Thursday, February 25, 2021
The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, in partnership with the Building Alliances for Local Advancement, Development and Investment Capacity Building Project (BALADI CAP), today celebrated the conclusion of eight years of strengthening civil society and municipalities to meet the needs of the Lebanese people. The virtual event was held in the presence of U.S. Ambassador Dorothy C. Shea, USAID Lebanon Mission Director Mrs. Mary Eileen Devitt, members of Parliament, and representatives from more than 40 civil society organizations (CSO) and faith-based organizations (FBO).
The $18.1 million BALADI CAP project boosted the capacities of 52 CSOs, 11 FBOs, and 121 municipalities and municipal unions to effectively advocate on behalf of and improve basic services delivered for Lebanese communities and citizens. BALADI CAP also created three advocacy CSO networks to tackle issues related to the environment, human rights, accountability, and good governance. These networks improved CSOs’ access to parliamentary committees, policymakers, and decision-makers, as well as fostered cooperative relationships with key government ministries. One illustrative example is BALADI CAP’s work on public procurement. The project established a platform for civic engagement and dialogue with the Lebanese Parliament, introduced the use of a regulatory impact assessment methodology to the Lebanese Parliament to improve transparency and accountability, and developed guidelines and checklists for effective oversight over public procurement.
Ambassador Shea praised the project’s positive impacts on public policy issues, organizational governance, and support to local constituencies. Ambassador Shea noted: “For decades, the United States government has endeavored to build the capacity of civil society in Lebanon so that it is best equipped to effectively contribute to Lebanon’s social and economic development. Today, we gather to celebrate the many successes that we have achieved together in recent years through USAID’s BALADI CAP program. We engaged 52 civil society organizations (CSOs) and 12 faith-based organizations across the country to support civic engagement, capacity building, and media activities.”
Representatives from BALADI CAP lead partner organizations, Counterpart International (CPI) and Management Systems International (MSI), also delivered remarks at the event. CPI Chief Executive Officer Ann Hudock stated that “Counterpart International is proud to have partnered with USAID and MSI to support civil society and municipalities in enhancing democratic governance in Lebanon.” MSI Director of Operations for the Middle East and Asia Tracey Brinson added that “MSI feels proud to have been a part of such an important project which strengthened and gave voices to the people of Lebanon during very challenging times.”
Through USAID’s support, BALADI CAP contributed to USAID’s goal of assisting countries on their journey to self-reliance, which will empower local organizations, governments, and citizens to take ownership of and drive development priorities throughout the country. In Lebanon, BALADI CAP helped create a new generation of CSOs that embrace international best practices in institutional development. The more capable and transparent that Generation CAP institutions are, the more they will contribute to building a stronger civic culture and more democratic governance in Lebanon.