American University of Beirut

 Support the Keepers of the Land!


ESDU Keepers of the Land Month

The Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU) of the American University of Beirut (AUB) is calling for your support to revive rural livelihoods and replace rural despair with hope. Through this fundraising campaign, ESDU is supporting the Keepers of the Land, the hidden guardians of our roots including farmers, mouneh (food preserves) makers, and young people picking up a shovel and digging into the hard soil so that life can emerge.
The fund will support 50 agri-food cooperatives (1,000 beneficiaries with a special focus on women) enabling them to sustain their production despite the exacerbating challenges. 75% of the funds that are raised will be used to install solar systems; the balance (25%) will be used for market support and capacity building.”

About us​

The Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU) is a research and development unit at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at AUB, that's been caring for our “roots" for more than 20 years. ESDU works with “the Keepers of the Land" offering training and support to help them make a living while preserving our natural resources for future generations. Over the years, ESDU support has benefited around 100,000 beneficiaries (more than 60 percent women), promoting sustainable livelihoods of small-scale farmers/producers, agri-food cooperatives, and small businesses.

The Keepers of the Land are at risk

Our social roots, which have been stretched by forced migration and emigration, need to be mended so that our country is not just a “place of birth," but also a “permanent residence address"! The Keepers of the Land are a struggling army protecting our national treasures who themselves need protection!  Without clean water how can we produce safe food and stay healthy? Without energy how can we maintain production? Without markets how can we make a living from the land? Without money how can we meet our basic human rights and needs? The Keepers of the Land, farmers/producers, rural women, and youth, are struggling to survive during this unprecedented crisis in the absence of any support. When a growing number of our “keepers" are themselves struggling to stay alive, it's time for us to mobilize to claim back “life" as a sacred right! We are calling on you to join our cause in supporting these Keepers of the Land.

The Keepers Month!

ESDU aims to raise $200,000 to support the Keepers of the Land through its fundraising campaign, the “Keepers of the Land Month", which we are launching on the Lebanese Independence Day: November 22, 2022. The raised funds will be used to support the autonomy and sustainability of small-scale producers – the Keepers of the Land – enhancing their resilience, promoting the local food system, and supporting national sovereignty in times of crisis. The campaign will continue to receive funds till December 22, 2022.

Why are we raising fu​nds?​

The ESDU Fund will support 50 agri-food cooperatives (1,000 beneficiaries) with a special focus on women-led entities. The provided support will help these cooperatives and small businesses to sustain their production despite the exacerbating challenges and will include:

  • Building Solar Systems: Provision of solar systems to promote sustainable management of resources and to maintain entities' production despite the challenges of securing electricity.
  • Facilitation of Market Linkages to increase entities' income generation and to ensure affordable local products are available for local communities.
  • Building Capacities of women producers related to business skills, soft skills and the importance of cooperation in times of crisis to increase efficiency and ensure sustainability.

How are we going to use the fund?​

  • 75 % of the raised funds will be used to install solar systems.
  • 25 % of the raised funds will be used for market support and capacity building.

Personal Messages

“Hidden somewhere deep inside, we are all Keepers of the Land. We want you to revive the keeper inside you!" Dr. Shady Hamadeh, ESDU Director

“Small-scale farmers deserve our support. Together, we will guarantee that their roots will remain embracing the lands, and their hands reaching out toward their goals, by growing and blooming, and our valued heritage maintained for your children and all generations to come." Diana M. Abi Said, ESDU Liaison Officer l Food Heritage Foundation President​

How can you help?​​

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