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1985 Sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment through so­cial projects, waste man­age­ment and re­cy­cling How to get in­volved: From stay­ing in their guest­houses, to buy­ing their nat­u­ral dairy prod­ucts or se­cond hand fur­ni­ture, there are many ways to sup­port ar­cenciel’s work

01 495561/5, ar­­cenciel


Founded in the mid ‘80s, ar­cenciel is one of the coun­try’s early sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment NGOS. It was cre­ated to help peo­ple left in­jured, dis­abled or suf­fer­ing from so­cial or fi­nan­cial prob­lems or drug ad­dic­tion, get back on track and re­gain their au­ton­omy and dig­nity near the end of Le­banon’s Civil War. “We be­lieve that dif­fer­ence is a fac­tor of rich­ness and that ev­ery­one is ca­pa­ble of pro­gress­ing,” says Mario Go­raibe, re­spon­si­ble for the education sec­tion of ar­cenciel’s en­vi­ron­ment pro­gram. “In ar­cenciel you find peo­ple in wheel­chairs man­u­fac­tur­ing wheel­chairs, canes, walk­ers, crutches and or­tho­pe­dic shoes; dis­abled women paint on ce­ramic pot­tery fab­ri­cated in ar­cenciel’s work­shop and oth­ers re­store old fur­ni­ture and re­sell it in a se­cond hand store known as La Bro­cante d’ar­cenciel.”

Now ar­cenciel con­ducts its op­er­a­tions through eight dif­fer­ent pro­grams, 13 cen­ters and 550 vol­un­teers. In ad­di­tion, the NGO treats more than 80 per­cent of Le­banon’s hos­pi­tal waste and more than 1,000 tons of solid waste each year. It also man­ages the Je­suit Do­maine de Taanayel, a 2km2 land for sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture, and pro­motes re­spon­si­ble tourism through its youth hos­tels and eco-tourism ac­tiv­i­ties, with more than 100,000 vis­i­tors a year. ar­cenciel’s con­tri­bu­tion to solid waste man­age­ment started in 2009 in Taanayel, Bekaa, with a pi­lot re­cy­cling scheme. It as­sessed 300 fam­i­lies to see what kind of waste they were gen­er­at­ing and look at the sort­ing process to see if there was po­ten­tial for it to be­come na­tional pol­icy. “We started back then be­cause we knew that the waste man­age­ment strat­egy will lead to a cri­sis dur­ing which we won’t be able to find any piece of land in Le­banon to plants in Baabda and Taanayel, where it is split, com­pacted and later sold. The profit gen­er­ated is in­vested back into ar­cenciel’s pro­grams and rein­vested in so­cial work for peo­ple in need. Though Go­raibe is pos­i­tive about a grow­ing aware­ness to waste man­age­ment in Le­banon, for him the only long-term so­lu­tion can come from the govern­ment. “If cit­i­zens start sort­ing and see the lack of in­ter­est and in­volve­ment of their mu­nic­i­pal­ity and state they will sim­ply lose faith and stop sort­ing and re­cy­cling. This is where civil so­ci­ety in­ter­venes through NGOS like ar­cenciel in keep­ing the good prac­tice of sort­ing at source and re­cy­cling alive un­til a na­tional strat­egy will be adopted.”

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