Current Happenings

Real-time updates on FIT activity in and out of the field

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

December 30, 2015 - Blog -

The current Syrian crisis is an ongoing global catastrophe, and FIT has been a part of the extensive effort to address and help recovery. In August 2015 FIT planned for this with partners Yale School of Public Health (YSPH), Refugee Health Initiative (RHI) and Beyond Reform and Development (BRD).  The group was joined, in fall of 2015, by the Visual Epidemiology Project (VEP), and the American University of Beirut Faculty of Health Services AUB-FHS). Together the organizations constructed a two-phase project.

The first phase was successfully concluded between September and December 2015, after a three-person team from FIT, RHI and VEP travelled to Beirut to work with BRD. In the process they met with local, national and international public health organizations, staff from AUB and community leaders, Syrian and Lebanese citizens, and Medecins Sans Frontèirs among others. The outcome—a set of priority projects for implementation in Phase Two which included conflict resolution, employment innovation, refugee integration projects., and health access programs.    This first phase was a solid success and established many important relationships with local organizations that will prove valuable in the next phase of work in the region.

Starting in January 2015 FIT and its partners will put into action the second part of their two phase plan, in cooperation with local municipalities to help citizens and communities heal and recover from the Syrian crisis.  This phase will focus primarily on workshops involving innovation in entrepreneurship, health programming and electrical grid innovation.  The primary objective of this phase is to empower Lebanese and Syrian youth in communities hosting displaced Syrians to develop creative solutions for specific public health challenges impacting their lives.

This phase will kick off with preparation in January and February, involving formation of the core team of 7-10 innovators and funding to support them, re-establishing relationships with local communities and facilitators, connecting micro-financing and local banks to entrepreneurs, gaining access to power grids, and developing metrics and logic model experiments in preparation for workshops. In March the team will conduct innovations workshops with the support and participation of students and faculty of local and U.S.-based universities, NGOs, Tech start-ups, education & arts organizations, and representatives of Lebanese municipality. Using FIT’s 3-Step Design Framework, story telling, improvisational theater training and the public health methodology and expertise, small workshop teams will identify solutions to address various facets of the public health challenge—ready for implementation.

Right now we are in the process of raising funds to support our team of FIT volunteers for this phase of the program.  It takes approximately $2,000 per team member; $20,000 to support a team of 10.  For more information, please contact the FIT Chief Wrangler Desi at, and if you would like to support us by making a donation please click HERE!

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