Project visit 17.2.-25.2.2016
by Sirkku Kivistö, project coordinator, Finnish Psychologists for Social Responsibility (later: FiPSR) and Finnish-Arab Friendship Society (later: FAFS), thank you, Director Kassem Aina and Beit Atfal Assumoud (later: BAS) for all arrangements of the visit.
Project visit deliverables
Finalized the financial reports 2015 and got the audit report concerning the projects:
*FiPSR: Mental health services for refugee children in South Lebanon (Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA), project number 85202501) – Family Guidance Centers (later: FGC) Saida and El-Bus
*FiPSR: Services for Palestinian children with multiple special needs and their families in Lebanon, MSN-project (MFA project 85202503) – all 5 FGCs
*FAFS: Mental health services for children in Northern refugee camps in Lebanon (MFA project 85201601) – FGCs Beddawi and Nahr el-Bared.
*FAFS: Sponsorship project. Financial Report from 1 January – 31 Dec 2015 – 10 camp centers of BAS.
-Thank you, Mr Diab Kassem, Mr Raghid El-Adass and Ms Fatima Khaizaran.
Reviewed several documents in FGC for identifying the positive changes or obstacles in children´s mental health program of BAS :
*The draft for the Evaluation report of MSN-project report was seen as somewhat ready. Dr Madeleine and Liliane promised to check some commented points. In addition we have to write our recommendations for the future, based on the evaluation.
* We red the recommendations, picked up from the recent activity reports, (FGC annual 2014, conferences 2013-2015, baseline evaluation report by Dr Aziza Khalidi) – this review serves for reporting 2015 and baseline description for the continuation projects.
*List of trainings for FGC staff 2015 together with Santé Sud – base for the next years´ staff training plan.
-Thank you, the team of Beirut FGC, and Ms Sarah Cheiab, Santé Sud.
Meetings to promote the joint efforts
* Santé Sud and FiPSR & FAFS, discussion 19.2.2016 with Ms Natacha Mathy and Paulo Lamim, the evaluators of the staff training and capacity building program.
*NORWAC, BAS and Finnish NGOs, we tried to meet and discuss about support to mental health program of BAS, and the continuation for the three Finnish projects. One is closed at the end of 2015, and two are running out at the end of 2016. Unfortunately, we did not have possibility to really discuss, but anyhow, we continue our cooperation.
Two requests for NORWAC: 1) Could NORWAC give to FiPSR and FAFS statements to support the funding application to the ministry? FiPSR supports FGC Saida and partly FGC El-Buss together with Handicap International. FAFS supports the northern FGCs Beddawi and Nahr el-Bared. When we have drafted the plans somewhat clearly, we will send them to NORWAC to see. 2) Could NORWAC and the Finnish NGOs plan project evaluation (2017-2020) together, if the continuation project gets funding?
-Thanks to Ms Kristil Haraldstad, country director of NORWAC and Dr Svein Staff.
*Meeting with Dr Aziza Khalidi, fruitful meeting 21.2.2016 concerning the midterm evaluation of FiPSR (South) and FAFS (North) projects. Dr Aziza will have final data collection contacts with southern and northern FGCs and will deliver the report around mid March to Finland. Then we continue to plan the final evaluation process 2016.
Thank you, Dr Aziza Khalidi.
*Meeting with Dr Najla Bashour, chairperson of BAS board in connection to the dinner in Crown Plaza 19.2.2016. Dr Najla is interested to be informed about what the Finnish NGOs are doing to assist the mental health program of BAS.
Thank you, Dr Najla Nusseir-Bashour.
* Streering committee of the Mental health conference 2016 – thank you for an interesting opportunity for a visitor to follow your work. The 10th annual conference will be interesting.
Visits to learn about the actual situation and to pass on the greetings from the Finnish sponsors to sponsored children and elderly people in Lebanon
*Family Guidance Center Saida 20.2.2016, meeting social workers, several sponsored children and youth with their mothers and one sister. Charming to meet three representatives of the mothers´ committee, group of 22 activists. Thank you for the delicious Abu Sfeir marmalade, served to the meeting of sponsors 2.3.2016 in Helsinki.
-Thank you, Director Ibtissam Khalil, social workers Nada Al Zaher and Ruba Hamed.
*Bourj el-Barajneh Center 20.2.2016, meeting one new sponsored child with her mother. Participating in the occasion in solidarity with Mr Mohammed el-Qeeck.
-Thank you, Director Zahra Abdellatif and social workers Fadja Chaaban and Abed Muselimani.
*Baalbeck Center 21.2.2016, delivery of the knitwear donation from Finnish Solidarity Stitches Group. Visiting three elderly sponsored persons and one sponsored child´s family, displaced from Syria in Lebanon.
-Good memories to take with me to Finland and tell to the sponsors, thank you all.
Getting information about the UNRWA service delivery contract (how are the planned workshops of UNRWA awareness raising program running?) and about the National Mental Health Program of Lebanon (how does BAS participate in the program, what efforts, how the program addresses the needs of the Palestinian and other vulnerable populations?). These issues on my agenda we did not have time to discuss, and we might continue through emails.
Notes of some important discussion topics
* About the sponsorship cooperation and transparency
Sponsorship program is not only financial, but it has the social aspect, too. Social workers of BAS see it important, to help sponsored children and their sponsors to keep contact, if they want. Sponsorship agreement and money is like a link to the family, allow social workers to work with them. According to BAS, beneficiaries have right to know the source of the money, they know their sponsors. The “open information” –policy prevents the duplication of service. With coordinator, Ms Fatima Khaizaran we prepared a detailed illustration to tell to the sponsors how the sponsorship money is used (attached to this report).
During the visit I met 8 children and 3 elderly persons, sponsored through Family happiness –program and 9 children, sponsored through the MSN-project. There were 9 home visits with social workers, one visit in the special school and other meetings in the BAS centers.
-Thank you, social worker Zuhour Akkawi, Ms Fatima Khaizaran, Dir. Kassem Aina, Dr Rania Mansour, coordinator of the social work of BAS. Thank you, Liliane Younes, Manal Abu Sheik and Hanan Dabdoub for arranging the meetings with children.
* About the strategic plan of mental health program – picked up pieces from documents and discussions
Working on five years´ strategic plan for mental health program is put on the agenda in FGC Annual report 2014 recommendations and 26.5.2015 in the steering committee of mental health conferences. However, mental health strategic planning is awaiting that NISCVT/BAS as an organisation develops the strategic plan with connections to the mental health program.
Discussion about this issue reminded from the very first initiative by BAS concerning the mental health program. FiPSR got 27.11.1995 letter, the first request to assist by professional support the mental health program: “The existence of professional, psychological assistance, to those need it … we feel that it is due time to provide such assistance to them. … What we are thinking about, is a consultation center that has double sided objectives, a) Serves as a reference body to the social workers who need advise in certain matters, that they can follow up later b) refer to it major cases, that need professional follow up and long term therapy.” In 1996 Ms Fadwa Anka coordinated a 6 months training for social workers. Dr Vali Merhej started to develop the Family Guidance Center 1997. The first project plan (10.11.1997), Mental Health project, under the name of “Family Guidance Center” expressed the objectives: a) implement & develop training program for social and health workers in the field of mental health b) plan and introduce a mental health program for the community c) establish a mental health center, to give professional assistance for those in need for mental health care. In 1998 Dr Madeleine Badaro Taha, medical director, Ms Dania Hijazi, psychologist and coordinator, and Ms Elham Shahrour, first as secretary, later as social worker started to run the center.
22.2.2016 Kassem Aina was asked about his current thoughts about the strategic plan. “To keep our centers receiving children who are in need, and improve and develop the skills of staff who are working in FGC. We should work more in community oriented way to reach people. The awareness in the community is important about mental health in general. But awareness is not enough.
24.2.2016 Liliane Younes told that the strategic plan of mental health program is somewhat existing in common understanding. However, it would be good to work it out more clearly, also in terms of defining funding needs ready to address to the potential donors.
Elderly persons miss Palestine and wish good education for the younger generation
21.2.2016 all three elderly persons, whom I met, were delighted about the greetings from their sponsors in Finland. All of them have been hard-working women. Now they rely on the help of their children or relatives, or on neighbours if they are alone. With social workers of BAS they liked to remember the food, vegetables, nature and homes in Palestine. They miss the homeland, and would like to return there, and die there. In current situation they are worried about the financial crisis of UNRWA, which makes the situation of elderly people very difficult, because of e.g. limitations in health care. However, some of them expressed more concern about the education of the younger generation. “We Palestinians can manage even without food, but without education we cannot”.
-Thank you Jamile Shehadeh, Aziza Shahadeh, Siham Shehadeh for the day, and for the driver for safe driving. Thank you BAS for taking care of the elderly persons in the camps.
UNRWA schools and the special schools, experience of the sponsored children
Interviews of four children with MSN in FGC Saida were focused to their experience at school. Unfortunately, all of them have had severe difficulties, even bullying by the teacher, in UNRWA schools. After being able to enter their special schools they feel supported and happy. Guidance by the FGC Saida has helped some of them to proceed to the vocational training period. “I feel proud, because I feel, that I am important”, told one young person about her internship experience.
-Warm thanks to the mental health program of BAS for raising up the needs of the children with multiple special needs. Children with MSN are now visible members in the community.
-Thanks also for the network of special schools and institutions around FGCs, during the monitoring visits FiPSR has met happy children and satisfied parents.
Continuation projects of FiPSR and FAFS 2017-2020
The continuation projects were planned in sessions of FGC Beirut, in financial department and with Director Kassem Aina. The projects will include the handicap component (MSN-project). Deadline of the applications to the Ministry is at the beginning of May 2016. The decision will be told in December after the state budget 2017 is approved in the Parliament.
The continuation project plan (2017-2020) by FiPSR under the name “Developing the children´s mental health services in on-going refugee crisis in Lebanon: Beirut and South”. The project plan will have a budget 300 000 €/year, serving ca 60 handicapped children with multiple special needs (MSN).
* Budget/year to apply for the continuation project/year 2017-2020
Activity costs of BAS to the various project components 270 000 €
Activity costs paid in Finland 30 000 € (10 % of the total costs, including value of voluntary work)
Total 300 000 €/y
Self financing cash 22 500 €, voluntary work 22 500 €, total 45 000 € (15 % of total costs)
State funding, application for Foreign Ministry 255 000 €/y
Total 300 000 €/ y
*The project plan 2017-2018 of FAFS runs under the name “Developing the children´s mental health services in on-going refugee crisis in Lebanon: North”, including the Family Happiness –sponsorship program and serving ca 20 handicapped children with multiple special needs (MSN). The project plan will have a budget of 250 000 €/year,.
* Budget/year to apply for the continuation project/year 2017-2020
Activity costs of BAS to the various project components 225 000 €
Activity costs paid in Finland 25 000 € (10 % of the total costs, including the value of voluntary work)
Total 250 000 €/ y
Self financing cash 18 750 €, voluntary work 18 750 €, total 37 500 € (15 % of total costs)
State funding, application for Foreign Ministry 212 500 €/y
Total 250 000 €/ y
* Evaluation of the mental health program of BAS will hopefully be able to carry on together with NORWAC.
* Networking: Cooperation with Finnish and local network is essential for the successful project: in Lebanon local partners of FGCs, popular committees, cooperation with UNRWA, WHO, NGOs, specialized institutions.
* Implementation plan for 2017-2020
* Plan A: Foreign Ministry funding accepted
* Plan B: Foreign Ministry funding not accepted, or accepted partially
Day by day program 17.2.-25.2.2016
|Wed17.2.||Arrival in Beirut at 14.20MSN-evaluation report draft done for joint checking in FGC Beirut.|
|Thu18.2.Beirut||Main office, planning the visit programFinancial department about the reports 2015Short visit to Embroidery Center, about the order by Zonta Club.Shatila center, updating the sponsorship issues. Visit with social worker Zuhour Akkawi to one family of two Family Happiness -sponsored children.|
|Friday19.2.Beirut||First meetings in Main office. Meeting in FGC Beirut with Liliane 10.30 and continuing with Dr Madeleine at 11, about the data collection for reports of FiPSR and FAFS of the year 2015 and continuation project planning for 2017-2020. Then participation in the staff meeting, where met Dr Viviane Saneh, new psychiatrist of FGC Nahr el-Bared.Discussion about the community based mental health model – decided to use term community-oriented mental health model.Meeting with Natacha Mathy and Paulo Lamim, evaluators of the project “Towards the improvement of the support of vulnerable children in the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon” by Santé Sud.With Hanan Dabdoub, contact person for Embroidery Center, we agreed the order of cards and laptop cases for the Zonta women in Finland.
At 3-5 pm meeting with auditor Raghid El Adass and Mr Diab Kassem.
|Sat20.2.Saida,Beirut||Saida Family Guidance Center, learned to know new social worker Roba Al Hemed. Ibtissam Khalil told about the ongoing group interventions of the center. Met four sponsored children with MSN. Visit to Ms Zeinab Rabbani, volunteer for educational issues in FGC.On the way back to Beirut I visited the Bourj el-Barajneh center and camp, and met one sponsored child, her brother and mother.|
|Sun21.2.BaalbecBeirut||In Baalbeck center Aziza Shehadeh had prepared visits to three elderly persons who have sponsors in Finland through FAFS. Then I met one PRS family whose child has the sponsor in Finland.Baalbeck center has also remedial classes and is interested in to get “Greetings from Finland” –colouring booklets (90), created by psychologist Elli Parkkonen.At 5 pm meeting with Dr Aziza Khalidi about the mid-term evaluation in Beirut.|
|Mon22.2.Beirut||Meeting with Liliane in FGC – planning issues discusses.At 5 pm joining the steering committee meeting for mental health conference in Mayflower. In the conference the attendees are guided to reflect the connections of being Palestinian, identity, human rights and connections to mental health.|
|Tue23.2.Beirut||Meeting with Liliane and Dr Madeleine, discussion about the recommendations of the recent documents. Planning the budgets for the continuation projects. Discussion about the strategic plan of mental health program – would be part of the strategic plan of the whole organisation. Met mother of one sponsored child with MSN.Visit to Shatila with guests from Finnish Institute, two Family Happiness -home visits with social workers, one visit to the family of child with MSN, also another child with MSN met in the street.|
|Wed24.2.Beirut||Visited Al Tanmia Al Fikria Institution and met two of the sponsored children with MSN. Afterwards I met one child with MSN and her mother in FGC Beirut.|
|Thu 25.2.Beirut25.2.||Meetings in the main center with Ms Hanan Masri (about EU Trust Fund project), Fatima Khaizaran, Rania Khartabil, financial department. Prepared the preliminary agreement documents to the continuation projects.Departure to the airport at 1.30 pm, flight at 15:50|
|26.2.-2.3.2016Finland||After the visit: reports to the sponsors.2.3.2016 occasion in Helsinki to tell about the trip to the sponsors and other interested people (25 attendees).Maybe the project title should present more clearly the inclusive approach, e.g. Developing the children´s mental health, rehabilitation and special education in on-going refugee crisis in Lebanon?|