Around 500 volunteers, most of them women, came together from different Lebanese areas, including Rashaya, Beirut and Kfar Zebian, to plant more than 500 pine seedlings in Jezzine’s Bkassine.
It is the way USAID decided to celebrate women’s success ahead of International Women Day, which falls Tuesday. The activity came under the framework of the USAID-funded Lebanon Reforestation Initiative.
Carolyn Bryan, USAID mission director for Lebanon, expressed her pleasure at being able to participate in the activity, underscoring the importance of giving women a chance, which would reflect positively on society.
Across history, women have faced and overcome challenges and raised generations. This is what prompted the agency to use this force and include women as local partners in the various activities, Bryan said, adding that it had produced great results.
There has been an increase in the number of women in Lebanon who have assumed high positions in fields such as research, science, civil society activities and business.
Women have also played an essential role in protecting green spaces in the country. Initiatives pursued with the support of the agency have helped increase forest cover. More than half a million trees have been planted across Lebanon.
Jana Jawhary, administrative and outreach officer at LRI, explained that the project’s strategy was to include women and local society in reforestation and other environmental activities.
“We made sure to include families, volunteers, civil societies and women’s co-ops in such activities ... to spread the best practices of reforestation in the country,” Jawhary said. “And to ensure the leading role that women play in society, be it environmental, educational, economic or social.”
Participants appeared excited as they prepared to plant the pines. The planting process in the Bkassine forest was launched by Bryan once volunteers had been shown the correct way to plant the seedlings.
They then scattered around the forest to plant them, supported by members of Bkassine Municipality and the Red Cross. Since it started, LRI has helped to plant around 587,000 trees over a space of 832 hectares in more than 37 locations, creating 1,200 seasonal jobs in different Lebanese areas.