SHIFT is a social innovation hub for social transformation in the North of Lebanon. In April 2014, a security plan was implemented in Tripoli to put an end to several rounds of violent clashes that had mainly erupted between members of the Sunni community of Qobbeh and members of the Alawite community of Jabal Mohsen since 2008.
A group of young economists and psychologists from different areas in Tripoli decided to use this window of opportunity to start engaging in direct interventions with the communities to work on their conflict transformation.
Thus, SHIFT was founded as an NGO by a couple of volunteers in early 2015 and established their office right on the frontline between the two conflicting areas. Since then, the organisation has been growing significantly and continues to do so.
Mission and Activities
SHIFT seeks to transform the communities by creating a positive, diverse, dynamic and harmonious momentum through a “space” for inspiration and learning. They wish to have a sustainable socio-economic impact on the communities of concern.
SHIFT is therefore focusing on soft skills training for young people and on vocational training. Their attempt aims to increase the Tripoli’s youths’ chances on the labor market to enhance their living conditions. This approach is mainly based on the belief that helping these young people gaining a monthly income can prevent them from joining armed groups that are willing to provide for their member’s living. SHIFT also provides entrepreneurial support in order to achieve these goals.
Next to its support concerning soft skills, SHIFT also engages in cultural activities and community service. Through its engagement, SHIFT is aiming to support the peacebuilding process of the region and its conflict mitigation. The location of their community space positions SHIFT as a mediator between the communities and serves a common space that brings people together. Their hub allows residents of the two communities in Tripoli to be interacting through the various activities and services they provide and hence helps to bring forward efforts of reconciliation.
Cooperation with forumZFD
Since September 2017, SHIFT and forumZFD have been cooperating in implementing projects and initiatives in the programme Community Mobilising in the project Future Together Now! II. The project aims to establish processes for social cohesion, joint decision-making and non-violent conflict transformation and participatory development within communities.
forumZFD mainly supports SHIFT by training and mentoring their community activists in order for them to improve their skills in mobilising communities and thus, empower them to enhance their situation. Local community initiatives are established and reinforced by social actors in the conflicted area in order for them to take responsibility for and ownership of assessing and addressing their own needs and conflicts.