UNICEF’s Palestinian Programme aims to further children's rights, improve access to essential services, strengthen the protective environment and promote social inclusion of vulnerable Palestinians.
UNICEF’s Palestinian Programme in Lebanon (PPL) aims to further the realization of children's rights, and improve access to basic services. For more than 60 years, UNICEF's Palestinian Programme in Lebanon has worked with partners assisting Palestinian children and mothers in accessing primary health care, education, child protection, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and adolescent skills-building programme activities.
Currently, the number of Palestine refugees in Lebanon is approximately 192,000 (174,422 Palestine refugees in Lebanon and 17,706 Palestine refugees from Syria).Palestinian refugees in Lebanon (PRL) and Palestinian refugees from Syria (PRS) living in the country's numerous Palestinian neighbourhoods and 12 Palestinian camps face social exclusion, are regarded as foreigners, and are effectively excluded from enjoying most civil and socio-economic rights. Palestinians in Lebanon are barred from owning property and from working in more than thirty occupations including all liberal professions. According to the 2015 AUB/UNRWA survey:
- 89% of PRS are in poverty (cannot meet their basic food and non-food needs set at US$6.84/person/day), with 9% living in extreme poverty (unable to meet essential food requirements set at US$2.47/person/day)
- 65% of PRL are in poverty, while 3% live in extreme poverty
- 56 % of Palestine refugees are jobless
At both community and household levels, violent disciplinary practices remain prevalent, affecting 81.7 per cent of Palestine refugee children in Lebanon and 77 per cent of Palestinian refugee children from Syria. Child labour and child marriage are increasingly used as coping mechanisms against deepening financial constraints.
Application of the child protection system and associated mechanisms at the national level remains limited within the context of the Palestinian refugee camps.
Eight out of ten Palestinian children are subject to violent discipline. Palestinians living in Lebanon have, along with the Lebanese population, suffered the consequences of the Syria conflict, and their living conditions have generally worsened considerably.
Resources are scarce, services are over-stretched, and their legal rights remain limited. The influx of Palestine refugees from Syria has aggravated the situation further, leading to increased vulnerability among the Palestinian population in Lebanon.
UNICEF and UNRWA are collaborating to ensure that Palestinian children have access to high-quality Maternal and Child Health services, including immunization and breastfeeding support.
Palestinian Programme in Lebanon focuses on three axes of intervention:
- Strengthening the quality and scope of UNRWA’s work: this includes programmatic and technical guidance and support, management and monitoring and evaluation support, as well as funding of project-based interventions related to UNICEF's priority themes - Child Survival; Child Development; Child Protection; and Youth Programming.
- Addressing critical gaps in UNRWA’s assistance to Palestinian refugee children: this includes programmatic interventions in partnership with consortia of NGOs in the areas not covered (or covered only marginally) by UNRWA - Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED); Non-Formal Education; Community-Based Child Protection and Psychosocial Support; Life Skills programming; Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
- Advocacy component: working with the government and donors to support the implementation of the recommendations of the ‘Lebanese Working Group on Palestinian Refugees Affairs in Labor and Social Security for Palestine Refugees’ and ‘Youth Strategy for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon 2019-2025’ documents prepared by the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC) - an inter-ministerial government body formed by the Lebanese Council of Ministers in 2005.