May 27, 2024

The USAID-Funded Community Support Program Interns Facilitate Peace Building Efforts in Beqaa Communities

Launched in 2020, the USAID-funded Community Support Program (CSP) collaborates with USAID’s University Scholarship Program (USP) and the Higher Education Capacity Development (HECD) program to provide paid internships to undergraduate students and recent graduates. These internships offer essential professional experience and a vital source of income amid Lebanon’s ongoing economic crisis. To date, 253 students and recent graduates (57% females), from 11 Lebanese universities were placed in internships across 12 USAID implementing partners, 53% of whom secured employment following their internship completion.

Out of the 253 interns, ten are currently supporting CSP’s People-to-People (P2P) initiatives, which aim to enhance social cohesion by initiating peaceful dialogues among representatives of conflicting groups in vulnerable Lebanese communities. Two interns, Khaled Yafawi and Alain Zaiter, are collaborating closely with CSP’s local partner, Peace Labs, to facilitate dialogues within four villages in the Beqaa region. In May 2024, Peace Labs reported that the interns’ contributions significantly facilitated Peace Labs’ efforts to access key stakeholders and organize live gatherings. Their logistical planning and established connections within the targeted communities enabled the recruitment of several dialogue participants.

Engaging in dialogue sessions with community members who had rarely communicated with each other proved to be a turning point for me. Being part of promoting understanding has been incredibly enlightening and profoundly rewarding,” said Khaled Yafawi, USJ Economics graduate, and P2P Field Assistant Intern in Beqaa.



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