After a couple of years working on the human rights and humanitarian sector, always at Headquarters level, I felt the pressing need to finally get to see with my own eyes the realities on the ground.
This is why I decided to apply for the position of EU Aid Volunteers in Protection with We World GVC Lebanon, where I have been deployed for already seven months.
We World GVC intervention in Lebanon focuses on the response to the Syrian crisis and the massive forced displacement it has led to. Most of the displaced Syrians are hosted by neighboring countries, including Lebanon, where Syrian communities are scattered all around the country. The Beqaa valley, where I live, is one of the areas with the highest concentration of Syrian refugee population. It is also one of the country’s most neglected and disenfranchised regions.
Most of the refugees in this area live in Informal Tented Settlements (ITSs) where they lack basic infrastructures. We World GVC works in many of these ITSs, providing among other services water tanks and latrines. In addition to this, We World GVC is implementing an innovative methodology, known as the Community Protection Approach (CPA). Its aim is to shift from short-sighted interventions where services are merely “delivered” by agencies to “beneficiaries”, to a process where communities themselves are placed at the center. Thus, the communities are empowered to claim the rights they are entitled to, regaining their agency and becoming real actors of their lives and not just passive recipients of aid.
Though my work is mainly a desk-type one, I have been lucky enough to accompany my field colleagues several times. I have witnessed how community members are excited when they see us arrive, how they open themselves about their concerns, share their challenges and propose to us the solution that best matches their needs. And I have seen my local Lebanese colleagues, from whom I am learning a lot both professionally and personally, not treating them with superiority but with dignity and respect.
What I have seen in the field has only made me more proud of being part of this process, contributing my time and skills as an EU Aid Volunteer, and has strengthened my belief in the value of the humanitarian work.
ALEJANDRA ACEBO CRESPO, EU Aid Volunteer in Protection in Lebanon
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