Mar Elias, Lebanon
In April 2010, Mar Elias Camp in Lebanon joined the World Health Organization‘s "1,000 Lives, 1,000 Cities" global campaign, in which health-friendly cities around the world celebrated World Health Day by organising events to promote health activities.
The goal of the year-long campaign is to make Mar Elias a model health-friendly camp.
UNRWA has partnered with local NGOs and community representatives in Mar Elias. Other partners supporting the initiative include the Municipality of Beirut and the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut.
The first activity in Mar Elias was a camp cleaning day on 7 April. UNRWA‘s chief area officer for central Lebanon, Mohammed Khaled, attended the opening of the event, along with members of the community, student volunteers, and various NGOs.
On 10 April, the camp held a health fair, where the health-friendly camp project was officially inaugurated by UNRWA’s director in Lebanon and the mayor of Beirut.
The fair saw camp residents take part in various healthy activities, including a football tournament, free medical exams by healthcare specialists and a healthy cooking competition.
Twelve information stations, staffed by UNRWA medical staff and NGOs, handed out information to the public on important issues like diabetes and hypertension, blood pressure and stress management.
For children, there were fun and educational activities including drawing, games, and a puppet show promoting healthy eating. The fair attracted around 300 visitors, demonstrating the enthusiasm and commitment of the camp residents in making their camp health-friendly.
Over the next year, UNRWA will be working on a public awareness campaign promoting environmental health, while the Italian Corporation is funding new recreational areas in the camp.
UNRWA will hold open days in its health clinics and schools, and community meetings on health issues to identify all health-related concerns and priorities among camp residents.
The health-friendly organising committee will work on resolving these issues in partnership with the community of Mar Elias throughout the year.