In line with its Corporate Social Responsibility program “Positive touch”, touch, the leading mobile telecommunications and data operator in Lebanon, managed by Zain Group, partnered with Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI), a program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the United States Forest Service (USFS), to expand its environmental initiative “touch forest”.
In 2015, touch planted a total area of 3 hectares in Anjar and Rachayya Al-Wadi in Bekaa, a space now known as touch forest. To take the initiative further in 2016, touch, the Municipality of Tannourine and the Municipality of Ehmej, planted another 3.5 hectares of land in Ehmej, and 2.5 hectares in Tannourine. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the civil society and local residents of the area, touch successfully planted 1600 seedlings in each of Tannounrine’s Cedar Forest Nature and Ehmej Forest Nature Reserve. This constitutes an important step towards connecting green spaces, improving biodiversity and habitat as well as preventing soil erosion.
In light of this tremendous accomplishment, Lara Haddad, Vice Chairman at touch said, “Our solid Corporate Social Responsibility program Positive touch dictates certain duties, especially since touch happens to be an integral part of Lebanese society. It has been an honor to pursue a valuable environmental initiative like touch forest for two years in a row. I am confident that this project will leave positive environmental and economical marks on Tannourine and Ehmej, two municipalities that constitute real national treasures. touch will continue to carry out such projects and join efforts in creating a greener Lebanon”.
Maya Nehme, Ph.D., LRI’s Project Director in her remarks: “Our commitment to Lebanon’s forests and ours have led to the plantation of around over 600,000 native tree seedlings in different regions of Lebanon. We are very happy and enthusiastic to be part of touch’s green initiative, especially that it falls within LRI’s strategy to link existing forests and recently reforested areas to create safe biocorridors for wildlife and healthier extension of the green areas in the North, Rachaiya and Shouf. This partnership will help increase environmental awareness nationally and will contribute to increasing Lebanon’s green cover.
The green initiative touch forest is part of the larger National Reforestation efforts within Lebanon’s National Reforestation Action plan which was launched by the Lebanese Government through the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment.