Building Bridges: ILO’s EU-funded ENABLE Programme links Social Protection and Employment Activation in Lebanon

The new programme aims to empower individuals and enhance social protection measures by creating sustainable employment opportunities in Lebanon.

Press release | 10 October 2023

BEIRUT (ILO News) – With the financial support of the European Union (EU) and under the auspices of the Ministry of Social Affairs of Lebanon, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) celebrated with key stakeholders a significant milestone with the launch of the ENABLE Programme.

ENABLE - Empowering Networks and Activation for Building Long-term Employment - aims to adapt employment policies to support social protection strategies in order to facilitate integration of vulnerable workers in productive sectors, thus promoting decent employment opportunities in Lebanon.

The programme, implemented in collaboration with Lebanese ministries, local authorities and the ILO's Employment Intensive Infrastructure Programme (EIIP), targets vulnerable and unemployed youth, women, and persons with disabilities. By offering alternative employment opportunities, short-term job placements, and market-relevant skills training, ENABLE aims to enhance economic activation and promote economic inclusion in the country.

The launch event brought together a diverse range of stakeholders, experts, and community representatives.

During the launch event, Minister of Social Affairs Dr. Hector Hajjar said: “Today, we gather here to launch a new programme that aims at empowerment and upliftment. This is nothing but our recognition that immediate financial assistance, no matter how necessary, is temporary and circumstantial. We, at the Ministry of Social Affairs, have been working for some time on laying the foundations for uplifting Lebanese families from poverty through the automation of financial aid programmes such as the "Aman" programme, the National Programme for Supporting the Poorest Families, and the Cash Allowance Programme for Persons with Disabilities. This facilitates and organizes the process of selecting families and individuals eligible to participate in empowerment and upliftment programmes based on specific criteria.”

Ms. Alessandra Viezzer, Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, said: “The ENABLE Programme embodies our shared commitment to making a tangible difference in the lives of those affected by the ongoing crisis. It seeks to provide alternative and sustainable livelihoods to some of the most vulnerable populations in Lebanon, particularly unskilled and unemployed youth, women, and persons with disabilities.”

ILO Deputy Regional Director for Arab States Mr. Peter Rademaker said: “The essence of the ENABLE programme is to make the connections between social protection and employment. All vulnerable people need to be assisted, but those that are able and willing to work should be supported to get in the labour market. This nexus between protection and employment is what ENABLE is doing.”

The ILO ENABLE Chief Technical Advisor, Mr. Federico Barroetta, presented a technical overview of the programme's key objectives and pillars, along with the action plan.

The event featured expert-led panel discussions on key topics including adapted employment policies to support social protection, employment opportunities, linking social protection and employment, and private sector support and decent work. These dynamic discussions shed light on effective strategies and innovative approaches to address Lebanon's employment challenges, inspiring collaborative efforts and paving the way for positive change.

The event witnessed the active participation of government officials, civil society representatives, and UN agencies, who contributed valuable insights and expertise towards advancing the programme's objectives and ensuring its long-term sustainability. The event is expected to serve as a catalyst for collaboration and networking, and fostering partnerships that will play a crucial role in driving the programme's success.

Moving forward, the European Union, ILO, the Ministry of Social Affairs and their partners will continue their collaborative efforts to ensure the ongoing implementation and success of the ENABLE Programme, which ultimately aims to empower individuals and enhance social protection measures by creating sustainable employment opportunities in Lebanon. By leveraging the expertise, resources, and networks of all stakeholders involved, the ILO remains committed to driving positive change, fostering inclusive economic growth, and building a more resilient and prosperous future for individuals.