Being a partner with IUCN ROWA in the SEARCH project, The Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL) during its final phases in the project have targeted the rehabilitation of two old water tanks and their networks in the village of Rwaiymeh (in Karmchbat area-Upper Akkar). In addition to the installation of a new plastic water tank so that water will reach all households in the village even the ones located at higher levels than the old water tanks.
The final phase of the “The Social, Ecological, and Agricultural Resilience in the face of Climate Change” (SEARCH) project focused on the implementation of pilot projects as a result of the social and ecological vulnerability assessments that were conducted in the earlier phases of the project. The assessments presented Aydamoun- Karmchbat as the most vulnerable area when compared to Qobayat and Andaket in the Upper Akkar Watershed and thus, needs urgent support. In this regard, the implementation of the pilot projects took place in this village.
The first project and the most important intervention targeted the rehabilitation of two old water tanks and their networks in the village of Rwaiymeh (in Karmchbat area-Upper Akkar) in addition to the installation of a new plastic water tank so that water will reach all households in the village even the ones located at higher levels than the old water tanks. This helped address the issue of water shortage and improved the quantity of water available for both potable and agricultural usages. According to the locals, this project was a huge success because it had a direct effect on the community since water was now available for more than 60 households.
“We are now able to move back to our houses in the village because water is available to us. Before the rehabilitation of the tanks, we were forced to live outside the village.” - said a local woman at the village.
This project not only had a huge impact on the livelihoods of the local people, but also solved many conflicts that were occurring in nearby villages due to the water shortages.
In addition, two smaller-scale activities were implemented; the first was providing the local women with utensils to produce dairy products; and the second included supplying local men with beehives to produce honey to sell. These activities were seen as enhancing the livelihoods of the locals by creating alternative sources of income.
After the pilot projects were successfully implemented in the study area the local community were perceived to possess limited knowledge and awareness about water-use, water conservation, forestry and climate change.The misuse of natural resources (including water and forest) was highlighted as the major problem. All this had been identified in consolidation between the local and national committees, where all stressed the need to raise awareness of the local community in relation to climate change, water and other environmental issues.
In order to fill this knowledge gap, another pilot project was suggested in the frame of the SEARCH project which resulted in the development of an educational program for Hima Upper Akkar as well as an educational booklet. The program aided to provide awareness, education and training on climate change water related issues, and forest conservation through conducting training workshops, outdoor activities, presentations, and much more. In addition, the material used and the lessons learned were documented in a developed educational booklet.
The development of this educational booklet is of great importance as it will target the local community including women, children and farmers who are seen as the most sensitive and influential groups. These users will acquire the knowledge, skills and tools needed to address water issues, climate change impacts and forest related issues.
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