CSP Supports Bechmezzine Municipality to Sign Its First Memorandum for “Diaspora Support to Local Communities”
For the past few decades and amidst recurrent crises, the Lebanese diaspora has played a key role in supporting their families still residing in Lebanon with much-needed financial assistance, as well providing essential items to their communities such as food and medication. Estimated at over $6 billion per year, the diaspora’s support has been especially crucial since the beginning of the 2019 economic crisis, which has devalued the local currency by more than 90%. As such, USAID’s Community Support Program (CSP) is capitalizing on existing diaspora support networks by working with the communities of Ain Ebel, Amioun, and Bechmezzine to contribute to local livelihoods and enhance public services in coordination with local NGOs. Within its “Diaspora Support to Local Communities” initiative, CSP is building the capacities of municipalities and local communities on proposal writing, structuring memoranda of understanding (MoU), good governance systems, and financial management to better design and implement participatory mechanisms to improve diaspora contributions to community development. On April 17, 2023, ten representatives from the diaspora committee attended the signing of a MoU between the Bechmezzine municipality and Zahrat Al Adab local NGO which will receiving Diaspora funding and implementing community development projects in cooperation with Bechmezzine municipality. Drafted with assistance from CSP, the MoU defines the collaboration framework between the two entities, clarifies roles and responsibilities, and includes a clear financial management process that aims to ensure transparency with the diaspora.
“We successfully completed the first step towards establishing a comprehensive collaboration framework with the community. Implementation might be challenging, but we need to be diligent, transparent, honest, and straight-forward”, stated Alia Fares, member of the Bechmezzine local committee for coordination with the Diaspora.