Mapping Volunteer Initiatives during COVID-19 in Lebanon
This document highlights the significant and critical role volunteers and community-based initiatives play in responding to emergencies and crises. It identifies and explores the characteristics of volunteer initiatives responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of Lebanon.
Volunteers are at the forefront of the COVID-19 response in Lebanon, offering diverse, creative, and innovative community services. Community-led groups quickly assembled themselves to face the pandemic and the rising community needs amidst the economic crisis, while being almost mainly supported by crowdfunding and donations.
Significant economic challenges are faced by initiatives that have to handle the cost of direct services to the community and the cost of providing volunteers with personal protective equipment. Regardless of the challenges, to enhance the preparedness and response, expressing noble social solidarity, volunteers serve tirelessly in-person and online while aiming to decrease the burden of illness and struggle in their communities. Strong collaboration and coordination are seen between initiatives reflecting cooperative efforts and sustainable practices.
The information on volunteer initiatives presented in this report is based on secondary data gathered from online published media, social media and various public reports during the period of April-August 2020*.
First published in April 2021, this report was prepared by Online Volunteers in support of an initiative by UNV Lebanon Field Unit. It benefited from the invaluable contributions of Online Volunteers Khawla Nasser AlDeen and Fabien Lezeau (as authors/lead researchers), and Gabriela Suárez and Tao Jing (as graphic designers).
*The August 4th blast that hit the Port of Beirut shifted the trajectory and focus of the mapped initiatives and required intensive volunteer efforts. More details on the role of volunteers in the blast recovery efforts can be found here.