Perceptions of External Support in Jordanian Communities Hosting Syrian Refugees
1 August 2013 - 31 March 2014
Focus Group Discussion, Community Key informant
||REACH, with support from the British Embassy in Amman, undertook a large assessment in Jordanian host
communities focusing on prioritization of needs, vulnerabilities and tensions that have emerged as a result of the
Syrian refugee crisis. The assessment was undertaken over a six month time period between August and March
2014 and included a series of data collection and analysis exercises. First, a desk review was conducted to
outline the broad challenges, needs and priorities in Jordan as a result of the Syrian refugee crisis. The findings
from this desk review informed the methodology for a key informant assessment in 446 communities in the six
northern governorates of Ajloun, Balqa, Irbid, Jarash, Al Mafraq and Zarqa.
Findings from the key informant assessment were then used to select the 160 host communities most at risk of
high tension and insecurity, which were identified based on having the lowest level of resilience.11 REACH then
undertook a community-level assessment of Jordanians and Syrians living in these 160 communities from
December 2013 until early March 2014. Administration of questionnaires and eight FGDs with on average 6
participants per group were undertaken in each of these communities. During the targeted assessment phase
7,158 individual questionnaires were completed and 1,280 FGDs with Jordanians and Syrians.
In addition, REACH hosted six participatory workshops with local government representatives from the six
sampled governorates during January and February 2014. The aim of these workshops was to gain a better
understanding of perceptions, challenges and needs of local government institutions in providing support to host
communities and incoming refugees. In particular, these workshops sought to identify the priority sectors in each
governorate to inform programming around social cohesion and resilience. They thereby complemented the
community-level data collection to illustrate a comprehensive and nuanced perspective of vulnerabilities and
challenges to resilience in Jordanian host communities.
Displaced - Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Displaced - Others of Concern, Urban / Rural Population, Host Communities, Non-Displaced - Host
Privately hosted, Individual accommodation (not hosted)
Community, Individual, Other
In Jordan, few comprehensive studies have been conducted to provide an in-depth understanding of the key
drivers of host community tensions. To address this information gap, this multi-sectoral REACH assessment
aimed at identifying where tensions have emerged across northern Jordan as a result of the Syrian refugee
crisis, and how they could be mitigated through social cohesion and resilience programming. In the shift from
humanitarian relief to long-term development, the assessment aims to promote and inform the mainstreaming of
a ‘Do No Harm’ approach in the response provided to conflict-affected populations residing in Jordanian host
communities. Sectors assessed included: education, external support, healthcare, livelihoods, municipal
services, shelter and water.
REACH found external support to be a major source of tension in host communities that were estimated to be at
relatively high risk of tension at the time of assessment. Key findings from the assessment include:
41% of respondents reported that their community had received external support.
70% of respondents who received assistance agreed that support had helped their community.
However, 67% amongst those that agreed support had helped their community also stated that support had
83% of those who stated that aid had negative effects said this related to more tension in the community.
Considerably more Jordanian respondents (78%) than Syrian respondents (58%) felt that support was
unevenly accessible by the two groups.
Overall, more female (91%) than male respondents (66%) and more Syrians (91%) than Jordanians (75%)
considered that external support had caused more tension in their community.
This report highlights that while external support aims to provide relief, reduce conflict and minimise harm in
Jordanian host communities it is inextricably linked to community dynamics. It may catalyse frictions between
Jordanian and Syrian populations, escalating tensions and negative perceptions of assistance. Assessment
findings reinforced the need for humanitarian and development actors to carefully address the way that support
is perceived to be distributed among both Jordanian and Syrian beneficiaries in host communities to maximise
aid effectiveness. Adhering to the ‘Do No Harm’ principle and taking a long-term approach to development in the
region will be crucial to building greater social cohesion. As the humanitarian community transitions to allocating
more aid outside formal camp settings, the way in which aid is distributed among refugees and the local
community will become an increasingly important issue, especially in northern Jordan.
Syrian Arab Republic