Chapter 5 Supporting Sustainable Livelihoods
5.1 Leaders Consortium in Jordan and Lebanon: Promoting Inclusive Local Economic Empowerment and Development to Enhance Resilience and Social Stability
To contribute to the economic self-reliance, resilience and social stability of displacement-affected populations in Jordan and Lebanon in preparation for durable solutions.
The Consortium was initially built by five agencies actively involved in livelihoods issues and alternatives to cash assistance in Jordan prior to the London conference in 2014 (DRC, Oxfam, Save the Children, CARE, ACTED). At the time, the programmatic space for engaging Syrian refugees in livelihoods activities was extremely limited and action-research was nearly non-existent in the field. In response, a strong research and evidenced- based advocacy component was built into the LEADERS project design from the ground up.
The Consortium identified two priority approaches to address hardships faced by hosting displaced populations in Jordan and Lebanon. These include: 1) improving access to sustainable livelihoods opportunities which was achieved by strengthening the employability of vulnerable individuals, linking them with placement opportunities, accelerating the growth of micro, small and medium-enterprises (MSMEs), and engaging in multi-level advocacy efforts to promote a refugee’s right to work; and 2) supporting improved local economic development and service delivery in communities hosting refugees – achieved through LEADERS helping build the capacity of local stakeholders such as community members, business leaders and local government to plan, direct and implement development priorities that support local investment and business stimulation. LEADERS empowers local communities to implement practical solutions that capitalize on local resources and assets to the challenges which they themselves identify.
Services of the Consortium include Technical, Industrial, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TIVET), helping micro, small and medium- size enterprises improve viability and profitability and creating collective problem solving among local stakeholders involved in social and economic development. The Consortium also facilitates increased investment in social and economic development priorities at the local level both of an urgent nature, such as critical infrastructure rehabilitation, and longer-term initiatives that improve the economic enabling environment. Beneficiaries are approximately split between 70% host community members and 30% refugees.
The programme represents a paradigm innovation in that it has created a comprehensive and interlinked set of services and supports short and long-term efforts to strengthen the enabling environment for livelihoods. The partnership itself is a process innovation in that the group came together to discover a way to meet a pressing need that did not have a clear solution or institutional support and subsequently found a way to deliver the needed services.
The success of the Consortium is partially found in its origin: an organic partnership of NGOs working in Jordan collectively seeking innovative solutions to the core livelihoods challenges faced by refugees and host communities. The design, which was based on existing pilot activities, was later adapted to a call for concepts and, at donor request, turned into a regional platform. The structure then developed for the project was intended to serve primarily as a coordination body that was not associated with a grant but which served as a platform for agencies and donors to engage.
During its exploratory design phase, the LEADERS consortium looked to adapt lessons and models employed in other contexts, including programmatic approaches such as Local Economic Development (LED) promotion and Community Driven Development (CDD). They also addressed a challenge foreseen in Jordanian and Lebanese municipalities: a lack of institutional mandate to engage host and refugee communities in the broader development process.
Good Practice Principles
While the coordination function for such a complex project is expensive, overall cost is reduced by housing a complex set of inter-related interventions under the same management structure, reducing the need for duplicating management and coordination costs.
Collective Resilience-Based Action
These activities aim to instil inclusive, locally-owned decision-making processes that use local resources and assets and reduce dependency on external assistance. By enhancing the role of the community in crucial decision-making processes, Consortium Members seek to empower local populations and build community resilience.
The programme improves social stability in the target locations, specifically by reducing tensions and conflicting narratives regarding the contribution/burden of hosting Syrian refugees in host communities. It aims to do so by focusing support primarily on the host communities and institutions as the primary driver of activities, while providing substantial resources behind host-identified investment priorities.
By engaging with local stakeholders the Consortium supports a collective analysis of economic and development challenges and opportunities in their area. Building the capacity of these actors to plan, direct and implement local development action plans, develop advocacy and fundraising strategies and implement practical solutions.
Contribute to Social Cohesion
The Consortium integrates social cohesion in all components of the project, supporting connections between stakeholders at various levels through dialogue and joint problem solving and contributing to improved inter-communal relations, equitable and gender-sensitive solutions and broad-based support for the Action.
DRC MENA, Oxfam, Save the Children, CARE, ACTED, Makhzoumi Foundation, four municipalities in Jordan, five cadastres in Lebanon.
Name: Made Ferguson