Nov 22, 2022

On 21 and 22 November the Closing Conference of the “Maintaining Strength and Resilience for Local Governments in Iraq and Lebanon” (MASAR) programme took place in Brussels
The MASAR programme, funded through the European Union’s Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis (formerly known as "MADAD") and implemented by VNG international in consortium with PCPM, ACCD and Komponent, is now wrapping up after 4 years of implementation. Despite the global pandemic, regional political instability, and, specific to Lebanon, the unfolding social-economic and humanitarian crises, the local MASAR teams in Lebanon and Iraq have managed to create impressive results, in collaboration with local authorities in both countries.

During the Conference, these results as well as learning points from the programme, were addressed in fruitful discussions amongst the MASAR staff members, representatives of beneficiary institutions, and EU representatives. Local governments both in Iraq and Lebanon have proven to be an effective actor in establishing cohesive policies towards host and guest communities and enabling inclusiveness and equal access to services for all types of population. Local Economic Development (LED), Area Based Planning & GIS and Service Delivery, being the main components of the programme, have been used as main areas of intervention to create shared prosperity.

The underlying meaning of MASAR, being translated as ‘road’ in Arabic, was often addressed during the conference. Not only because the programme has put the local authorities in Iraq and Lebanon ‘in the driver’s seat’, or because the programme aimed to offer ‘headlights on a dark road’, but also because many beneficiaries present at the conference shared to have experienced it as a ‘way forward’.

The programme consisting of numerous demonstration projects, aimed to create tangible products and services which are sustainable or possible to replicate when proven to be successful. If you would like to see which demonstration projects have been developed, check it out on!

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