Save the Children and hiveonline are working together to support families impacted by the economic crisis in Lebanon
Lebanon, which has for years been rated “upper middle” in the World Bank’s classification of countries by income level, is teetering on losing that status as it descends further into one of the worst financial crises seen anywhere for decades.
Lebanon has been impacted by a perfect storm of disastrous circumstances. The 2020 explosion in the Port of Beirut destroyed large parts of the capital. But before that, Lebanon was already suffering from depressed exports and reduced trade. COVID compounded an already shrinking economy and the government’s inability to find consensus. Before COVID, the country had deeply neglected infrastructure and a failing financial system. It has been without a government for close to a year now.
The currency has lost 90% of its value, inflation has rocketed beyond 150% and people lack access to medicine, electricity or basic goods. Price hikes and supply chain difficulties are impacting the poorest the most. Power stations are unable to purchase fuel and unemployment has soared as businesses collapse. The World Bank estimates that half the population are below the poverty line, which may increase to 78% by the end of 2021.
A bill to distribute cash assistance to most of the population has recently been approved after successive attempts in Parliament, but faces challenges in financing and distribution. Over half Lebanon’s population lacks access to formal financial services and the central bank is struggling to help the overwhelmed financial system to survive.
Save the Children Lebanon has asked hiveonline to repurpose our blockchain based digital savings platform, vsla.online, to help some of the most vulnerable families survive this crisis. We are exploring financial and economic drivers to identify how to provide digital solutions that protect families from the impact of inflation, giving them the stability they need to survive and rebuild.
We will be partnering with financial sector providers, leveraging the benefits our system gives to financially excluded people. We will work within regulatory frameworks, identifying ways to leverage our technology to help people make the most of their money. Our platform is well suited to the challenge because our family of digital assets helps people to save and manage their finances with less risk of exposure to failing financial institutions.
We look forward to this exciting new project and to helping the suffering people of Lebanon build resilience and financial strength.
About Save the Children Lebanon:
The Lebanon country program of Save the Children International uses rights-based approaches to increase access for children, adolescents and youths to quality education, and to strengthen child participation and protection at the family, school and community levels. Save the Children supports families to meet their basic needs, including adequate food and shelter, and facilitates market-driven livelihoods opportunities for youth and caregivers. Save the Children also empowers civil society in times of peace and conflict to respond to the needs of all children.