A health awareness event at the Blood Testing Laboratory in Deir Eimar

During the month of April, the USAID BALADI-supported municipal blood testing laboratory in Deir Eimar (Minieh-Dinnieh district) implemented by RMF collaborated with the Lebanese Nursing Syndicate to organize its first health awareness event in partnership with “Ibdaouna” Social Association of Deir Eimar, Future Scout in Lebanon, Beirut Arab University (BAU), The Lebanese Red Cross and the Blood Bank.
“Your health is your responsibility” event was held at the public square of Deir Eimar Municipality and showcased five medical stations including services and information on Diabetes, Blood Pressure, Physical body mass, Dialysis and Blood Donation. 220 persons attended the event and benefited from the free medical checkups, consultations and preventive and therapeutic advices at the stations. Moreover, the USAID-Supported Blood Testing Laboratory in Deir Eimar offered 50% discount vouchers to the visitors who needed medical tests.
The USAID BALADI project implemented by Rene Moawad Foundation contributed $124K to establish the blood testing laboratory in the existing municipal dispensary; the blood testing section had been identified by the municipality and community as a direct need to serve host community and refugees. USAID assistance included making the lab accessible to persons with disabilities, equipping it with the needed machines and testing instruments, and training staff on management, operation, and accounting.

Sports activities at the Tebbaneh Center

This May, various Soccer activities were concluded at RMF Center for Education and Protection services in Beb El Tebbaneh, Tripoli with a friendly sport match which brought together the children of the center from different age groups. Gold and silver medals were distributed to the winning teams (1st and 2nd place).

Invitation to Tender – Toula Aslout Project

As part of the Baladi Program, Rene Moawad Foundation and the municipality of Toula are calling for an invitation to tender for the establishment of a community center in Toula-Aslout (Zgharta district).

Interested applicants, can take the tender file from RMF offices in Achrafieh.

For more info on the bidding conditions, kindly click on the below images.

More trainings under the EU CSO project

Under the EU funded Project “Enhancing CSOs in the North and Akkar area for sustainable development”, RMF in collaboration with USJ organized different coaching sessions on Managerial Policies, Project Design, Advocacy and Fundraising events, to various Civil society organizations in Tripoli, Batroun, Zgharta, Dennieh, Kousba and Akkar.

More than 2,500 visitors at Kousba Public Garden and Events Venue.

In 2016 the USAID-funded BALADI project implemented by Rene Moawad Foundation provided $243,000 to help Kousba Municipality construct and equip a park and events venue to create jobs and increase the income of Kousba residents through the various activities that are organized annually in the venue. For the spring season 2017, Kousba municipality along with the CPC and Kousba Al Ghad Association organized 2 events at the USAID supported park during the months of April and May, 2017. The Spring exhibition took place for two days on April 29 and 30, 2017 and was visited by 2,500 persons. 9 MSMEs participated and in two days sold local products worth more than $4,000.Another event was held at the park on May 7, 2017 to celebrate “International Laughter Day” in collaboration with Caritas Lebanon – Koura Branch, where 300 visitors participated.

RMF at the four thematic seminars held in Tunis.

RMF General Director Mr. Nabil Moawad attended the four thematic seminars held in Tunis last month, as a key expert speaker on the Youth challenges and employ-ability, in preparation of the Civil Society Forum Neighborhood South (10-12 July in Brussels).
In continuation of the EU effort to deepen its engagement with civil society, the 2017 edition of the Civil Society Forum – Neighborhood South took place through preparatory seminars for regional CSOs in April, and then, a multi-stakeholders Forum will be organized in Brussels in July. The 2017 Forum has been organized by European Institutions, the South advisory group of Southern CSOs (designated during 2016 Forum) and a team of civil society experts. Under the umbrella theme of “Youth and Resilience”, the 2017 forum provides a platform to raise pressing issues faced in the Euro-Mediterranean area, with the objective to enhance a constructive dialogue.

Donating a power generator to the St Joseph Church (Mazraat El Nahr) on behalf of RMF

Moawad: “Development was never for us an act we do to receive gratitude in return, but a right to provide.”

The Executive Director of the Rene Moawad Foundation, Michel Moawad stated that: “Development was never for us an act offered to receive gratitude in return, but a right to provide.” He added: “One should not be thanked for a duty he performs. The ties between us and the people of Mazraat El Nahr are much more than a donation or a power generator. Our ties with you are ties of brotherhood, conviction and presence. We admire the daily struggles you undergo to remain rooted in this sacred land, despite all the economic, social and daily-life difficulties that we are facing in Lebanon today and in particular in this region.” He added: “We remained the spearhead for development and for fighting corruption that has become a sickness in our country each one of us suffers from.”
Moawad’s words came in a ceremony during which RMF presented a power generator to the Commission of St Joseph’s “Wakf” in Mazraat El Nahr, in the presence of the priest of the parish Father Sarkis Khalil, the Mokhtar Georges Khalil and residents from the town.
After the event, everyone gathered at the church’s hall where the Mokhtar Khalil gave a speech in which he said: “You have visited us several times, and each time our town was dressed like for a festival and everyone was joyous. Today, you visit us again, carrying good news. We therefore thank you for your visit… Thank you for being amongst us. Thank you for all those who are accompanying you and have entered our humble town.” Khalil then shared a poem for the occasion.
This was followed by RMF’s Executive Director Michel Moawad’s speech, in which he said: “I am today amongst my family and my brothers. I first want to thank you for your warm reception to me. I had missed you all after a period in which we were not in touch… As for today’s donation, one should not be thanked for a duty. The ties between us and the people of Mazraat El Nahr are much more than a donation or a power generator. Our ties with you are ones of brotherhood, conviction and presence. We never considered development as offering something to receive gratitude in return, but we view it as a right for you, as you struggle daily to remain rooted in this sacred land, despite all the economic, social and daily-life difficulties that we are facing in Lebanon today, and in particular in this region.”
He added: “I would like to thank you for your reception, despite the fact that we have neglected you for some time. I personally feel this way. But this outside negligence was not because you were absent from my mind, my thoughts and my being. You know well how dear this town is to our hearts; what it symbolizes due to the historical relationship between us; and what this place means to us due to its geographical position right next to the holly valley. It is a historical place for us; the place where I was baptized.”
“We passed through a period where we were far from you, as we were healing our wounds; it was not because we meant to neglect you, and not because Mazraat El Nahr is far from our hearts and minds. We remained the spearhead for development and for fighting corruption that has become a sickness in our country each one of us suffers from.”
He continued: “Here we are today. We remained strong because of you. And despite our absence, you remained faithful to your beliefs and values, which we felt today in your joyful welcoming to us showing on your faces. You know well that when you are strong, we are strong too. You also know that with our presence, you are free, as throughout our relation with you we never tried to oppress you or dishonor you, God forbade. We always offered the hand of partnership, freedom, common work and balance, which is the fruit of a common will for partnership.”
He concluded: “We thank you for the exceptional welcoming, and I am very pleased to be amongst you today.”
The event was preceded by a mass at the St Joseph Church, led by Father Sarkis Khalil, served by the St Joseph chorus, and attended by Mr Moawad, the Mokhtar of the town Georges Khalil and local residents.
In his sermon, Father Sarkis Khalil focused on the ‘week of the blind’ and its theological meanings: “The blind man who recovered his eye-sight due to his faith in Jesus.” Father Khalil also welcomed “the president of the Independence Movement Michel Moawad and those accompanying him.” He explained: “For a long time, we never had a request from President Rene Moawad that he did not satisfy. His name is written in history. His name is also mentioned in every village of our region, and it is linked with mercy, as he was martyred because he refused to sell his country. Minister Nayla Moawad too, always provided support and help, discreetly, without talking about it. She has gained our highest respect, as she is a Lady in the full sense of the word. And you are walking in their footsteps. We thank you and present our deepest respect to you because you are working for development and for the human dignity of the poor and the sick, and because you work to fulfill God’s will, not to buy votes. This is a blessing that we hope will stay with you throughout your path. No matter how great our capacity is, and how high our status is, if we don’t live like President Moawad did, we won’t reach Heaven. It is beautiful that a person living in this world doesn’t work only to reach the Parliament, but to reach Heaven. All your actions, Michel Beik, reflect what you really are. Mazraat El Nahr is your parish, and we are brothers to you. Our houses are all fully open to you, and I am all proud to stand by your side always, wherever you are standing.”
At the end of the mass, Father S. Khalil and Mokhtar G. Khalil presented an honor shield to Mr Moawad as the Executive Director of RMF; a token of thankfulness and appreciation for his person and for the RMF foundation.

Launching Activities for Promoting Rural Tourism and Sustainable Forest Management in Batloun

Beirut March 31, 2017 – The Building Alliance for Local Advancement, Development, and Investment (BALADI) program, funded by the United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by René Moawad Foundation (RMF), celebrated the launch of field activities under the rural development project in Batloun. The project, developed by the municipality and community of Batloun and neighboring areas, will promote eco-tourism and help ensure sound, sustainable management of forests. A USAID grant of $175,000 will be used to establish a 20 kilometer hiking trail and a tourism information office, to provide training for tourism guides, for pruning and for wood briquetting equipment. The project will create jobs and generate income from tourism for 200 local residents and to transform pruned vegetation into heating logs. In addition, the project will help around 2,000 residents from Batloun and four surrounding villages (Botmeh, Barouk, Khreibet El Chouf, and Maaser El Chouf) benefit from the reduced costs for heating their homes by utilizing the briquet logs.

The launch ceremony, held at the premises of the Batloun Municipality, was attended by USAID Lebanon Mission Director Dr. Anne Patterson; RMF Executive Director Mr. Michel Moawad; the Mayor of Batloun Municipality Mr. Marwan Kais; representatives from Barouk, Maaser El Shouf, Botmeh, and Khreibeh El Shouf municipalities; representatives from the Agricultural Cooperative of Batloun and Maaser El Chouf; representatives from Al Shouf Cedar Society; and other community members. The event also marked the distribution of pruning tool kits to ten local entities participating in the activities, and concluded with the cornerstone placement of the project’s rural tourism information office.

The Mayor of Batloun
The event started with the national anthems of Lebanon and the USA, this was followed by welcoming words by the Senior Communication Officer at RMF-BALADI Lynda Khalifeh, and then a speech by the Mayor of Batloun Marwan Kais. Kais thanked all the parties who supported the project, and all those who are helping for its success. He said that the project will bring “an added value to eco-tourism, starting in Batloun and expending to the neighbouring villages and maybe reaching the whole of the Chouf as Batloun will be a destination for those who are interested in eco-tourism and those who seek a clean environment. This is one of our main goals and priorities in the strategic planning that we have put for the coming 6 years at the municipality.”
He noted that the project was the result of the getting together of “an international funds granting mission, the USAID, a national NGO that works on all the Lebanese territories, the Rene Moawad Foundation, and a local NGO, the Al Shouf Cedar Reserve. This, of course, with the cooperation of the municipalities of Barouk, Maaser El Shouf, Botmeh, Khreibet El Chouf and the Agriculture Cooperative of Maaser El Chouf and Batloun, along with the Khreibet El Chouf Club and the Batloun Cultural and Sports Club. This indeed is a joint and collaborative work which is par excellence an example to follow.”
Kais then enumerated the special touristic attributes of Batloun and the projects that are planned for future implementation by the municipality in the fields of Ecology, Health Care, Culture, Sports, Agriculture and the Social field, in order to make Batloun a model village with a clean environment attracting numbers of visitors. He noted that to execute all those ambitious projects, proper funds should be found, along with a continuous and long-term support. He hoped that “NGOs and associations would find in Batloun and its municipality the proper location to offer support and help.” He concluded by thanking again the USAID, RMF and the Al Shouf Cedar Reserve, and all other partners in this project.
RMF’s Executive Director Michel Moawad then delivered a speech in which he said: “Here we are once again in the Chouf to launch a new project that is executed by RMF with the funding of USAID-Lebanon as part of the BALADI Program. Once again, we are being successful in an endeavor to face all what Lebanon is going through and all what the Lebanese are enduring these days. Once more, we are proving that real development requires first a will, second a decision, third a relatively modest funding most of the time, fourth transparency, and fifth the collaboration with local authorities and the cooperation amongst all the parties involved in the development activity.”
Moawad added: “Look at what is happening around us in Lebanon… News about corruption and squandering are the daily talk. The environment itself, just like the environmental economy, needs a waste landfill. On the other hand, look at the example of the Promoting Rural Tourism and Sustainable Forest Management in Batloun project: With the funding of $175,000 offered by USAID and the cooperation and participation of the Municipality of Batloun, the Al Shouf Cedar Reserve, along with the municipalities of Barouk, Maaser El Chouf, Botmeh, Khreibet El Chouf, the Agriculture Cooperative of Maaser El Chouf and Batloun, the Khreibet El Chouf Club and the Batloun Cultural and Sports Club, RMF was able to execute this project which will benefit 3,000 local residents, and will offer new job opportunities and generate more income through a range of activities that will reduce the chaotic cutting of trees for home heating. The activities will transform the remains of tree pruning into wood briquette logs for fire heating and will raise the awareness on the sustainable management of forests in Batloun and the neighbouring villages in the Chouf.”
He emphasized: “To summarize: Through just one project and with a very low budget compared to all the figures that we read about nowadays, we were able to hit several birds in just one stone. 3,000 local residents are benefiting, job opportunities are being created, strong efforts have been made to preserve the wonderful environment of the Chouf, at a time when the Environment is absent from the Lebanese’s State official agendas. We therefore managed through this project to link people’s interests with the local economy by protecting the environment, instead of cutting our trees and destroying our forests…”
He added: “This project has succeeded because it is the fruit of collaboration between three entities. First, USAID, who has funded it; this funding is of course from the American people. Second, the local authorities, meaning the municipalities and civil organizations, which know the needs of their region, and without whom it would be impossible for similar projects to succeed. Third, RMF, who executed the project and linked the local authorities with the granting party. This trio has proven, one more time, that when there is proper collaboration between its members, it is capable to realize true achievements in improving people’s lives.”
Moawad called again for the formation of a pressure group that works for the activation of the role of local authorities, and empowering them through the implementation of wide scale decentralization, because “the local authorities – municipalities and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) – know more than anyone else the real needs of their regions, and can work with transparency being closer to the citizens that have elected them, and thus can be subject to accountability in a more efficient way.”
He also added: “I am honored that RMF has executed till this day 9 projects as part of the BALADI Program, and this covering all the regions of Lebanon: Enhancing the fishermen’s port in Jounieh, building a park for environmental and touristic activities in the Bentaal reserve (Jbeil), building a cold storage, sorting and packaging facility for apples and fruits in Ehmej (Jbeil), building a public garden and community hall for festivals and social and cultural activities in Kousba (Koura), creating a blood testing laboratory in Deir Aamar (Dunnieh), improving and rehabilitating the irrigation water conveyance network in Bazbina (Akkar), establishing and equipping a computer center in the public school of Hrar (Akkar), building a center of skill training and a space of games and children’s activities in addition to an outdoor area for festivals and exhibitions at the Abra municipality (Saida), and here in the Chouf, we have also worked on a project for promoting rural tourism in Barouk-Freydis.”
He also shared that RMF has executed all these projects “with pride so that the Lebanese citizen remains in his homeland. And we are now preparing for the execution of 22 new projects in the various parts of Lebanon, distributed as follows: 10 projects to promote rural tourism and the increase of income, 4 projects for power and electricity generation, lighting streets or heating water by using solar panels, 4 projects to rehabilitate and enhance water canals, 1 project to empower and support youth initiatives, 1 project to generate income through food processing, 1 project to establish a drinking water network, 1 project to rehabilitate a public school… Amongst these projects, the Chouf again will be gifted with two more projects: Creating an eco-touristic area in Bchatfeen, and building and equipping water irrigation canals in Maaser El Chouf. All these projects, which are part of the BALADI Program funded by USAID, will be benefiting more than 175,000 people in the various parts of Lebanon.”
Moawad concluded: “Therefore, please allow me to thanking first the American people and USAID for its continuous work to bring development to the various Lebanese regions and improve the living conditions of the Lebanese people. I would also like to thank the Batloun Municipality, the Al Shouf Cedar Reserve, and the municipalities of Barouk, Maaser El Shouf, Botmeh, Khreibet El Chouf, the Agriculture Cooperative of Maaser El Chouf and Batloun, the Khreibet El Chouf Club and the Batloun Cultural and Sports Club. And how could I forget the RMF team which proves project after project the extend of its professionalism. I thank you all for your presence with us. I hope that we meet again soon for the inauguration of new development projects.”
USAID Lebanon Mission Director Dr. Anne Patterson then spoke and said: “I am pleased to be here today in this beautiful region of Chouf district to celebrate the placement of the foundation stone of a project that will improve livelihoods in this region, while also protecting the environment.”
She continued: “The United States has long advocated for empowering local communities and bringing them together to promote local economic development and address social challenges. This is why USAID has worked hand in hand with the Lebanese people for decades to create strong communities that enhance the wellbeing of people, from increasing employment and economic opportunities to improving water and sanitation services. We believe that a local community, given the right resources can transform the future of towns and districts as well as the whole country.”
She added: “Over the past 10 years, USAID has been proud to invest more than 77 Million dollars to support municipalities throughout Lebanon to improve local services and stimulate local economic growth.”
And she explained: “The BALADI Project currently supports around 200 municipalities, directly or through Municipal Unions, to engage citizens in decision making and in responding to priority needs in their communities, spanning a number of critical sectors such as water and sanitation, agriculture, eco-tourism. These activities will improve the lives of more than 100,000 people. Today, here in Batloun, the municipality, in cooperation with 4 other municipalities and 6 local NGOs, decided to embark on this initiative stemming from its belief in the importance of sustainable management of forests.”
She stated: “This project is a testimony of the power of partnership between municipalities and communities to face growing challenges and keep moving forward. With your resolve and dedication, I am confident that this project will not only bring about a transformational change in the Chouf, but will also be a building block for a more prosperous future for Lebanon.”
The BALADI Program Director at RMF Natasha Marashlian and the manager of the Al Shouf Cedar SocietyNizar Hani then presented a general technical overview on the Enhancing Rural Tourism in Barouk-Freydis project.
The event also marked the distribution of pruning tool kits certificates to ten local entities participating in the activities, and concluded with the cornerstone placement of the project’s rural tourism information office.
The five-year $26 million USAID BALADI project is currently implementing 54 activities which engage 137 municipalities for socio-economic development throughout Lebanon. These supported activities meet the needs of communities in several sectors including: electricity generation through solar power, irrigation, access to potable water, income generation through rural tourism, agro-processing, entrepreneurship, and skills training, equipment for public schools and community health clinics, and community social and sports centers.