36 community mobilizers make daily rounds to provide community-level support to Syrian refugees throughout Za’atari camp.
Under the scorching mid-summer sun and the heavy rains of the Jordanian winter, 36 community mobilizers make daily rounds to provide community-level support to Syrian refugees throughout Za’atari camp. They conduct focus groups with refugees to resolve service issues, manage over 700 communal kitchens and Syrian kitchen supervisors, support UNHCR field staff with distributions, spread important information through door-to-door campaigns and help individual Syrian refugees to connect with needed services.
Talal Ibrahim from Amman and Ala’a Al Jarrah from Irbid, both 26 years old, work in District Three. The district has 17 streets, and houses around 5800 Syrian refugees. It takes Ibrahim and Al-Jarrah two working days to reach each family.
Ibrahim and Al Jarrah describe the strain of working each day with struggling refugees, hearing their stories and addressing challenging cases. “The Syrians are scared and have just experienced war. Dealing with people in this state is difficult,” Al Jarrah states. “Sometimes, we can’t help. The support they need is not available in the camp.”
Despite these challenges, Ibrahim and Al Jarrah are happy to be working in the camp. Al Jarrah studied chemistry and Ibrahim studied business administration, but they joined us to work for a humanitarian cause. “We have the opportunity to meet and learn from people from all over the world who also work in Za’atari camp,” adds Al Jarrah.
And after two years with us in Za’atari camp, one of the most rewarding parts of their job is developing personal relationships with the community. “You’re part of the neighborhood, not an outsider,” Ibrahim states.
Community mobilizers rely on strong relationships to involve refugees in decision making processes and problem solving. Ibrahim and Al Jarrah used this approach to gather and support a group of Syrians in District Three as they created a community garden to absorb pooling water. Partnership between the aid community and the refugees they serve is increasingly vital as the assistance in Za’atari camp transitions from emergency response to development.
The Outreach Services for Syrian & Iraqi Refugees project is funded by UNHCR and managed by IRD.