Oxfam’s Host Community Team Works to Improve Living Conditions for Syrians and Jordanians who are Most in Need

Oxfam’s host community team has been working in different areas in Jordan since May where many Syrian Refugees are residing; particularly in Salt, Baq’aa Camp, and the areas of Safout and Ein Al Basha that are in the Balqa’ governorate. In addition to that, they have been working in informal settlements in east and south Amman, and will also begin working in different areas in the Zarqa’ governorate. Assistance delivered to Syrians and Jordanians in each location differs depending on the targeted area; this includes distribution of hygiene kits and cash assistance. Moreover, the team carries out monitoring and evaluation of the activities as well as delivers awareness raising sessions to beneficiaries to get their thoughts and opinions about the provided services and how to improve them.

Oxfam’s public health and protection officer Do’aa Al-Suri says that the selection of beneficiaries is done through community based organizations (CBOs) in the targeted locations. The names of all registered beneficiaries in the CBOs are shared and their status evaluated based on information of them in the database of the CBO or, in some cases, home visits.

According to Al-Suri, at the beginning of the project hygiene kits were distributed to beneficiaries in the host communities and informal settlements; these contained toothpaste, toothbrushes, detergent, nail clipper, soap bars, and cleaning material for the house. After direct consultation with beneficiaries it was concluded that people’s needs differ from one family to another, and this gave Oxfam the idea to switch from delivering a set hygiene kit and into hygiene vouchers. The organization worked with local super markets and agreed on a mechanism involving the use of these vouchers to buy basic hygiene items that the families need the most, regardless if the item was previously part of the distributed hygiene kits.

Mustafa Hadid, cash distribution officer in Oxfam, stresses the detailed criteria that Oxfam has set for the selection of the most vulnerable families to receive cash assistance. For example, choosing families who do not receive cash assistance from UNHCR, the state of the family’s breadwinner, or the presence of chronic diseases in the family and to what degree. For people living in informal settlements, cash assistance is delivered by direct cash payment while people living in the host communities are given a credit card that is pre-paid monthly by Oxfam with the set amount. Beneficiaries can then withdraw cash from these cards from ATMs in their surrounding areas.

Monitoring and evaluation officer in Oxfam, Rasha Jaradat, clarifies the importance of monitoring the progress and activities of the project to ensure that beneficiaries are receiving assistance in the desired way; such as taking their opinions into consideration and consulting them in order to improve the project delivery. This is done through a free hotline for the project as well a mechanism developed to take suggestions and answer any queries made during distributions and awareness raising sessions.

The host community team notes that every person and each family has their own issues and needs that differ from one another, which is challenging at times. This prompts them to come up with different ways in order to attract people to attend the awareness raising sessions that currently target men and women and will expand to target children and youth. As a way to assist the team, volunteers are chosen from the beneficiaries themselves whom are willing to work with the organization and who want to improve the standards of living of the people and find ways to solve the problems that they are going through. These volunteers are chosen carefully as they represent Oxfam and its work in the host community.

Doaa

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Filed under Awareness Raising & Capacity Building, Water & Sanitation

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