American Univesity of Beirut

Saving Lebanon's villages

​​​February 28, 2021

Meet Halima who is trying to keep the ancient craft of carpet weaving alive, provide work for women in her area, and boost the local economy by using wool from the 35,000 sheep that call Arsal home. Her dream is installing a heating unit in their workplace so that she and her partners can keep weaving through the frigid winter months as temperatures drop to 0 degrees Celsius.

Meet the village of Kfarmishki in West Beqaa, an agricultural village famous for its traditional mouneh (preserved food) made with local grapes, olives, and other local harvests. Their dream is to rehabilitate an old house in the center of town to serve as a cooperative to centralize, modernize, and market their mouneh products as well as serve as a social clubhouse for the residents. 

Even before the devastating economic collapse in Lebanon, the pandemic and its many lockdowns, the port explosion and its many ramifications, the rural areas of Lebanon were already struggling and its people suffering. Without its towns and villages from north to south, east to west, what would Lebanon be? ​

Through the new Mashroo3 crowdfunding platform, people like Halima and communities like Kfarmishki can realize their dreams, big and little. 

Mashroo3 focuses on funding nature-friendly and heritage-based projects submitted by individuals, municipalities, and organizations. Its aim is to effect change by empowering communities and individuals to realize their sustainable projects, and to match donors’ interests with vetted projects that will make a real difference.

Many people who hold Lebanon’s traditional village life dear to their hearts are eager to help but may be unsure what and who to support. This is where AUB’s Nature Conservation Center (NCC) and “Fondation Diane” come in. They have established Mashroo3 to help fund locally-conceived, ongoing initiatives and projects that lead to sustainable living. 

Each project comes with a full, itemized budget and must have letters of reference from people within the community who vouch for the project and the people behind it and commit to helping with successful implementation. Each proposal is vetted to gauge its sustainability and verify its capacity to make a positive impact on local economies. Financial transparency and accountability are ensured as all funds are handled through AUB.

This crowdfunding platform is part of the larger Das​kara initiative, also from NCC and “Fondation Diane.” Meaning “authentic village” in Arabic, the Daskara phone application is a free tool available for all to add and narrate the hidden gems in their own villages, to document local initiatives, to guide visitors offering insider information and ​local experiences, and to connect with those who want to support local projects and initiatives. 

The Mashroo3 platform is just being launched and more proposals are invited. You can help fund one of the current projects or help an individual or community put together a new proposal. The goal of Mashroo3 is to give a voice to the people of Lebanon who want to safeguard and develop the country’s nature and culture, and to give an opportunity to people who want to invest in Lebanon’s nature and heritage and keep dreams of sustainability alive.



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