Relief – Za’atari Refugee Camp

Supporting refugees at Za’atari Refugee Camp through community mobilization, engagement, and health initiatives.

Community Based Support to Refugees 2 (CBSR II) aims to provide community services and support to Jordanian host-community members, and Syrian and non-Syrian refugees residing in camp (Za’atari, King Abdullah Park (KAP), Cyber City (CC)) and urban settings through community outreach, mobilization, and capacity development.

The three overarching objectives of CBSR II are:

  • Providing support in assessing the status and needs of the Syrian refugee population in order to connect refugees with the services needed;
  • Supporting and expanding community mobilization and self-management among refugees and Jordanians in urban host communities;
  • Providing access to services for those with specialized needs, including psychosocial issues, disabilities, injuries, chronic diseases and survivors of Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV).

At Za’atari Refugee Camp, volunteers in Jordan play a key role in connecting incoming refugees with essential services and opportunities for development and participation. Through effective case management CBSR II serves and protects the most vulnerable groups of refugees, including people with disabilities (PwDs), the elderly, female-headed households, single parents, unaccompanied or separated children, survivors of Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SBGV) and others. Social workers involved in the program aim to increase the general well-being and protection of vulnerable people by conducting comprehensive case management, including identifying vulnerable refugees, providing informational and basic psychosocial counselling, following up, evaluating, and ensuring basic needs are met by advocating for basic assistance and mapping gaps in service provisions and resources.

Case management also includes vulnerability data collection through vulnerability assessments. These assessments contribute to UNHCR’s Refugee Assistance Information System (RAIS) database. This data will, ideally, support more organized and efficient referrals and follow up; facilitate targeted, needs-based service provisions; and inform identification of strengths and gaps in camp-wide service provisions. To date, CBSR II has assessed over 19,000 Syrian refugees and over 380 Iraqi refugees for vulnerability.

In addition to case management, the program contains three additional major components: community health, community mobilization, and community engagement, sports and recreation.

The health component in Za’atari functions at the community level, where the program has the greatest influence and strength in outreach and coordination. CBSR II works to improve the health status of camp residents through increased access to and awareness of healthcare services, and through an informed and capable community health system. By conducting home visits, the 120 Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) provide increased awareness of healthcare services and health education that empower the community to seek the services they need to live healthier lifestyles. CHVs refer cases to in-camp healthcare providers through direct coordination, distribute health-related non-food items (NFIs) and operate oral rehydration corners in clinics that provide oral rehydration treatment for children. For priority health issues, CHVs carry out follow-up visits and encourage follow through treatment and appointments. Priority issues include pre-natal, post-natal and new-born care; reproductive health; malnutrition detection; cerebral palsy; immunization; and communicable diseases.

The community mobilization component supports development and empowerment of the Syrian community in Za’atari Camp. It aims to provide outreach and disseminate information to support awareness campaigns and enhance refugee knowledge of camp operations, issues, services, etc. In addition, CBSR II facilitates and develops self-management mechanisms whereby refugees can engage in problem-solving and decision-making on behalf of their own communities, and provide suggestions and feedback on services provided. An example of this is community gatherings. The topic for each gathering is decided based on a vote at the end of the previous gathering. Topics discussed in the past include complaint mechanisms, UNHCR cash assistance, and camp procedures and limitations. Furthermore, the program maintains regular contact points and a strong presence on the ground. This builds capacity for long-term sustainable self-management of refugees and involves refugees in the processes that run their lives in the camp, preventing alienation and discontentment.

The final component, community engagement, sports and recreation, promotes community development, cohesion, and resilience through the provision of educational, recreational, cultural and social opportunities for Syrian refugees at program community centers and recreation fields. The objective is to effectively and sustainably manage facilities that provide the community with clean, safe spaces to access resources that support their personal and social development and well-being and opportunities to enhance their education, build transferrable skills, and take initiative and leadership in their communities. Each community center has dedicated Syrian volunteers compensated through a cash-for-work program, including guards, librarians, and cleaners. The centers offer a multitude of programs, including English, French and Arabic literacy, handicraft, tailoring and beautician training, art, taekwondo, soccer and computer classes.