lebanon coincides with the worsening of the economic crisis, which has spared no one from its negative impacts. As per the widespread estimations the crisis will not stop once the forced closure phase ends, but may last for months, requiring maximum awareness and solidarity to overcome this suffering.

Mouvement Social considers confronting this crisis to be a humanitarian and moral responsibility of its own, which is consistent with its core values and principles, and emphasizes the need to provide the necessities of living with dignity to every human regardless of his or her different affiliations; thus putting its human and material resources under the utilization of the Lebanese society to overcome this crisis, hoping from all of its constituents (staff, volunteers, members and friends) to volunteer for the help of the people in Lebanon during this historic moment.

As the response to the pandemic is considered an absolute priority, Mouvement Social continues to implement its programs, as much as it is convenient under the current conditions of forced closure, and restate its continuous stance next to its rights holders in its centers and even in prisons.

Mouvement Social is thus grateful for the Lebanese government, the funders, the concerned international institutions and civil society organizations for their valuable initiative to help the families affected by the forced closure, considering this as a right for every person in Lebanon in accordance with his/her right to live in dignity.

Mouvement Social emphasizes its eagerness to reach the neediest people, and to allocate the provided money to its proper destination, while preserving the dignity and health of every citizen in Lebanon. It also strongly rejects the distribution of aid through a process of humiliation guided by favoritism and clientelism, and that might contribute to transmitting the virus to isolated shelters.

Therefore, Mouvement Social presents a set of proposals to the Lebanese government, civil society and citizens:

Ø  To the Lebanese government

·         Take into account that the crisis may continue for a long time, which obliges it to expand the aid base to a larger segment of the targeted families and services, while being proportionate to the numbers of those forcibly suspended from work, distributed along all Lebanese territories.

·         Make use of purchase cards that can be used in local markets for each family, instead of  distributing food boxes, thus, helping minimizing the efforts related to storage and packaging, with a better utilization of financial budgets and human capacities; in addition to enhancing the local markets and economy.

·         Include health coverage within the assistance: treatment in public hospitals for emergencies and the provision of medicines for chronic and communicable diseases, with the need to coordinate with the private health sector in order to involve it in this national and humanitarian mission.

·         Develop an ongoing mechanism to follow up on the achieved field results, update and correct the existing database minimize corruption and improve productivity.

Ø  As for civil society organizations, we call on them to:

·         Organize coordination meetings in all regions, create local working groups to coordinate efforts and reduce competition and misapplication of interventions.

·         Adopt uniformed criteria for selecting those in need, unify regulations, and divide the efforts, in order to effectively provide assistance to right holders without political or sectarian favoritism.

·         adopt utmost transparency measures in the selection of families and in communicating with the concerned Ministry, civil society partner organizations, and with the local communities.

·         Benefit from the international institutions and their expertise in launching similar programs in a large number of countries.

Ø  We also call on every Lebanese citizen to:

·         Consider him/herself as a partner to, and an integral part of any plan made for addressing the crisis

·         Contribute to organizing him/herself, through ultruism and cooperation with municipal and elective councils or with civil society organizations in working groups that contribute to the preparation and editing of the needed lists.

·         Ensure that the program reaches the right holder, each and every right holder.