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'Each one of us has a dream': gender-responsive education and economic empowerment for refugee youth in Lebanon

Research reports

Written by Nicola Jones, Elizabeth Presler-Marshall, Agnieszka Małachowska, Sally Youssef

Image credit:Image of textiles in Jbeil, Lebanon. December 2021. Credit: Christelle Hayek / Unsplash

On a per capita basis, Lebanon currently hosts the largest number of refugees in the world.

Echoing global trends, where the absolute number of displaced persons continues to grow in tandem with the proportion of people living in protracted displacement, the vast majority of both Syrian and Palestinian refugee communities in Lebanon have been there for 10 years or longer. So, how can decision-makers lay the foundations for gender-responsive education systems and economic empowerment for refugee youth in Lebanon?

The collapse of Lebanon’s GDP by 58% during recent years has resulted not only in an explosion of demand for humanitarian assistance, but also created growing concerns about meeting SDG targets. Questions arise over how best to support adolescents and young people to transition into adulthood in the midst of such intertwined, and escalating, crises.

This ODI report began with an extensive review of secondary data, and uses primary qualitative data collected from Syrian and Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon over the first half of 2021. Our research aims to identify programming proposals and recommended actions for donor and policy-makers to facilitate the economic and educational success for all young refugees living permanently outside their country's borders.

Findings pull out two main groups of youth: those who have found work and are pursuing their livelihoods; and those who are undertaking advanced education to gain skills for future employment.