Professions and Occupations Revitalizing Professions, Occupations and Vocations
By Marie-Claude SAADE
Nothing can better further the social and economic development of a country than the revitalization of its professions, occupations and vocations. As far back as October 1999, Dr. Marie-Claude Saade conceived the project "Revitalization of Professions, Occupations and Vocations in Lebanon" and presented it to senior representatives of international organizations in Lebanon, who expressed a marked interest in it. Some aspects of this projects and this strategic vision have even experienced a beginning of execution on the part of some of these organizations.

Revitalization of Professions, Occupations and Vocations has set out as an objective, to improve the statute, the professional performances and the productivity of the selected categories while encouraging and promoting the observance of ethical rules and codes of ethics.

The professional categories concerned in the first phase would be the craftsmen, the fish breeders, the beekeepers and service providers. But the project could extend to include other categories.

Regarding the profile of the activities to be promoted, they should be useful to the economy and to the national interest and/or offer work opportunities on the labor market. They could be existing activities already practiced in Lebanon, or new activities which it might be opportune to introduce and promote. Activities such as ceramics, blown glass and wrought iron could act as one of the first "sparks" of this project.

But how does the plan's anatomy present itself?

The implementation of this project will imply working at six levels:

Sociological Census (surveys and statistical studies).
Educational Professional and Vocational Training (initial and continuous training). This would take place at both technical and artistic levels.
Financial Micro-credit.
Commercial This would involve marketing through the establishment and promotion of cooperatives and consumers markets.
Health and Environment This would involve the reinforcement of health and sanitary conditions and environment protection.
Legislative This would involve the evolution of Laws and Regulations.

Micro-financing is consequently included in the process of revitalization of professions, occupations and vocations and forms an essential support to it. One of the greatest international experts in micro-credit once stated that: "Micro-credit is meant to help each individual to reach his or her potential. It does not evoke the monetary capital, but the human capital". Micro-credit addresses then the human capital.

This amounts - in the framework of this project - to help groups of individuals belonging to specific professional categories to go to the end of their capacities by making them benefit from an accompanying process going from the learning and the perfecting phase of a profession, occupation or vocation to the terminal commercial one.

Thus, not only would we offer them the adequate framework to improve their professional performances but also - and above all - we would initiate them to all the chain of operations necessary to succeed in an enterprise.

Practically, this would mean - in the framework of this project - an inversion of the steps that are usually taken: instead of going from a wide range of borrowers and afterward taking an interest in the activities that they carry out, we would on the contrary, go from a scrupulous selection of activities useful to the economy and to the national interest to take afterward an interest in those who carry them out.

We would therefore promote professions, occupations and vocations and all selected professional activities through, among other tools, micro- financing.

Not only would this approach be useful to the economy and to the national interest but it would have the great advantage of strongly sensitizing one of the main actors of micro-credit, which is the banking sector. Its current lukewarm state could be partially explained by the little interest banks give to the activities usually concerned by micro-credit. This attitude might however drastically alter in case of change of "menu" - that is - if better targeted and more motivating activities were suggested to them. If well conceived and carried out, such an initiative would further a considerable qualitative jump to micro-credit, not only in our country, but also beyond our borders.

Breathing new life into professions, occupations and vocations is definitely an ambitious challenge.





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