August 28, 2015 – BALADI celebrated the completion of a rural tourism project in Barouk-Freidis, Chouf district. The project provided $171,000 to help the Barouk-Freidis municipality and community establish 19 kilometers of hiking trails passing by 13 historical sites, rehabilitate and equip a tourism and cultural information center, and organize the community’s first annual festival.
The project inauguration took place in Barouk village in the presence of USAID Mission Director Mrs. Carolyn Bryan, Minister of Tourism Mr. Michel Pharaon, RMF board member Michel Moawad, local officials, and members of the community and neighboring villages. The inauguration included a festival ribbon cutting ceremony “Shouf Lebnen Bil Barouk” and a tour of one of the rehabilitated sites, the Rachid Nakhle Cultural Center. The “Shouf Lebnen Bil Barouk” festival extends from August 28 – August 30 and includes a market for local products and handicrafts, guided hiking tours, and a wide variety of activities and entertainment for all ages. The festival is expected to attract more than 7000 visitors and to generate more than $100,000 in community sales.
The five-year, USAID-funded BALADI project will continue through 2017, supporting 17 municipal-led development activities in 58 municipalities and improving the livelihoods of more than 100,000 people throughout Lebanon. In 2015, 40 additional community activities will be selected for funding under the program. USAID BALADI supports municipalities to work inclusively with citizens to accomplish needed community development activities.