Individuals, companies and NGOs have been mobilizing their efforts to rebuild the city over the past month. Even though the majority of immediate needs have been met, there is still a long way to go, to help create sustainable change, and secure basic needs. Every bit of help can go a long way.
Accordingly, companies have shifted their strategies since the blast, to give back to the community, including cleanup efforts, securing food for families and volunteering in damaged areas. However, there is more to be done, that can be integrated into a responsible business framework. The key differentiator is for companies to use their core skills, to create programs that tackle urgent social and economic needs.
So what does Lebanon really need?
Lebanon and its people have been enduring unprecedented times over the past year. Poverty levels are on the rise, and the majority of the population are nearing or under the poverty line. This translates into families being unable to secure food, medicine, water and sanitary products. Moreover, the impact of COVID-19 means that schools are still closed, and families are struggling to provide a quality education for their children. In addition, due to the economic crisis, unemployment rates are skyrocketing, and opportunities, both locally and internationally, are scarce.
These issues are deep-seated and cannot be resolved through quick fixes. The solution, which companies can take charge of, is to create innovative programs and partner with existent organizations, to provide long-term support and empower communities to learn new skills, survive and ultimately thrive.
How can companies get started?
There are many ways which companies can get started to help give back to society, and safeguard the livelihood of vulnerable communities. The first step is for leaders and their teams to ask themselves, what are the core skills that we have, that society needs? And then, how can we share these skills to tackle the core needs of Lebanon?
Here are some ideas…
Pro bono services
Companies and professionals can offer expert services and trainings to struggling enterprises, NGOs and even individuals who need guidance. A small business may need your support to restructure and cut costs to survive. An NGO may need a new strategy on how to market itself and receive more donations to continue their relief efforts. Individuals who are unemployed may need help to strengthen their CVs, or are lacking soft skills. Figure out how to match society’s needs, with your company’s strengths, and get started.
Donations and support to impoverished areas can be structured in a way to make them more sustainable. Team members can work on seasonal campaigns to collect and distribute donations. Perhaps a winter clothes drive, to collect essential items for families could be the first step and can be replicated every season. Sponsoring a child’s education for a year can be done directly or through NGOs specialized in this field. Volunteering days can be scheduled for the coming year, to help in different areas where support is needed. Remember, long-term change starts with a single step in the right direction.
Find an organization to support
NGOs in Lebanon have been carrying out exceptional work for years, providing everything from relief efforts, food parcels, recycling solutions to emotional support. The importance of NGOs has become even more evident in recent months, as they work tirelessly and selflessly to safeguard societies.
Find an NGO whose mission and vision align that of your company, and reach out to support them. Here is a list of NGOs to get you started:
- Al Fanar Emergency Relief Program
To help rebuild and revive Lebanon, individuals need to come together and give back, companies need to create sustainable programs using their core skills and NGOs need to continue to secure support and funding to carry out their work. The responsibility is on everyone’s shoulders.