On 13 December 2021, the Lebanese Association for Family Health (SALAMA) hosted a closing ceremony of its Japan Trust Fund project, "Reducing maternal mortality and morbidity related to reproductive health among Syrian refugees and the Lebanese host communities in the Bekaa", at the Movenpick Hotel in Beirut. It was attended by the representatives from the Japanese Embassy in Lebanon, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Lebanese Order of Midwives, international organizations, and civil society groups.
The event celebrated many achievements, including its reach to 6,115 people with more than 102,000 sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, through speeches, presentations, and video documentaries. It also served as an opportunity to look back on the various challenges the project faced due to the country’s political and economic crises, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Beirut explosion. Many reiterated the further needs in the country, particularly among those in humanitarian situations.
The Japanese government has been funding SALAMA's work in the Bekaa region since 2017, and this project was the second one. President of SALAMA, Dr Joseph Challita, and the executive director, Ms Lina Sabra, expressed their deep gratitude to the Government of Japan in their speeches. The representative of the Japanese embassy responded with an acknowledgement of the relevance and good outcomes of the project.
Dr Joseph Challita said:
"We are gathered here today to celebrate our success in implementing this project. Let us strive together, as always, to make our voices heard by leaders and decision makers who have the ability to create an environment that facilitates equal access to contraceptives and family planning services for all women and girls."
Ms Lina Sabra said:
"SALAMA was committed to the priorities of Japan's official development assistance ODA policy, which focuses on empowering all marginalized groups that need services and respecting the cultures of different communities... Salama focused on contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 3, 5, and 13."
Ms Maki Yamaguchi, Embassy of Japan in Lebanon, said:
"In light of the multiple crises that Lebanon is facing, it has become difficult for the Lebanese community and the Syrian refugees to access the necessary health services, hence the importance of launching successful projects."
Project documentation videos: