Since 1993, providing micro-credits to the displaced populations wanting to return, or having already returned, to their locality of origin, is one of the most important activities of ILDES.
The aim of this program is to re-create the multi-community life which is specific to Lebanon, to facilitate the return of the displaced persons, and to allow the resumption or the reinforcement of their economic activities, or the rehabilitation of their dwellings at their localities of origin.
The implementation of this program stemmed from the fact that what prevented a large number of displaced persons from returning to their villages was as much their lack of financial means, as the difficulty in having access to bank loans.
This program started following the decision taken by the State in July 1991 to allow the displaced persons to return to their localities of origin, and the political reconciliations in the villages that suffered from inter-community conflicts. This « micro-credit» program, implemented first in the displacement cazas, was further extended to some cazas facing a difficult economic situation, with the aim of limiting and checking the exodus of the rural population. This program flourished thanks to the collaboration of several European NGOs, and of private Lebanese donors. Between 1998 and 2001, it has benefited from an important financial contribution from the Commission of European Communities.
The Micro-credits Department grants two types of micro-credits :
- Micro-credits for the rehabilitation and completion of dwellings.
- Micro-credits for the development of income generating economic activities .
Program of micro-credits for the rehabilitation and completion of dwellings
The aim of this program is to allow every displaced person to make their dwelling habitable. It started in 1996, through a financial contribution by the Council of the Middle-East Churches(CEMO). It is financed by the ILDES since 2003. By the end of 2004, it had allowed 193 displaced families from the cazas of Aley, Baabda, the Chouf and Saïda to rehabilitate their dwellings.
Up to 2002, the granted loan had a ceiling of 2,700 US$. The reimbursement of any loan stretched over a period of two years, and the interest rate was 4%. In 2003, the ceiling was raised to 5,000 US$. In 2006, it went up to 10,000$. The interest rate is 7%. The reimbursement period stretches over 50 months without any grace period.
Program of micro-credits for income generating activities
This program grants micro-credits for the creation or the reinforcement of income generating economic activities, in the various sectors of industry, handicraft, agriculture, restaurants, commerce, rearing and other services.
From 1993 to 2003, the amount of allocated micro-credits was between 2,500 and 3,000 US$. In 2003, the ceiling was raised to 5,000 US$. In 2006, it went up to 10,000$. The interest rate is 7%. The reimbursement period stretches over 50 months, with a grace period going from 0 to 6months.
In 1993, the first concerned cazas were those of Saïda and Jezzine. The cazas of the Chouf, Aley, Baadba, Akkar, Baalbeck, Zahleh, the West Bekaa, Rachaya, Hasbaya, Marjeyoun, Bint Jbeil, Tyre and Nabatieh have followed progressively.
The promotion of this program is effected by regular visits to the regional authorities(municipalities, mayors, schools, clubs, associations, co-operatives…), undertaken by ILDES in the various cazas in order to advertise its activities. Likewise, since 2005, ILDES is effecting direct promotion through a commercial advertising campaign.
- The loan applications are received both at the ILDES offices in Jal-el-Dib, and by the people in charge of the micro-credits when they are making their regular rounds.
- Each loan application is followed by an enquiry on the ground, by putting together a file and a feasibility study of the required project; then by the approval or rejection of the application by the micro-credits committee.
- In case of approval, a follow-up of the execution is effected by the persons in charge of the micro-credits : enquiry take place in situ.
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