As funding constraints increasingly hinder the continued provision of blanket food assistance for the Syrian Refugee crisis, the World Food Programme (WFP) commissioned REACH in Iraq to conduct an assessment in support of a programmatic shift to targeted assistance in May 2015. Effectively a census of all Syrian refugee camps, the assessment was designed to allow for the extrapolation of vulnerability criteria which could inform this shift in programming and policy.
The entire process was collaborative; indicators were designed in partnership with WFP and UNHCR and training of field teams was organized jointly with experts from WFP’s Vulnerability Assessment and Mapping (VAM) team. The assessment itself was conducted at UNHCR case or family level and measured essential demographic, food security and livelihoods based indicators deemed essential to determine targeting criteria.
In the three weeks preceding the start of the holy month of Ramadan, field teams were deployed to each Syrian refugee camp in successive phases to conduct door-to-door data collection, ultimately surveying over 16,000 families across 9 camps. Once data collection was finalised, REACH took the lead on the data management and analysis process, producing a dataset which will serve as the cornerstone of WFP’s assistance strategy for the coming year.
The implications of this assessment go beyond informing WFP’s targeted assistance strategy. For instance, had the assessment not taken place to facilitate with targeting, assistance would have likely ceased altogether in September 2015. Moreover, further funding pledges were made following the exercise, ensuring that assistance will continue to reach the most vulnerable refugee families for at least the next year. Similar assessments are now being planned by the WFP for refugees residing in non-camp and potentially Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp settings, whose efforts REACH will continue to support.
Image: Duhok refugee camp in Iraq