American University of Beirut

ISNAD: Innovation System Networks for Agricultural Development Based on Gender Inclusion and Eco-Entrepreneurship

Innovation System Networks for Agricultural Development Based on Gender Inclusion and Eco-Entrepreneurship - ISNAD

The Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU) at the American University of Beirut (AUB), in partnership with the Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB) and Cooperation for the Development of Emerging Countries (COSPE) implemented the project Innovation System Networks for Agricultural Development based on Gender Inclusion and Eco- ntrepreneurship – ISNAD

This BMZ-funded project is under the World Food Program (WFP)’s “Enhancing the Livelihoods of Vulnerable Lebanese Host Communities and Syrian Refugees Through Food Assistance for Training (FFT) Activities” programme. 

ISNAD is a ten-month project (June 2020 – March 2021) targeting two Windows: 

  • ​Window 1: Short-term FFT activities focusing on enhancement of vulnerable individuals. 
  • Window 2: Long-term capacity building support activities focusing on supporting cooperatives and SMEs. 

ISNAD is implemented in Northern Lebanon, the Bekaa and Baalbek. 

In light of the current socioeconomic crisis, this project aims at promoting the local food system by addressing main gaps in the targeted value chains (dairy, fruits and vegetables, legumes and cereals) through promoting small-scale farmers and producers, enhancing product quality, integrating innovation in authentic food production, promoting sustainable agricultural practices and facilitating market linkages. 

This project builds the capacities of beneficiaries through training courses on: 

  1. Sustainable agriculture and agro-food processing
  2. Business development 
  3. Soft skills including gender mainstreaming. 

  • Agricultural crops and agro-food processing activities focus on the following value chains:potatoes, apples, almonds, figs, anise, lentils, chickpeas and wheat. 
  • Business development trainings include:
    (1) Strategy, Market Analysis, & Business Model
    (2) Marketing and Sales 
    (3) Finance and Accounting 
    (4) Business Soft Skills


  • ​Conducting training sessions for 500 vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian refugees (each beneficiary shall complete 40 hours’ worth of training and will receive 8,750 LBP for each hour of training through e-cards).
  • Conducting training and coaching sessions for 30 agricultural and agro-food processing cooperatives and SMEs. 
  • Based on a competitive business plan, 15 cooperatives/SMEs will be selected from the 30 (mentioned above) and will be upgraded through the provision of needed equipment and supplies to improve production 
  • Facilitating market linkages for 70 producers, farmers and 15 coops and SMEs

About The Partners

  • The Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) is an inter-disciplinary research and development center specialized in rural community development, local food systems and sustainable agriculture hosted at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (FAFS) of AUB. For more than 20 years through large community development projects, ESDU has been promoting sustainable rural livelihoods all over Lebanon focusing on participatory development and capacity building especially with particular attention to smallholder farmers, women and youth in the rural areas. 

  • Cooperation for the Development of Emerging Countries (COSPE) is a private, secular and non-profit organization in the sector of international cooperation. It started its activities in Lebanon in 2010, operating in two main pillars: social and economic empowerment of women, and environment protection and promotion. COSPE operates in 25 countries worldwide, alongside thousands of women and men for a change that will ensure the equitable and sustainable development, respect for human rights, peace and justice among people. 

  • The Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB) is a socio-economic, apolitical and nonreligious association that aims to support women in business and women entrepreneurs by providing them with a platform for (1) skills development, (2) experience sharing, (3) mentorship, and (4) access to funding. LLWB operates according to four pillars: Good Governance, Business and Members’ Development, Advocacy and Community Development. 

  • The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, often simply shortened to GIZ, is the main German development agency. As a service provider in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education work, GIZ are dedicated to shaping a future worth living around the world. They have over 50 years of experience in a wide variety of areas, including economic development and employment promotion, energy and the environment, and peace and security. ​

The Agro-Food Cooperatives and SMEs Catalogue

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