29 December 2016, The ‘Waste Collection and Sorting’ project in Rasnhash (Batroun) was launched by the Rene Moawad Foundation. The launching took place with the collaboration of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) and the Municipality of Rasnhash. The project falls under the ‘WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) Assistance for Syrian refugees and affected populations in Tripoli/T5’ program, implemented by UNHCR in partnership with RMF and in cooperation with the Municipality of Rasnhash – Batroun.
The launching was attended by RMF’s General Director, Mr. Nabil Moawad; the Vice-President of the Union of Municipalities of Batroun, Nasr Farah; Lt-Colonel Najib Al Nabbout, representing the head of the Army’s Intelligence Office in the North, General Karam Mourad, Mr. Kamil Murad, Sheikh Shadi Al Sheikh, Rasnhash’s Public School director Mr. Fadel Hammoud, a number of mayors and mukhtars, municipal council members, educational and social dignitaries, the mayor of Rasnhash engineer Ihab Kalawun, in addition to resientss from the area.
The event started by the Lebanese national anthem, followed by a welcoming address by Mrs. Chantal Shehadeh. Then RMF’s General Director, Sheikh Nabil Moawad gave the following speech:
“Since its creation, RMF aimed to protect the individual citizen and his values, and to help him enjoy a dignified life, without any distinction related to his religion, his community or his region. To achieve this, the foundation started implementing development projects, since the 1991, in all of Lebanon serving all equally.”
“Our presence today in Rasnhash, Batroun, in North Lebanon, a region that is dear to us. President Moawad was from North Lebanon and knew its needs. Here we are today in Rasnhash, as we were a month ago in Jezzine, the Chouf, Akkar, Mount Lebanon, Jounieh and other places needing development projects.”
“If we as Lebanese don’t join forces to move forward in this country – which would reflect positively on all -, the needs will remain very high. With this in mind, we, along with our partners in these projects including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR in the North, and specifically in the districts of Koura, Batroun, Zgharta Danniyeh and Tripoli, are inauguration today this project which Mr Farah spoke about stressing on its importance.
“Talking about human values, the most basic is to secure a decent life for the individual, and that a crisis such as the present waste crisis does not make us loose our basic rights, and make them become mere wishes, whilst they in fact represent duties for the State to provide.”
“We at RMF put our hands with the civil society and the municipalities to implement these projects through our work partnership with the community and the understanding of its needs. The importance of this project is that it comes as a result of the cooperation between the civil society, the municipality, the donors and RMF.
“The committees play an important role for the successful continuation of the project, as they will play the role of overseeing its functioning following its launching today. We wish that this project lives for a long time, evolves and be successful. This will happen thanks to everyone’s joint efforts and in particular your efforts as citizens living in Rasnhash. The success will come through you, amongst whom there are women, who work in good conscience.”
“Success in this project will open the way for successes for the future projects that we hope to implement together. All will happen within the mission and objectives of President Rene Moawad, whom our foundation carries the name.”
Moawad concluded, thanking the UNCHR, “which helped by funding this project and implementing it. UNCHR’s contribution is essential in regard to the Syrian refugees, as we care at our best for the human being. I also thank the RMF team for its efforts, and the mayor of Rasnhash for his cooperation, patience and enthusiasm for the success of this project. I convey to you the salutations of RMF’s President Mrs. Nayla Moawad and RMF’s CEO Mr. Michel Moawad. ”
The mayor of Rasnhash engineer Ihab Kalawun spoke next. He noted the efforts of RMF’s team and said: “Now that the project has become our responsibility as a municipality and as a local community, we will do our best for its success and be the first pilot town in the region implementing a ‘Waste Sorting and Recycling’ project.”
Speaking about the project, what it consists of and how the waste from the project will be disposed of, he pointed out that “The municipality of Rasnhash is poor and has limited resources. The only budget we have comes from the municipality’s independent fund, while dealing with the waste takes more than 60% of the expenditure. This project reduces this burden and allows us to start to deal with waste treatment according to environmental standards, reducing the burden that is heavy on the citizens.”
“The Rene Moawad Foundation hired an expert to survey the environmental situation in Rasnhash, noting that the municipality received funding to open a public park in the town. We thank RMF and its team, and we thank the donors and all those who have contributed to make the project succeed. If the project succeeds, this will open the door for other projects that we need to be granted. We can make the project succeed by encouraging the civil society and the Rasnhash residents to reduce the amount of waste we are treating and recycling.”
“This is the first project in this area and we hope that our town will be a pilot town, that with all of your support. The municipality cannot succeed in implementing this project without the support of our people and their help in the sorting and recycling process.”
And he concluded: “This project will allow us to create jobs, make infrastructure development and protect our municipality.”
At the end all the participants posed for a group photo, before joining for a post-ceremonial reception.