The British ambassador to Lebanon, Chris Rampling, has recently announced a fund of 800,000 pounds (around $1 million) for the NGO March. The grant aims to support long-term sustainable peacebuilding community projects across Beirut and Tripoli. Mr. Rampling made his announcement during his recent 2nd visit to Tripoli - North of Lebanon.
In his second visit to the North, Rampling inaugurated local shops that had been damaged during clashes between residents of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen. The local shops were renovated by young men and women from the two sides.
At the inauguration, Rampling made the announcement of the UK fund to the NGO March in the presence of Philippe Lazarini, Deputy UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, and Lebanese political figures: Parliamentary candidate Dima Jamali, MP Nicolas Nahhas, MP Ali Darwish, and former MPs Mosbah al-Ahdab and Ahmed Fatfat.
The inaugurative event included various speeches from Tripoli officials as well as testimonials from young people.
The British ambassador to Lebanon expressed his happiness at his visit, stating, "The Northern wind calls and I find myself returning to Tripoli - my second visit in three months ... Tripoli is famous for its historical monuments, the smell of orange trees and the flavor of its famous sweets, and also an example of coexistence and peacebuilding among its various communities."
He went on declaring, "My message today comes at an important political and economic time for Lebanon." He urged for the work to continue in building bridges of peace and understanding, and in reducing tension and changing the way of life.
He called for the building and transformation of security institutions, educational opportunities for all, the strengthening of services in municipalities, and the humanitarian assistance to vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian families.
Rampling added, "This what makes Tripoli unique: People live together, breaking barriers and forming new relationships. You are now ambassadors of tolerance and hope in your local communities (...)."
"I am pleased to announce that we will continue to support such distinctive initiatives as the March Society," he said, and went on to make his hope-fueling announcement, "The United Kingdom will provide more than $1 million (£800,000) to the March Society for more community projects, exactly like these projects, in Beirut and Tripoli."
March Lebanon is a local non-profit and non-governmental organization. It was established in Tripoli in 2011 by Lea Baroudi to help reconcile the youth of the two feuding neighborhoods of Beb El Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen after huge clashes that killed more than 120 people and wounded hundreds of others.