UNICEF’s Social Policy program focuses on policy analysis, technical support, programme implementation, and advocacy with the aim of reducing poverty for girls and boys and their families in Lebanon.
Around one-quarter of Lebanese people live in poverty and, worryingly, families with children are far more likely to be poor. For the non-Lebanese and largely refugee population, poverty rates are significantly higher with almost 3 out of 4 non-Lebanese being poor. Today, 1.4 million children across all nationalities live in deprivation. Significantly, children living in poverty are less likely to remain in school, grow up healthy, and transition into a decent job.
Over recent years, inequality has significantly increased to extremely high levels. One assessment estimates the top 10% of the adult Lebanese population receive more than half of Lebanon’s total national income. Also, gender inequality in Lebanon is particularly concerning – women face numerous cultural and social barriers – women’s unemployment is twice that of men.
Lebanon faces numerous challenges concerning public spending, and national resources are limited, often inefficiently and ineffectively allocated, and supported with frequently low Public Financial Management capacity.
The nation’s social protection network is weak and dominated by limited impact programmes and fragmented initiatives. Non-Lebanese families also require urgent assistance to protect them from resorting to negative coping strategies – including the removal of their children from education and sending them to work.
A key element in UNICEF’s response focuses on promoting national dialogue and technical support for the implementation of evidence-based gender-sensitive policies for inclusive development, including social protection, across four areas:
- Inclusive development to tackle child poverty and child rights
- Public finance for children
- Social protection
- Local level governance and accountability
UNICEF’s solution is to build institutional capacities and strengthen national and sub-national government and civil society organizations to:
- Monitor and analyse multidimensional child poverty and inequities
- Promote evidence-based, gender-sensitive budget and policy analysis and advocacy for inclusive development at a national and local level for children
- Support the development of child- and gender-sensitive social protection systems and programmes
Our Key Achievements
- National Social Protection Roadmap: UNICEF collaborated with the Ministry of Social Affairs to develop a roadmap to support Lebanon’s move toward a national social protection framework
- Public Finance for children: UNICEF designed and delivered capacity-building for government officials on public finance management and its impacts on children.
- Social Assistance for refugee children and their families: since 2016 UNICEF implemented a child-focused social assistance programme - Min Ila/No Lost Generation – that had significant impacts in reaching around 50,000 girls and boys with a monthly cash transfer, household visits, and a multi-sectoral referral system.
UNICEF implemented Min Ila/No Lost Generation programme that had significant impacts in reaching around 50,000 girls and boys with a monthly cash transfer, household visits, and a multi-sectoral referral system.