5 Minutes of Inspiration: One Neighborhood – Stronger Together

5 Minutes of Inspiration: One Neighborhood – Stronger Together


With the local NGO Akkarouna, CARE in Lebanon has provided shelter and access to services for some of the most vulnerable communities hosting Syrian refugees.

Salma and her two siblings were living in dire conditions in one of the most highly vulnerable and marginalized areas in north Lebanon. The family also had mental and physical disabilities, and no source of income. Salma’s shelter is a one-room structure with no window and no lockable door, nor a toilet or a kitchen. But CARE in Lebanon helped the family get back on their feet, providing locks and a toilet so they can live in safety and dignity, and connecting them to service providers to meet their specific needs and additional support.

In Tripoli, many Lebanese residents – landlords included – are often living in standards as poor as those of the refugees. The influx resulting from the ongoing Syrian crisis has exacerbated underlying and often extreme poverty issues, sowing the seeds of resentment and causing tension. CARE’s “One Neighborhood Approach” is not a single project. Rather, it is a programmatic approach that bridges several areas of expertise – shelter, housing and settlements, infrastructure, livelihoods, markets and economics, community-based protection mechanisms and community regeneration –  through which inclusive governance is mainstreamed. CARE recognized the importance of working with the whole community, so individuals are targeted according to need, while the wider neighborhood is improved through communal spaces and shared infrastructure. The needs, concerns and rights of both landlords and tenants are addressed through tripartite rental agreements generating greater tenure security alongside physical improvements to the building and living space.

The “One Neighborhood Approach” in Lebanon has been funded by BPRM since 2015, with $7 million cumulatively reaching over 5,000 people directly through household-level shelter interventions and 20,000 people through community infrastructure, both refugees themselves or hosts.


What did we accomplish?

  • Community Committees are created and empowered, representing the diversity of backgrounds and interests of the local neighborhood: “Unity Committees” were established and now have a total of 213 active members (194 female, 19 male) who have received training to strengthen their capacities in community-based protection and shelter-related concerns. Topics include early marriage, domestic violence, conflict resolution, communication skills, and Participatory Approaches to Safe Shelter Awareness (PASSA).
  • People live in improved quality housing: Moving from substandard shelter to a home, and in so doing having access to a safe and healthy environment, protects privacy and dignity, and leads to comfort and wellbeing in displacement. 1,416 shelters have been improved, of which 91 percent of beneficiaries reported satisfaction with the quality of work done.
  • Families gain improved security of tenure – and reduce the risk of eviction, particularly for the most vulnerable: 94 percent of survey respondents were still residing in the same dwelling three months post-intervention. Those who left were all Syrians and all confirmed moving to bigger apartments. In June 2018 (two years after the first interventions), 84 percent of beneficiaries were still residing in the same dwelling. The eviction rate was found to be two percent, which demonstrates that landlords largely followed the terms of the tenancy agreement signed before the shelter rehabilitation. 14 percent of families confirmed that they left the house, but they were not evicted.
  • Landlords benefit from improvements to their properties in the long term: At the same time, landlords are meeting the immediate needs of refugees in their neighborhood, with high satisfaction rates of the rehabilitation reported by landlords.
  • Collective engagement in community projects: This engagement, whether at the building or neighborhood level, stimulates shared interests, a sense of ownership and belonging, a safer environment and improved relationships.
  • Generated greater understanding of and sensitivity to the challenges affecting people with different needs and abilities: Particularly with a focus on protecting women and children within the neighborhood.
  • Leading a successful pilot approach that is being adopted by UNHCR and other agencies and replicated in other countries in the Middle East: The One-Neighborhood Approach proved to be successful throughout CARE’s implementation, and adopted as UNHCR’s “area-based approach” and in Solidarité’s “Al-Hay”.

How did we get there?

  • Active engagement of the community on challenges they encounter on a day-to-day basis to identify key areas for physical improvements in access, drainage and lighting.
  • Deep understanding of neighborhood dynamics, generated through multiple layers of engagement and mapping.
  • Broad sweep of household assessments (over 3,000 in total) validated the findings at the neighborhood and city level, and helped identify those most in need.
  • Profound community buy-in through a lengthy preparatory process of participatory engagement to ensure the most vulnerable families were identified and prioritized for assistance by the communities themselves.
  • Peer-to-peer training and strengthening of capacity in social protection issues was provided within the communities.
  • Integrated activities ensured complex needs for shelter, water, sanitation, protection and communal spaces were addressed in a holistic manner, multiplying the impact of each intervention.

Want to learn more?

Check out the approach summary, a story about a landlord and her tenants, and watch the video on the project.


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