US Ambassador to Lebanon, Lisa A. Johnson, traveled today to the Zgharta district in North Lebanon, meeting with government officials, civil society leaders, and community members involved in two USAID development projects and an U.S. Embassy funded program supporting local women’s advocacy for equal rights and access to public services.

In Mazraat El Teffah, Ambassador Johnson attended the opening of a new solar-powered water pumping station. Built in partnership with the local Municipal Council and with the cooperation the North Lebanon Water establishment, the station uses clean, renewable, energy to provide a sustainable supply of potable water to 2,000 local residents. The United States, through USAID’s Community Support Program, contributed $223,000 for construction, equipment, and training for this infrastructure project which is built on more than 2,000 square meters of land contributed by the Mazraat El Teffah Municipal Council. ‘An important part of the health and economy of communities is sustaina
ble access to safe water.’ Ambassador Johnson said. ‘Today, we are seeing firsthand how building resilient infrastructure, like solar farms, is creating new opportunities to provide rural Lebanon with safe, affordable water.’

Ambassador Johnson next met with project leaders and Zgharta community members participating in the ‘Women’s Rights are Human Rights’ program. Managed by the Lebanese NGO Himaya Daeem Aataa and supported by a $75,000 grant from the U.S. Embassy, the program supports local women and Women-Led Organizations engaged in: raising respect for women’s rights; improving women’s access to government and government services; and preventing and responding to violence against women and girls. Ambassador Johnson applauded members for their advocacy for equal access to education, health care, career advancement, and political representation. ‘Together,’ she noted, ‘we can build a future where every individual in Lebanon, regardless of gender, can live with dignity, equality, and freedom.’

Johnson concluded her day visiting a new vegetable nursery in Ardeh and meeting with local beneficiaries. Built by the René Moawad Foundation under USAID’s Promoting Sustainable Livelihoods Program, in partnership with local NGO Empower, the nursery improves local farmers’ access to high-quality vegetable seedlings that boost crop yields and helps promote food security. With the support of $59,930 in funding from USAID, Empower helped established the nursery by leasing land, procuring seeds, and managing nursery operations. The René Moawad Foundation built and equipped the 1,000 square meter nursery and provided training to 48 farmers on agricultural practices, sustainable farming, and water management. To date the project has supported more than 100 farmers and created five additional full-time jobs in Ardeh.

At each site, Ambassador Johnson reaffirmed the importance the U.S. Government places on working in partnership with Lebanon to support projects across Lebanon. ‘As Lebanon works to get its economy bac
k on track,’ she said, ‘the United States is committed to helping Lebanon achieve long-term prosperity at the local as well as the national level.’

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon