CSP Promotes Employment Opportunities for 130 Persons with Disabilities
The ongoing economic crisis that hit Lebanon in 2019, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Beirut Port explosion in August of 2020, plunged 80% of residents into poverty and led to widespread unemployment and limited access to basic services for a significant portion of the population. Persons with disabilities (PWD) are considered among the most disadvantaged in Lebanon, with their unemployment estimated at 85% (United Nations, 2020). To stabilize the incomes of those who are most vulnerable, i.e., the disabled, and building on CSP’s previous experience in the design and implementation of cash for work schemes in different Lebanese regions, the USAID Community Support Program (CSP) launched in October 2023 a new cash-for-work intervention that aims to provide 130 persons with disabilities with temporary employment that would stabilize their income over a three-month period.
This CSP intervention is in partnership with Arc-en-Ciel (a local NGO which works in disability advocacy, empowerment, and employment). PWD participants in the cash for work interventions will receive a net wage of $12/day each and through Arc-en-ciel’s job placement program will be placed in meaningful jobs at Arc-en-Ciel workshops, at USAID implementing partners, and at Lebanese private sector companies. The USAID cash for work intervention will also provide Arc-en-ciel with the needed assistive tools that would enable PWDs to participate in the cash-for-work intervention.
To-date, CSP has solicited more than 500 applications from PWD to be part of this intervention and has selected 130 participants to be enrolled in different cash for work activities, under strict eligibility requirements that prioritize most economically disadvantaged PWD. As part of the cash-for-work’s objective to advance PWD temporary employment across USAID implementing partner organizations in Lebanon, on November 7, 2023, CSP gathered 16 representatives from eight USAID implementing partners and Arcenciel to provide an overview of the cash for work intervention. As a next step, CSP will solicit job request forms from USAID implementing partners, so the latter could request to hire PWD with specific skills. This would mark the official process of placing PWD in positions under USAID implementing partner organizations.
“People with disabilities should be treated equally. USAID is taking a great initiative, and all partners should reinforce Lebanon’s approved law 220/2000 concerning the rights of people with disabilities”, said Lubna Souheil, Senior Higher Education Specialist at the USAID-funded Higher Education Capacity Building (HECD) program during the meeting.