Based on having faith in the human being and feeling his pain, BCTS (Business Consultancy and Training Services), under the patronage of the Ministry of Labor and in collaboration with the General Labor Union in Lebanon and the Participation of the Ministry of Social Affairs, has organized a forum to reveal the latest news and updates of the “MoreThanAjob” project – “Reinforcing Social and Solidarity Economy for the Unemployed, Uneducated, and Refugees” after 18 months of intensive work on meetings and discussions between the public and private sectors to achieve the project's goal, in addition to the "Training of Trainers" trainings with our partners in Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Greece, and Italy. The European Union is funding this project through the ENI CBC MED Initiative.
The Forum was opened with a video presentation of the project, followed by a press conference featuring speeches from the National Contact Point of the Cooperative Program across borders for the European Union, Eng. Mohammed Itani, the Ministry of Labor's Representative, Eng. Mariam Al Akoum, and the Ministry of Social Affairs' Representative, Dr. Asem Abi Ali, the President of the General Labor Union in Lebanon, Dr. Bechara Asmar and finally, Dr. Wafaa Haidamous, the Managing Director of BCTS
Mrs. Laila Al Dahouk was the Host of the event.
Eng. Mohammed Itani
Eng. Mohammed Itani, the National Contact Point of the Cooperative Program across borders for the European Union, spoke about the project’s importance that will offer many job opportunities.
He also pointed to the project's stages of training leaders in the Public Sector, particularly the Ministry of Education (General Directorate of Vocational and Technical Education), the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Social Affairs, also with the contribution of the Private Sector and organizations from civil society. Itani also stressed on convoying all the stages of the work execution until reaching its success as we are used to from The European Union. Furthermore, Itani affirmed the aptitude of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers to offer the needed support to accomplish the intended goals.
Eng. Mariam Al Akoum
Eng. Mariam Al Akoum, the Ministry of Labor's Representative, expressed her Excellency Minister of Labor's, Dr. Lamia Yammine's, gratitude for the efforts made within the framework of the project to strengthen socio-economic solidarity for the unemployed, uneducated, and refugees. She has also emphasized the Ministry of Labor's support and inducement for this project until it achieves its righteous goals, and to overcome the obstacles that obstruct the accomplishment of its various stages due to its unique value, particularly in this difficult time that Our Country is going through, and in the midst of a severe economic crisis.
She added: “Working together to establish a real connection between the parties involved in order to stimulate economic activity and create a suitable environment to solve unemployment and achieve the highest degree of solidarity with refugees and immigrants without education. Eliminate potential risks, and enhance their educational capacity and experience, and restrict them to provide the necessary support to small and medium-sized institutions to achieve the improved state that we will rely on to create future economic development and encourage economic growth.” Al Akoum noted that the results of the project began to be reflected in the increase of the vocational training of young people and their real contribution to production and work, which of course marked an important success.
Dr. Asem Abi Ali
Dr. Asem Abi Ali, the representative of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Chief Supervisor of the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan, thanked BCTS and all partners, especially the European Union for the project, and wished the success of this project due to its optimistic outcomes on our social and economic actuality. The crisis is being repressed and accelerated, from the financial and monetary crisis to the COVID19 crisis that affects the powerful country and the most powerful economy, to the port explosion and its impact. more than 60% of Lebanese and 9 out of 10 refugees live below the poverty line, much less more than 40%. The unemployment rate is high, all of which has enabled Lebanese people to live a dignified life and achieve almost impossible youth dreams and goals. From here, the project is symbolizing hope and efforts to improve this. This is an opportunity to build capacity and create jobs for the Lebanese host community as well as the refugee community. Similar projects will reduce pressure and confrontation, increase harmony and contribution, provided that they comply with general laws and conditions and are under the control of the Ministry of Labor, especially in sectors permitted by law to regulate refugee employment.
Dr. Asem emphasized the important role of the civil society in the process of rejuvenating the crisis. He added that without the synergy and collective efforts of the country, the cooperation of the civil society and public institutions, and the support of friends from all Lebanon's countries, especially the EU, the crisis couldn’t be overcome.
Finally, on behalf of the Ministry of Social Affairs, he emphasized the need to separate the principle of social solidarity of host communities and refugees from the legal principle of prohibition of mergers and any form of relocation, and emphasized the complete rights of refugees. This is an honor to be able to return to Syria safely and voluntarily. The skills they acquired here rebuild their country.
Dr. Bechara Al Asmar
The president of the General Labor Union in Lebanon, Dr. Bechara Al Asmar, stated that the alliance between the Federation of Trade Unions and the Forum is based on supporting the workforce in various ways, from an initiative to strengthen solidarity in all scopes to a target group using well-designed, tangible technology to achieve this goal of justice. Al Asmar believes that this forum and other similar seminars are the glimpses of the road coming out of the tunnel in this deep darkness, while the Federation of General Labor Union takes steps to deal with the repression of citizens and residents and even dangerous crises in all the groups. The ultimate goal of the General Labor Union is to resolve and maintain the remaining dignity of those who are humiliated in front of gas stations, pharmacies, and bakeries every day in the Lebanese society.
Finally, Al Asmar expressed gratitude to the countries committed to the project and expressed willingness to carry out cooperative initiatives with all relevant parties and this specific organization. He also asked different donors to disseminate this approach, these experiences, ambition and financial support to all parties who hope and can contribute to the success of the project.
Dr. Wafaa Haidamous
After welcoming the audience and journalists and thanking them for their contributions to this forum, Dr. Wafaa Haidamous, the Managing Director of BCTS who planned the forum, noted that the project has inspired people to believe that Lebanon is an end goal. A country that will not perish even in the difficult economic, social and medical conditions that we live in.
She added: “From here on, we will draw attention to the role and importance of social integration in the sectors with which our institution has been collaborating over the years, especially in this project for about 18 months, as well as in the dialogue between governments. The importance of this. On one hand, the institutions, on the other hand, are participants in the organizations and institutions involved in the work of social integration”. She also briefly presented the objectives of the meeting, which began in the early stages of the project launched in 2019 and will continue until September 2022. Effective cooperation at all levels and comprehensive explanations of the current policies of public institutions by:
First, she noted the importance of recommendations to adjust these policies, provided that the public and private sectors cooperate.
Second, she emphasized on the important role played by the European Union in strengthening local partners in the Mediterranean region, especially in Lebanon. It should be noted that around forty projects are currently being implemented.
Third, it believes that the digital communication platform provides a continuous component of the project, and any part of civil society can benefit from it to show any progress that each relevant country is making, which will create employment opportunities for minorities. and for those in serious need.
Fourth, Training of Trainers is necessary for the project, and BCTS was responsible for preparing training materials for participating countries. These trainings are carried out virtually. Subsequently, each team of trainers from each country that participates in the partner has received training from the person in charge of the public sector and from the participants of the social and solidarity organization. They are more than 150 people.
Dr. Haidamous highlighted on the "Sub grants” that will be granted to the best project in each country with a value of 20,000 Euros for each project, abiding to the formerly declared conditions. The results will be announced between August and September 2021.
She concluded her speech by conveying gratitude to the project’s partners due to the challenges and difficult situations they faced, and they have demonstrated the ability to conquer any obstacle and produce successful cross-border partnerships.
Dr. Wafaa has expressed her gratitude to BCTS team, and greeted the hard work of the friends and beloved ones, who have put all their efforts with sincere love, to make this forum successful. She added: “Together, we can create job opportunities especially for young people in Lebanon to keep them in their home country”.
Participants: The Administrative and Legal Advisor to the Minister of Social Affairs, Mr. Pierre Baz, Mr. Hassan Fakih, the Vice President of the General Labor Union, Dr. Ahmed Jaber, the Chairman of the Social Affairs Committee of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, and Ms. Hanadi Mikdash, Head of the Employment and Guidance Directorate at the National Employment Office, moderated the panel, Mr. Joseph Farah.
With the virtual live presence of Dr. Imad Ibrik, the main Beneficiary, from An-Najah National University (Palestine), the project manager, Ms. Giulia Tarantino from (CESIE), responsible of the project in Italy, and Dr. Nabil Constantine, specialist in educational administration and the Managing Director of BCTS, Dr. Wafaa Haidamous, moderated the session Dr. Pascale Chemali.
Finally, the certificates were awarded to the trainees. Dr. Camale Cherfane read out the lectures of the trainees and thanked BCTS for organizing the project during these difficult days, especially the training theme and its importance.
Participants visited the booths of participating organizations and institutions under the initiative of the European Union to achieve coordination and unity between them.