UNICEF’s Cash 4 Work programme provides jobs, and boosts social and gender cohesion in Lebanon

Countless are the examples of positive bridges of social cohesion built across genders as young men and women bonded through teamwork and a shared goal of the successful delivery of their projects

Simon Balsom
Rebecca, 21 year old
UNICEF2020/Fouad-Choufany/Lebanon
16 June 2020

In May 2019, funded by the government of Germany through the German Development Bank KfW and in partnership with national NGOs LOST, ANERA and LRC, UNICEF Lebanon’s Adolescent and Youth Programme expanded its skills training and employment support service component through a pioneering Cash 4 Work (C4W) programme in recognition of the challenges faced by today’s youth.

By March 2020, this programme had trained and referred  2,358 youth to the UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) section, and has employed 1,419 youths.

Involved in the rehabilitation of seventeen springs and the construction of thirty-three reservoirs, each beneficiary was provided with a minimum of 40 days paid work, with some periods extended, and for others the offer of full-time work awaited at the end of their C4W programme.

An additional 2,573 youth were trained on construction and WASH skills- all of whom were unemployed, and many of whom had never worked before at all. All 2,573 were then provided with income generation opportunities through community improvement activities consisting of work in solid waste management, construction and rehabilitation of poor households.

21-year-old Rebecca had barely worked at all since leaving school at 18. “One month in a shop doesn’t really count for much,” she says. “So, I was excited by the thought of working on the UNICEF programme.

One of the entrances of the reservoirs
UNICEF2020/Fouad-Choufany/Lebanon
Rebecca while working on rehabilitation
UNICEF2020/Fouad-Choufany/Lebanon

After thirteen days training, she spent the next 40 days at the programme’s Rachiine site.

“As a girl on a construction site, some might expect me to have had problems with my colleagues or problems with the work. In fact,” Rebecca recalls, “everyone was helpful and welcoming!”

“We mostly worked as a team together – male and female.

“It was only the heavy lifting jobs that I didn’t do. The young men I worked with suggested I shouldn’t even try and, to be honest, I was happy not to!

“As a woman on a construction site, I didn’t feel like an intruder at all. I’m proud and happy to have represented women on this project”.

Countless are the programme’s examples of positive bridges of social cohesion built across genders as young men and women bonded through teamwork and a shared goal of the successful delivery of their projects.