The University of Alicante delivered an online training on Social Impact Assessment within the framework of the MORALE project from 18th to 20th May 2021. Representatives from 7 Lebanese and Syrian Higher Education Institutions together with more 50 NGO professionals from the region were taught by Dr. Guadalupe Ortiz, Senior Lecturer of the Sociology Department from the University of Alicante. The participants were provided with an in-depth understanding of the core concepts and methodological steps of the Social Impact Assessment discipline and reflected upon its implementation on NGO actions measured according to social impacts within their own contexts. The MORALE project is part of the Capacity Building Higher Education initiative, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union in Lebanon and Syria. It aims at improving NGO capacities by collaborating with Higher Education providers in the region and is coordinated by the Beirut Arab University.

The formation provided, first, the theoretical knowledge by enabling MORALE partners to co-work with Dr. Guadalupe Ortiz on the basic concepts, history, typologies of Social Impact Assessment as a methodological tool to be applied within a political space of conflict. Afterwards, partners were guided through the different elements and methodological stages to fully develop their own “(..) process of analysing (predicting, evaluating and reflecting) and managing the intended and unintended consequences on the human environment of planned interventions (such as NGO projects)”.

In parallel, MORALE consortium  had the opportunity to apply this theoretical knowledge into real and concrete examples extracted from their own context. As such, during the practical sessions, participants were divided in groups and carried out a simulation of a Social Impact Assessment on a specific NGO project, which was later presented to the rest of participants in order to obtain feedback and recommendations for improvement. Conclusions and lessons learnt in this process will help MORALE Consortium to develop other project actions related to curricula enhancement and well as the creation of life-long learning courses.

The MORALE project aims to strengthen to the capacities of Syrian & Lebanese Higher Education Institutions to train a new generation of high skilled professionals trained by PC HEIs to effectively manage and operate in NGO environment, enhancing inclusion of refugees and the rebuilding of the South Mediterranean society. MORALE will achieve this goal by delivering capacity building actions and trainings, modernizing curricula offers at partner countries as well as devising lifelong learning courses for professionals on the field.