Launched in 2001, the AMIDEAST-administered, USAID-funded Transparency and Accountability Grants (TAG) Program has made it possible for a broad spectrum of Lebanese nongovernmental organizations to engage in short-term, high-impact activities that promote transparency, accountability, and good governance. Grants funded by this program also contributed to strengthening the capacity of Lebanon’s vibrant civil society sector to address important issues in diverse areas, including environmental protection, citizen and women’s rights, government transactions, democratic practice, rule of law, citizen participation, lobbying, and capacity building of nongovernmental organizations. The cooperative agreement that USAID awarded to AMIDEAST to administer the TAG Program ended in December 2010.
Foster good governance in Lebanon in all sectors.
A breakthrough in Lebanon was achieved to allow mothers to open bank accounts for their minor children, successfully removing this obstacle to women’s equal rights in Lebanon. By mobilizing citizens at the grassroots level nationwide, and also employing effective lobbying and media campaigns, the project was able to eliminate this decades-old ban.
Consumer protection was improved with the development of a new GIS application system for the Consumer Protection Directorate at the Ministry of Economy and Trade, which will allow for better streamlining and focusing of inspectors’ efforts.
Strengthening NGO Finances
A customized software application was designed and developed to address the financial and accounting requirement of Lebanese NGOs. This Program for Enhancement of Transparency and Accountability (PENTA) software and training was provided to over 250 Lebanese civic organizations.
Using comparative studies, international experts, and hosting extensive discussions among all key Lebanese stakeholders, this public-private partnership project presented a new draft law to establish a national quality assurance body for higher education in Lebanon. Once adopted, this body will be responsible for accreditation and oversight of all universities in Lebanon.
In order to reach semiliterate, underprivileged women, a project to educate women on 20 basic rights and the laws to protect them was launched. Twenty simple stories were written and published in an easy-to-understand format. Fifty social workers in Beirut and Nabatiya were trained to use these stories with their current clients. Once trained, each social worker will deliver the training and materials to approximately 100 women each, directly benefiting 5,000 underprivileged women.
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Between 2001 and 2010, local nongovernmental organizations received funding and support to implement 183 projects through small grants of up to $50,000 each, with a total value of nearly $6.5 million,.
Partner nongovernmental and civil society organizations demonstrated the existence of a committed Lebanese constituency willing to work hard and creatively to address good governance in all sectors.
Grant recipients represented a broad spectrum of the NGO community and civic leaders in all regions of Lebanon, including the Lebanon Green Building Council, Lebanese Center for Civic Education, Brand Protection Group, Common Effort, National Commission for Lebanese Women, American-Lebanese Chamber of Commerce, the Lebanese Council of Women, Lebanese Transparency Association, Contact and Resource Center, American University of Beirut, Lebanon Iqra’ Association, Lebanese Association for Philosophy of Law, Lebanese Syndicate of Craftsmen, Lebanese Association for Education Studies, International Management and Training Institute (IMTI), Center for Economic Information, and Justicia Foundation for Development and Human Rights, to list a few.