ALEF – act for human rights is implementing the WE’AM project (Working for Engagement, Acceptance and Mediation), funded by the EU and led by OXFAM, and which aim is to contribute to a people-centered recovery of Lebanon, in line with 3RF and particularly its Pillar 3 that supports a socially cohesive environment. Considering the multi-layered crisis and societal divisions in the country, the project aims at focusing on three key dimensions: drivers of tensions at the community level; conflict prevention processes and awareness raising; mainstreaming of community level social cohesion into programming, with particular focus on the EU. The project multi-stakeholder participatory approach  helps build consensus among civil society, community groups, religious leaders, political, media, and private sector actors, and donor community and the wider audience, and produces recommendations to mainstream social cohesion into EU community-based development programs.

As part of the project, the Working Group for People Affected by the Syrian Crisis (WG PASC), a network of 32 local CSOs facilitated by ALEF,   has been collecting timely community perceptions on social tensions, and on the reform processes Lebanon is expected to undertake to address the crisis, using Oxfam’s Community Perception Tracker (CPT) approach to capture, analyze, and understand the perceptions of communities in the 6 areas prioritized by the consortium (Beirut, Tripoli, Akkar, Baalbek, Saida and Barja). PASC’s usage of the CPT has focused on monitoring social tensions and sentiments of people around the reform processes and its application, through the network’s regular day-to-day engagement and programming. This has been allowing for the tracking of the perceptions of not only crisis-affected communities, but also local service providers, local authorities, wider civil society and UN agencies’ staff, and other community groups, on an ongoing basis.

To further understand drivers and triggers of social tensions at the national level and the impact of the reform process and its connection to social cohesion, ALEF has been analyzing on quarterly basis the qualitative data collected by PASC using the CPT against incidents, news reports, and other secondary sources to produce quarterly perception reports around social tensions and the reform process. ALEF has been conducting monthly meetings with PASC members using the CPT, in order to discuss any observations, recurrent trends, and potential improvements to the process. Additionally, the findings and recommendations of this report have been validated with PASC and project partners, in order to ensure that the findings are in accordance with observations from the field.

This community perceptions report is the second of the series and covers the period between 01 December 2023 and 29 February 2024.