Learning and Earning in Constrained Labour Markets: The Politics of Livelihoods in Lebanon’s Halba

By Estella Carpi, PhD.Research AssociateThe Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College London
Humanitarian Affairs Adviser, 
Save the Children

This study was conducted by Estella Carpi in Halba, Lebanon, where Syrian refugees make up over a third of the population. It analyses the impact of humanitarian livelihoods programmes in the context of severely limited access to the labour market for refugees, who are only allowed to work in cleaning, gardening, agriculture, and construction. In this scenario, while livelihoods programmes transfer some skills to refugees and provide them with leisure activities, self-reliance remains largely unachievable. The actual agenda of livelihoods programming seems to be more about social cohesion and the reduction of tensions between refugee and host communities. In fact, Carpi argues that it is the host middle-class that, with access to new job opportunities, benefits economically from the livelihoods programmes, and the very presence of humanitarian organisations.

Read the Halba study.