Project visit from Finland to Lebanon September 2014
Sirkku Kivistö, 9.9.-24.9.2014, Projects Southern Family Guidance Centers and MSN services by FiPSR and Northern FGCs by FAFS
Purpose: Follow-up with BAS responsible persons and administration the ongoing projects, check the budgets for the latter part of the year and make possible needed amendments for the project budgets 2014. Discuss about the project outputs, which promote the specific objectives of the project.
Projects of Finnish Psychologists for Social Responsibility (FiPSR):
”Mental health services for refugee children in South Lebanon” (Southern FGCs), Proj 85202501)
Expected project outputs to discuss during the visit: 1) the treatments in FGC like planned, group sessions,administration supporting the field work 2) skills development of staff and cooperation with other duty bearers.
”Services for Palestinian children with multiple special needs and their families in Lebanon” (MSN-services), Proj 85202503.
Expected project outputs to discuss during the visit: 1) 36 special education or rehabilitation 2) availability of professional tools 3) studies 4) two workers (coordinators) collecting the experience of the project 5) peer support among parents and siblings stronger than before 6) parents committees regular 7) in the service structure more available places for children and adolescents with MSN.
Project of Finnish-Arab Friendship Society (FAFS):
”Mental health services for children in Northern refugee camps” (Northern FGCs), Proj 85201601, including the Family Happiness-, Kindergarten and Elderly sponsorship projects.
Expected project outputs to during the visit: 1) sponsorship activity helping to understand children´s needs, number of agreements 2) treatment progress 3) yearly plan by FGC teams for the group activities 4) cooperation with other staff of Beddawi and Nahr el-Bared centers, coordination function good 5) staff training plan 6) local cooperation with children´s services regular
The main issue for this visit was to see the project budgets 2014 and identification of the need for amendments
In the meeting with mental health program coordinators, Dr Madeleine Badaro Taha and psychologist, Ms Liliane Younes, we saw all the projects, and looked for the changes after the over half hear´s experience. In financial department we checked, which changes need amendments in the project budget. We decided to continue with Liliane Younes by emails, and try to get the amended budgets done until October 15th, after which date Sirkku Kivistö will contact the Ministry and ask the permission to the amendments. (Amended budget of Northen FGCs by FAFS accepted 20.10.2014, others are still ”under construction”.
Because of the influx of population from Syria to Lebanon the bigger international actorss recruit staff from the local NGOs. BAS has some raise in the fees from July 1st onwards.
Observations about the daily program in FGCs, South and North
The treatments run like planned, and some replacement of staff was welcomed by the Dorector Kassem Aina in the general staff meeting. Purchases of professional tools and organisation of advisorey group activities were planned for the latter part of the year. Also, there was a plan of 7 week´s family therapy and parental guidance training. Still, BAS would organise group therapy training, and FiPSR was asked to give assistance in clarifying what kind of group therapy would be beneficial, what are the basic skills needed, and what kind of training would be helpful.
In some discussions it came up, that the growth of the children (girls) causes uncertainty in parents and they need counseling to accept the psychological growth of adolescency.
Coordinator work for MSN-project and study about the changes, MSN-services
About the MSN-project we stated that the coordinator, Mr Kheir has resigned and the coordinators in FGC Beirut decided to try to recruite some person to continue (preparing the job description). Psychologist, Ms Monica Musri, whose NGO CCF also supports the children with MSN, proposed that BAS would make a study about the changes in the situation of the child and family after the rehabiliation intervention.
What kind of stories? What kind of concepts to use in information work?
There were several discussions about the wishful information and advocacy work concerning the situation of Palestinians in Lebanon. “Plenty of sad stories are easily found. But we need also good stories, nice stories, inspirational stories”, told one social worker. The camps are usually describes as nests of poverty. Could the camps be seen as small representatives of Palestine? If in the information and advocacy work all groups of Palestinians are seen as an entity: refugees, Palestinians in PA and Israel. Palestinians outside the camps, in diaspora the picture would not be only a narrow whole to the whole issue.
How to speak about the programs? One practical example is, how to call the Elderly people who have sponsors in Finland through Finnish Arab Friendship Society. “Sponsor”, “sponsored” or kafeel in Arabic does not necessarily refer to an equal and appreciative situation. Why not rename the Elderly sponsorship program to “Project Tadamon with Wlderly People” – “Solidarity with Elderly people”. The words should express the fact that the persons themselves are in charge of the NGO projects. The expressions and concepts in the cooperation should strengthen the dignity of the persons involved in programs. “Earlier we proudly told being Palestinian, not any more”, told someone. “We are proud inside, though”, continue another. The unity of the Palestinians would be necessary, but sadly Palestinians are scattered in different factions. This was considered as a very negative situation in the discussions.
Meeting staff of FGCs and updating the knowledge about the project
I had the opportunity to join in the general staff meeting of FGCs, team meeting in FGC Saida, have several discussions of staff members and other partners. If gave a feeling that the mental health program of staff is in very good hands. Cooperation with client children and families is appreciative and active. Family therapy and parental guidance –training was planned together with the staff. Dr Aziza Khalidi shared the general staff meetings and we met three times to work on the evaluation plan.
Social workers in the centers arranged meetings with sponsored children and representatives of families displaced from Syria. Also, the meeting with Mr Juha Rainne from Embassy of Finland and with administration of BAS was focused on the project management issues, and benefitted also in monitoring the projects.
Both projects, mental health services in Northern FGCs by FAFS and mental health services in Southern FGCs are developing the community based mental health model (CBMH). One excellent example of this effort I met in FGC Saida. After the case consultation, team leader, Dr Jihane Rohayeem asked socialworker, Ms Nada Thaher to report the task about the Rett syndrome. She told and Dr Jihane asked and informed more. To the next session someone prepares a presentation about Vilkinson syndrome. In this way the knowledge of mental health and development problems is strengthening among the team members. Using some time in team meetings to mutual learning is a way to build capacity for CBMH –model.
Meeting sponsored children and Elderly people
During the visit I met 7 Family Happiness –sponsored children, 3 sponsord Elderly people and 6 children with multiple special needs (MSN), interviewed them with help of social workers, and reported to the Finnish sponsors after the visit.
Day by day program
Flight from Helsinki to Beirut 9.9.2014
|BAS main office, planning the visit with Kassem.Delivery of the presents of sponsors, knitwear from Solidary Stitces, Mac laptop from Ms Katja Henttonen for computer training.
Planning the visit of Ms Tuovi Lievemaa, sponsors for one KG-child, whom she met in Beddawi center 12.9.2014.
To Saida army for permission to Ein el-Helweh. Shortly in FGC Saida, discussion with psychologist Mohammad Arrabi.
Meeting shorty Monica Musri from Italy by her arrival. She is a partner in MSN-services –project.
|Main office, discussion with Dir. Kassem Aina about the DAASH and Nusra impact to the work of BAS. Though those groups do not accept the way of working of BAS (no religious lessons, only using the values of the religions), the work of BAS is welcomed. Also meeting with Fatima Khaizaran about the sponsorship issues, checked the list of sponsorship agreements.Meeting with coordinator Liliane Younes and Mr Diab Kassem from financial department. Monotored the half-year-financial reports and the need for amendments of the project budgets. Liliane Younes will with help of financial department work on the budgets 2014 (latest 15.10.2014), and coordinator Sirkku Kivistö will contact the Finnish Foreign Ministry for acceptance.
Visit to BAS center in Shatila. Shatila center assists about 1500 families of the total 5000-6000 families in Shatila. Seen the exhibition of the summer activities.
|General staff meeting in FGC Beirut 9:30-12:30. A request for FiPSR to inquiry about the basics/orientation to group therapy skills training. (Got the minutes of the meeting by Liliane Younes 16.9.2014, 12 pages).Discussion with Ms Hanan Dabdoub, social worker in FGC Beirut, about the storycrafting cooperation, delivered the materials sent by Kirsti Palonen. Discussed with Liliane Younes about the possibility to arrange a 2-weeks orientation internship for one psychology student in Helsinkin university. The possible internship must be planned with the responsible university teacher.
Visit to the embroidery center with psychologist Monica Musri.
Met with Dr Zulaiha Ismae and Mr Abdul Rahim Majid from Malesia and Ms Ellen Siegel from Washington DC.
|Preparing the project plans/budgets for based on the previous days negotiations, Main center, Embroidery/Hanan, Shatila, in dental clinic negotiation wit Dr Ahmad Abou Ryya about the sponsorship activity for child Ismail Jerbi.Interview of Dr Aziza Khalidi about her work in Gaza hospital during the Sabra and Shatila massacre time.
19.00 Meeting in Crown Plaza, lecture of Dr Ghassan Abu Seta who worked in Shifa hospital in Gaza during the war 2014. Dinner with the delegations arrived for Sabra and Shatila Commemoration week.
|8.00 Nahr el-Bared. Visited Children´s Park, donated by Mrs Mary Afifi. Met sponsored children of FAFS with the help of social worker Leila Jendawi.Ahmad Taha 0202-354 (Mr Pekka Lumatjärvi)
Marwa Al Sayed 0202-400 (Ms Sirpa Piiroinen)
(Marwa al-Haj 0202-470 (Mr Kamal Aranki)
Mohammed Al-Issa 0202-170 (Mr Onni Kukkonen)
Visit to Mrs Zahra El-Sayed & family
|Monday15.9.||9:00 with the delegations to Saida, then staying in Ein el-Helweh or FGC Saida. The permission of the Lebanese army was not ready and I joined the group to the South. During the journey some interviews of the delegation members, why remembering Sabra and Shatila massacre is important. On the way back dinner in Debbiyeh, Unite Lebanon Youth place. Discussion about the Elderly project of YLUP, with Ms Sahar Serhan and Ms Zeinab Al Madhoun.|
|Press conference of Sabra and Shatila Commemoration week. Visit to Shatila and following two interviews of the women who lost their family members in Sabra and Shatila massacre.Sad message of death of Ms Sabah Hamed, social worker of BAS center in Mar Elias camp, was announced.
Mar Elias camp, met meeting sponsored children Suzan Mansour 0104-471 and Ibrahim Manzour 0104-470 with their mother and big brother.
Meeting with Dr Aziza Khalidi 17:00 in Mayflower, continuing the interview and planning the evaluation process of FGC projects.
|In Bourj el-Barajneh, information about the health situation in the camp from Director Zahra Abdellatif. Learned about the initiative of Popular Committee and Lebanese government to the Syrian refugees to leave the camp /(Lebanon?). Visit to the house of Abu Zacharia, Palestinian escaped from Syria.Meeting the coordinators of mental health program, Dr Madeleine Taha and Ms Liliane Younesin FGC Beirut at 12:15. We checked the action plans and budgets of the projects of FiPSR and FAFS and agreed some amendments and new arrangements in the projects.|
|Joining the Sabra and Shatila Commemoration day to the South. During the day arranged meeting with Mohamd al Mohamad and family (MSN, FiPSR) in El Buss FGC, assited my community worker Mona Ibrahim Al Merhi and interpreted by Ms Farah Mostafa, and meeting El-Buss staff members.Bourj el-Shemali, meeting 3 Elderly persons, sponsored by FAFS sponsors, meeting organized and translated by social worker Ms Feda´a Asaad.
In Rashidieh camp center we enjoyed music and dance presentations.
|Commemoration day, speeches, March and visit to the Commemoration place in Shatila.In Shatila center: Jamal Abu Saleh and Jamile Shehadeh: Prepared the sending 20 latest comics to World Comics Finland (ECF trained community activists from each camp 2005).
Memorial of social worker in BAS center of Mar Elias camp, Ms Sabah Hamad in Wadi Zeina. (obitury in Finnish:
During the trip to Wadi Zeina discussion with Ms Aziza Shahadeh, BAS Baalbeck center. Got the news from 3 Elderly people who have sponsors in Finland.
|Main office, different issues.
Visit to Dr Bayan El-Hout in Ras El Matten.Meeting with Dr Madeleine Badaro Taha and the friendship group. We discusses, which according to their experience is “the most important topic in working for the Palestinian cause”.Dinner by Dr Najla Bashour with the Italian delegation, and information about the current political situation in Lebanon by two political experts.
|Meeting with Dr Aziza Khalidi about the concept of elderly project and situation of elderly people in Lebanon.Visit to Jamile Shehade in Shatila camp.
Meeting UNRWA director Heli Uusikyla.
Discussion with Ms Ellen Siegel.
|8:00 Main center, writing visit news in the website.10:00 Meeting in the Main office, Mr Samer Nasser, financial department, Mr Raghid Adass, external auditor, Dir. Kassem Aina and Mr Juha Rainne from Finnish Embassy. The management and financial management of the projects co-financed by Finnish Foreign Ministry was the topic.
FGC Beirut, meeting coordinator Liliane Younes and social workers Manal El Sheikh and Hanan Dabdoub
Visit to Shatila center, pictures, future plans.
|8.30 Ein el Helweh camp, met Director Ms Bahaa Tayyar, social worker Haifa Abou Jamous, remedial class children and teachers Nader Al-Ali (responsible) and Baraa Mohamad. Informed about the storycrafting method and distributed the Story booklets (13 stories of PRS children in KG February-April 2014). Director of the center Bahaa Tayyar informed about some issues concerning sponsored children. Met children of the nursery who are sponsored by Finnish sponsors.Family Guidanbce Center Saida , Sharing the team meeting,led by Dr Jihane Rohayem. Met several sponsored children and their parents in the center, assited by Dir Ibtissam Khalil and social workers Nada Thaher and Aya Shahrour.|
Departure to Finland 24.9.2014 at 7:20.