IRD/Blumont worked with the Lebanese University to identify second and third-year law students who would participate in the capacity building component of Community-Based Legal Assistance to Syrian Refugees in North Lebanon (CBLASYR).
The Dean of the Lebanese University played an instrumental role in IRD/Blumont’s initial efforts and the selection process. Upon review and evaluation of 40 interested candidates, IRD/Blumont selected 24 law students – 12 from Tripoli and 12 from Akkar. Approximately 42 percent of the candidates were Syrian and 58 percent were Lebanese, and roughly 75 percent of the selected students were females. As of February 2016, the selected students had attended five specialized training programs delivered by IRD/Blumont’s legal teams covering various topics such as refugee rights relating to criminal law, civil law, family law, labor law, entry/exit requirements and legal residence, sexual harassment and marriage and birth registration.
Aside from pure lecturing, the students were also engaged in real-life scenarios from which they acquired practical knowledge to complement their theoretical studies. The trainers engaged the students in discussions at the end of each training session, leading to active participation throughout the learning process from all students. Many students responded well to this approach, favoring the IRD/Blumont legal officers for their practical knowledge and experience, as well as their willingness to walk the students through the most comprehensive legal issues.
The training program was an eye-opening experience for many students. Fatima, a law student from Tripoli, said,
“I never thought Syrians faced so many legal challenges. This is not something you can learn at the University. This is real life.”
The training program has been implemented in close collaboration with UNHCR’s protection team in North Lebanon where topics such as child protection and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) were delivered by UNHCR as an integral part of the training sessions on family law and sexual harassment.
Following completion of the remaining sessions, IRD/Blumont and UNHCR will deliver a joint training for all 24 students, and will hold a ceremony where each student will receive a certificate for successful completion of the training program. After evaluating the students’ knowledge and willingness to actively participate in project activities, IRD/Blumont will select the best students for an internship and specialized legal training.