On March 1 and 2, 2018, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Counselor Thomas H. Staal visited Lebanon. Formerly a Mission Director at USAID/Lebanon and now senior USAID official, Staal visited projects in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, where he met beneficiaries and saw first-hand the impact of $345 million of assistance provided by USAID/Lebanon since 2015.
Staal and Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator Jeanne Pryor visited a public school attended by both Lebanese and Syrian students where they met with parents, students and school administrators. They then visited classrooms to see how USAID’s early Arabic reading initiative was helping students achieve greater literacy levels. At American University of Beirut (AUB), the delegation met University Scholarship Program students to learn about their experiences, including community service work. The delegation was briefed on Lebanon’s investment and entrepreneurship environment. They heard about the importance of USAID’s investment and technical assistance provided under the Middle East and North Africa Investment Initiative (MENA II) in bringing entrepreneurial innovations to life.
A visit to the Jeita pump station recently renovated and equipped with $2.3 million in assistance, highlighted USAID investment in Lebanon’s water sector. Over 180,000 people benefit from improved water supply as a result of more efficient and reliable pump station operations. In Ehmej, the trip concluded with a tour of a cold storage facility for apples and other fruits. With $250,000 in USAID assistance, farmers can now store produce until bringing it to market at the optimal time.
Since 2006, USAID/Lebanon has provided over $2 billion in assistance to Lebanon. USAID programs enhance education and economic opportunity, protect the environment, stabilize poor and underserved areas, and support Lebanon’s efforts to mitigate the impact of the crisis in Syria on Lebanese host communities.