U.S. Embassy Inaugurates USAID-Funded Park & Events Space in Kousba

This afternoon, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Mission Director for Lebanon Ms. Carolyn Bryan representing U.S. Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Ambassador Richard H. Jones attended the inauguration of a public park and events venue in Kousba, Koura district funded by the USAID Building Alliance for Local Advancement, Development, and Investment (BALADI) project, and implemented by the René Moawad Foundation (RMF).

USAID provided $243,000 to help Kousba Municipality construct and equip this park and events space, which was conceived of by the Municipality in collaboration with local residents and organizations.  Events hosted at this venue, such as the “Spring Flower Market and Local Products Exhibition” launched today, which will provide job opportunities and increase the earning potential of Kousba residents.

In her remarks, Director Bryan stressed the U.S. belief that local communities are “the true engines of progress.” This is why America, through the USAID-funded BALADI project, supports municipalities and communities working together to provide services and opportunities that stimulate local economic growth.  Bryan noted that “active citizen engagement through municipal elections is critical to strengthening and preserving Lebanese democracy.”  She added that the “the U.S. is pleased that … Lebanese citizens will have the opportunity to vote in the upcoming municipal elections to elect the leaders they think will most improve their lives and their communities.”

Over the past five years, the American government through USAID has invested $166 million in targeted economic growth projects in water and sanitation, reforestation, agriculture, microfinance, support to small- and medium- enterprises, and good governance.  The five-year, $25.9 million BALADI project provides technical assistance and in-kind awards for municipalities to implement community-driven development projects in partnership with local NGOs and/or the private sector.  BALADI is currently financing 59 projects which involve over 150 municipalities in Lebanon. Additional information on BALADI can be found at: http://baladi-lebanon.org/en.