Forsa - Pathway out of poverty for Syrian and Palestinian Refugees
The project in brief
The project is implemented by theNear East Council of Churches Committee for Refugee Works (NECCCRW) – the Jordan area committee of Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees and Act for Peace, the aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia. Implemented in Jordan, the project began in June 2022 and will end in October 2023.
As a local civil society actor, NECCCRW employs the Graduation Approach to address the multifaceted issues faced by the refugee community in Jerash and provide a pathway out of extreme poverty. The project builds the self-reliance capabilities of households such that they are no longer reliant on food assistance and intermittent sources of income. The holistic approach utilises a sequenced set of time-bound interventions that invests in the livelihoods competencies of participating households while addressing the underlying protection risks identified in our aforementioned program assessments.
The overall goal of the project is to build the self-reliance capabilities of households such that they are no longer reliant on food assistance and intermittent sources of income. The following outcomes were sought:
- Outcome 1: Refugee participants in extreme poverty experience greater protective, preventative and promotive social protection mechanisms.
- Outcome 2: Participating refugee households have market-relevant skills and access to sustainable livelihoods to become economically self-reliant.
- Outcome 3: Refugee participants have enhanced financial inclusion.
Critically, the pilot is being implemented by a local civil society actor / national NGO NECCCRW who has a long-standing relationships and track record in Gaza camp, Jerash, where this initiative is being piloted.
Another key factor in the success of the program is the holistic nature of the graduation approach, which considers the structural / systematic nature of poverty and ensures that livelihoods are not treated in isolation from protection needs in the community.
Main activities of the Good Practice
This pilot includes 50 households in Gaza camp, Jerash governorate comprised of 50% Syrian refugees and 50% Palestinian refugees who are effectively the ‘host communities’ in Gaza camp.
The main activities of the project include consumption support / cash transfers for 10 months, fortnightly household mentor visits, financial literacy training and savings groups, life skills and also technical and/or vocational training based on market assessment and individual Livelihood Roadmaps for each refugee, and linkages to livelihoods (either small enterprise development or waged employment) including business registration and work permit support as needed.
The pillars are outlined in the diagram below (this picture can also be shared in separate attachment by email).
What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?
The operational context is very challenging for livelihoods, as the Gaza camp of Jerash was established to home Palestinian refugees and is characterised by chronic lack of services and social protection for both the long-time Palestinian refugees who effectively comprise the ‘host community’ in the camp, and the more recently arrived Syrian refugees who found cheap rents in the camp. While only a relatively small number of approximately 15,000 (9,295 registered) Syrian refugees resided in Jerash governorate as of December 2021, this population is particularly vulnerable due to the lack of supports in the camp itself.
How they were overcome
A market assessment was undertaken, as well as individual livelihood roadmaps for each refugee participant based on the livelihood opportunities available, the refugee’s existing competencies and experience, and their situation (i.e. whether a woman refugee felt comfortable travelling out of the camp or would prefer a home-based livelihood). Additionally, wherever funds allowed more than one member of each household would be invited to participate in skills training and/or livelihoods (job matching or establishing small business).
UNHCR supported through sponsoring the business and job permits of Syrian refugees.
Links with private sector actors were formed through key informant interviews as part of the market assessment, and then fostered to encourage private sector to take on refugees for livelihood opportunities.
Results of the Good Practice
The project does not finish until October 2023 so the results seen so far are only indicative of progress so far:
- The participants improved their psychosocial well-being, with 93% improving their confidence and self-esteem. 85% reported an increase in well-being, and 87% reported an improvement in family relationships, Overall, an 88% increase in reported safety and well-being among participants. .
- 60% of the households have begun regularly saving money utilising the financial literacy training provided and 66% report decreased indebtedness.
- 92% of beneficiaries have already been linked to jobs or small enterprises while the majority of the households continue the technical or vocational training, and of this total 76% are still working three months after the job matching.
- 100% of households have improved scores in the domains of food utilising the Self Reliance Index scoring.
- 90% of beneficiaries report they are satisfied with the timing of protection referrals and cash for protection rendered through the pilot i.e. to help them access healthcare or education for their kids etc.
- 100% of beneficiaries state they have received information from the pilot about services they were previously unaware of.
- Supporting project participants by giving grants to people with new project ideas. Where Grants were given to 58% of the families by coaching them towards good ideas for their business ideas.
- Participants have made progress in terms of social capital, with 100% reporting improvements in asking/receiving advice from others and vice versa, as well as improved social networks.
- We have made an 88% development at the level of HH regarding involving women in decision.
- Participants have made progress related to education as 88% of the out-of-school children returned to school.
- 68% of the project participants have obtained work permits so far out of our total desired goal, and the work still going on to complete the issuance of the rest of the work permits.
In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
Ultimately the goal of the project is to build the self-reliance capabilities of households such that they are no longer reliant on food assistance and intermittent sources of income.
Therefore it contributes to Objective 2 of the Global Compact on Refugees - Enhance refugee self-reliance.
We are hoping to scale up this program and continue it after this successful pilot.
Are there areas in which support would be required to continue and/or scale up your good practice?
UNHCR has provided assistance and support for Syrian refugees to access work permits and business permits, and this has been very helpful.
Similar support for Palestinian refugees would also be great.