Can microfinance provide economic and social empowerment to refugees ?

Can microfinance provide economic and social empowerment to refugees ?
by Ms. Alia Farhat, NFS Manager, Al Majmoua, Lebanon.


Migrants and refugees have been at the heart of major political, media and civil discussions in recent periods. Due to the increasing and material importance of this phenomenon, ignoring this crisis is no longer possible. The number of forcibly displaced people has been growing worldwide, reaching an estimated 68.5 million people.

Lebanon has traditionally been a refuge for marginalised groups in the region. It has taken in more than one million Syrians that have fled to Lebanon since the civil war in their country. Refugees now make up about 20% of the total population. The impact of this on Lebanese society is considerable: including growing unemployment and poverty, along with a greater pressure on public services and infrastructure.
Ms. Alia Farhat gave an overall presentation of the refugees situation in Lebanon, with special focus on the access to finance. She presented the challenges and lessons learnt.
Ms. Alia Farhat, NFS Manager, Al Majmoua
Socioeconomic development specialist, microfinance, gender and refugees' expert, who has been working since 1999 with Al Majmoua, the leading Microfinance Institution in Lebanon serving more than 85,000 active clients, out of which 56% are women beneficiaries.
Ms. Farhat is Al Majmoua's gender and refugees focal point, directly involved since 2013 in responding to the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon by managing both non-financial services programs and financial inclusion programs for the Syrian refugees.
She also represents the local NGOs working with the refugees at the LCRP (Lebanon Crisis Response Plan) National Livelihoods core group and the National steering committee for the Livelihoods chapter.


Extra session

Following the lunch break there was an extra session to have a more detailed discussion about the topic with Alia Farhat and Davide Forcella, author of the study 'Outcomes of microcredit provision to Syrian Refugees'.

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