Lebanon CSP Transforming Lives_El Khiara
El Khiara, a small village in Lebanon’s West Beqaa Valley, used to be a ghost town after sunset. Nearly all the streetlights along the main road had been either broken or downtrodden over the years, making the village more prone to experience an uptick in robberies. Despite being a priority intervention for the village, the municipality did not have the financial resources to fix them amid Lebanon’s deepening economic crisis.
USAID’s Community Support Program (CSP) intervened and replaced the broken lights with 39 LED lights and installed seven solar streetlights. The activity is part of a larger USAID-backed initiative that is improving the delivery of essential services and enhancing economic opportunities in underserved communities, primarily in Lebanon’s North, South, and Beqaa Valley.
Prior to the intervention, two residents, Fadwa and Khaleel, who own shops along the main road, were forced to close their stores early when they noticed strangers driving through the town. Now they are able to keep their stores open into the evening, alleviating their financial strain by providing them with needed income. CSP also supported the municipality in launching a Facebook group for residents to share concerns directly with representatives.
Abo Arabi, a lifetime resident of El Khiara, says the new streetlights are playing a major role in mending the village’s social fabric. El Khiara has long been known as a town where Lebanese residents live together peacefully with Syrians — not only refugees, but also longtime residents who originally moved to the area to work in agriculture. However, the deteriorating security situation led to tensions within the community. This worsened when El Khiara was forced to close its public spaces due to safety concerns, further limiting interaction between community members.
With the lights back on, the municipality is able to rebuild trust within the village. “Before, everyone was concerned about safety. Now our children play outside in the evening, and we use the public garden at night. We feel the positive change,” Abo Arabi says.