UNICEF Steps Up support to Vulnerable Lebanese Children

As winter comes to an end, UNICEF introduces a new way of helping vulnerable Lebanese families across the country through winter, together with the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA), Office of the Prime Minster and the National Poverty Targeting Program (NPTP).

This winter, UNICEF and its partners, have supported over 300,000 Lebanese and Syrian and Palestinian refugee children across Lebanon, and it plans to reach an additional 75,000 poor Lebanese children in coming days.

“For the hundreds of thousands of girls and boys and their families, living in inadequate conditions, the cold winter months greatly add to their suffering and increase their vulnerability – and it is our mandate to adapt and respond to those needs”, says Violet Speek-Warnery, Chief of Field Operations, UNICEF Lebanon.

2015/16 marks the fourth year of UNICEF’s response to the effects of winter on children in Lebanon. Each year has brought new challenges and resulted in significant programme growth. This year, faced with a considerable increase in the needs of disadvantaged children as well as the deteriorating living conditions of the children and their families, UNICEF has adjusted its support in order to be able to respond more equitably.

Using the criteria of the National Poverty Targeting Plan (NPTP), UNICEF now targets socio-economically vulnerable Lebanese children, as well as Syrian children living in informal tent settlements and Palestinian refugee children returning from Syria. The assistance is in the form of a one-time cash grant on an ATM card, charged with 40 USD for every child in a family’s household from 0 to 15 years.

“The assistance can be used in a number of ways, by buying nutritious food, purchasing heating supplies, blankets, clothing or medicine – in other words provide the households with means to cover a portion of their winter expenses to help their children cope with the winter cold”, says Violet Speek-Warnery.

“Our primary focus has been and will continue to be on the most disadvantaged girls and boys and those most vulnerable to the cold weather. What is new is how we assist, namely through an empowering and dignified form of cash assistance. By doing that, we are able to give households full liberty and flexibility to access items and services, based on their needs to keep warm”, says Violet Speek-Warnery, Chief of Field Operations, UNICEF Lebanon.

This project was made possible due to the generous contributions of the government of Kuwait, UK AID, and the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration at the department of state.

About UNICEF – UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.