The 4th of August Beirut port explosion destroyed half of the city, wounded over 6,500 people, and killed hundreds while affecting all the Lebanese population.
With a tremendous amount of people needing immediate help after the blast, civil society organizations assisted the affected community from day one by providing basic necessities. These organizations collaborated in order to make a bigger impact and help the affected people in an efficient way. From August to December, non-governmental organizations succeeded in helping thousands of people as well as in rehabilitating a great number of buildings; and this could not have been possible without cooperation between these different groups.
One of these organizations, Nusaned, joined forces with 21 local NGOs including Arcenciel and the Lebanese Red Cross as well as with 9 INGOs such as Care International and UNESCWA. As the name of the organization implies, Nusaned’s main goal is to support the local community through working collaboratively which, according to the organization, is the only way actual change can be created. As such, Nusaned believes that stronger communities can be built through cooperative work between individuals, companies, NGOs and others. Following the blast, the organization applied this belief by communicating with other NGOs and INGOs to accomplish various tasks in a harmonious way.
Nusaned succeeded in carrying out cooperative activities through its three programs; ‘Goods in Need’, ‘Roofs that Shield’ and ‘Crops that Yield’.
As Lebanese people are in need now more than ever before, the ongoing ‘Goods in Need’ program was launched in December 2019 with the goal of assisting people to overcome various crises. Within this program and in cooperation with other groups, the organization was able to provide food parcels, hygiene and cleaning kits, hot meals, clothes, books and toys to the affected community. Moreover,
‘Roofs that Shield’ was initiated to provide shelter to homeless people and create a stable as well as secure environment that enhances self-development and economic growth. Through this program, the organization rehabilitated houses in Akkar, restored 21 restaurants in damaged areas and restored the historic Salim Gholam Building with AUBNI.
The ties created by the organization have proven to be very efficient as more than a thousand units were rehabilitated since August. Through ‘Goods in Need’ and ‘Roofs that Shield’, Nusaned became even more convinced that partnerships multiply the number of donated goods as well as restored units and for this reason, the NGO decided to continue their voluntary activities using the same method.
For example, Nusaned used this technique with ‘Crops that Yield’, a program that focuses on offering food security and fosters the improvement of the local eco-system. As part of this campaign and after two successful missions including vegetable gardens and chicken coops, the association is currently working on future partnerships with local NGOs to support the farmers in Akkar, Bekaa, Mount Lebanon and the South.
As the aftermath of the blast is still heavily felt today, it is crucial for civil society organizations to keep helping victims through collaborations. Being the most effective work method, collaborative work should become the norm and should be applied by all voluntary organizations as this will allow people to stand together and hope for a better future.