Beirut, Lebanon, November 2021 – UN-Habitat rehabilitated 22 building facades, improved street mobility and safety, and access to basic urban services for residents living in El Jazzar Street, Sabra, Beirut.

The project, funded by The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Beirut, ensured that overhead electrical wires were put underground to enhance safety for the first time in a vulnerable neighbourhood in Beirut. The overall aim of this project is to improve the quality of life and enhance social cohesion for everyone living in Sabra, Beirut.

Fathi Serhan, a resident said that “in these difficult times that we have been going through, the rehabilitation of El Jazzar Street has given us hope that we will live a better life.”

El Jazzar street is considered the most vulnerable sub-neighbourhood in Sabra characterized by substandard living conditions, overcrowding, poor housing conditions, deteriorated infrastructure and weak local economic development. It is home to more than 1,000 people who are mainly Lebanese, in addition to Syrian and Palestinian refugees.

To facilitate community engagement, a local committee consisting of the area’s residents and community leaders was formed with women and men of different ages and nationalities including Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian residents, to share inputs into to the design, implementation, and sustainability of the project’s interventions.

“The community’s active engagement enabled UN-Habitat to better understand challenges and needs facing residents of El Jazzar Street. This ensured that the project’s interventions were targeted and that local decision-making was strengthened,“ said Maryam Nazzal, Social Development Coordinator at UN-Habitat.

Fostering hope in El Jazzar street, Sabra

Women’s participation in this committee was vital. Maya, a 28 year-old shop owner and resident of Sabra, expressed how empowered she feels to be part of the revitalization of her neighbourhood. “I am so delighted to be able to co-design the future of my neighbourhood. For the first time, I feel that I am not left behind,” she said.

To foster sustainable waste management habits and adherence to COVID-19 preventative measures, awareness campaigns were held by and for the residents of El Jazzar Street and 220 hygiene kits with two months’ worth of supplies were distributed.

“As a whole this project is a key example of UN-Habitat’s approach to community-led urban upgrading that improves living conditions of residents from multiple perspectives: economically, socially and physically, while keeping their needs and challenges at the forefront of the project’s interventions,” said Taina Christiansen, Head of the UN-Habitat Lebanon Country Programme.