Outreach Services for Syrian & Iraqi Refugees
The Outreach for Syrian and Iraqi Refugees (OSIR 5) program supports UNHCR outreach efforts to Syrian and Iraqi refugee communities living in Jordan and helps them maintain a minimum standard of living and improve their access to education, training, and medical care while they rebuild their lives and plan for the future. Now in its fifth year, the program aims to
- identify and assess vulnerable refugees and refer them to available services
- assist the neediest families in obtaining non-food assistance and general services
- raise awareness of basic rights and services refugees are entitled to through UNHCR
- increase refugee community capacity to organize to meet self-identified goals
As of May 2013, more than 375,000 refugees were registered with UNHCR, with nearly 170,000 residing in Za’tari Camp. Through outreach, volunteers assist Iraqi and Syrian refugees and direct them to services such as healthcare, legal aid, protection, and other programs. The outreach program enables UNHCR to understand and address the needs of a changing and cautious refugee population.
Outreach & Home Visits: IRD depends on 200 trained Iraqi, Syrian, and Jordanian volunteers who visit vulnerable families in their homes and ensure that they know about and are receiving services provided by UNHCR and other international humanitarian agencies. Volunteers are divided into teams of 10 (each with a supervisor) and are trained on human and refugee rights, teamwork, communication skills, leadership skills, problem solving, documentation and reporting procedures, referral systems, and needs assessments.
Community Advisory Committees (CACs): IRD and the outreach volunteers worked closely with refugee community leaders to form 10 community advisory committees in Amman, Zarqa, Irbid, Mafraq, Ramtha, Ma’an, and Karak. Members attend workshops and training sessions focused on issues pertaining to their communities, and help resolve problems and identify vulnerable families that have not registered with UNHCR. The committees organize activities to integrate displaced groups within their host communities, helping alleviate the isolation refugees often feel. To emphasize longer term community service activities, the program works through community-based organizations who share their facilities for various community activities.
Financial & Cash Assessment: Trained volunteers conduct special cash assessment visits to identify the most vulnerable Iraqi and Syrian refugees living in urban settings and with no means to support themselves or their families. Each case is scrutinized and assessed by an IRD cash review committee, which sends recommendations to UNHCR for final decision.
Training & Awareness Building: Awareness and training sessions are organized and implemented by volunteers and CAC members. Topics include leadership skills, advocacy, gender in development, conflict and negotiation skills, proposal writing, evaluation tools, human and refugee rights, and protection and legal issues.
Quick Impact Projects (QIPs): Community advisory committees and community-based organization members, together with local municipalities, play a strategic role in identifying relevant, small-scale, quick-impact projects within each of the communities and encourage refugees to be involved in supporting their host community.
Community Impact Projects (CIPs): IRD implements community impact projects that aim to develop water supply capacity in local communities, either by increasing quantities of water pumped into water systems or rehabilitating the systems to improve efficiency. These projects are coordinated with the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) cluster group.
Za’tari Camp & Cyber City Transit Camp: Za’tari Camp opened in July 2012 as a result of the heavy influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan. The camp covers more than 5 km2 and accommodates nearly 170,000 Syrian refugees, who are living in tents and small prefab caravans. At the request of UNHCR in November 2012, IRD took over all camp management responsibilities. IRD is fully involved in other components, including community mobilization and recreational activities for families, youth, the elderly, and those with special needs. IRD also supervises the management and maintenance of more than 400 communal kitchens and monitors kitchen hygiene. In addition, IRD has begun supporting 480 Syrian and Palestinian refugees in the Cyber City Transit Camp, located in Ramtha Governorate about 70 km from Za’tari Camp. They are currently residing in a six-story, 122-room complex with 12 communal kitchens. Three OSIR attendants are assigned to Cyber City to offer assistance.
The Outreach Services for Syrian & Iraqi Refugees (OSIR-5) project is funded by UNHCR and managed by IRD. It is scheduled to run from January to December 2013.