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Advancing the concept of resilient livelihoods for Syrian refugees

After three years of civil war in Syria and millions of displaced in the neighbouring countries, the humanitarian community adopted a new response plan that aims to shift from providing pure humanitarian assistance to a more nuanced approach, that is, support the longer term resilience of the refugees and their host community. UNDP and UNHCR have been endorsing and leading this new approach and MERI is currently undertaking a research project to advance and apply the concept of resilient livelihoods for Syrian refugees living in the camps within the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

MERI has been granted funding by UNDP for this research, titled, “Resilience-building for Syrian refugee camps and the neighbouring host community.” The project aims to evaluate the feasibility of transforming the refugee camps in the Kurdistan Region and the neighbouring towns into resilient communities. In essence, this implies putting forward strategies that empower people’s own ability to achieve their livelihood expectations in conflict-affected areas and reducing their dependence on external aid.

Started in early April, the project development is based on the following three pillars:

  1. Evaluation of the livelihoods baseline and the impact of the crisis for both the host and the refugee communities.
  2. Understanding the social and political consensus in the Kurdistan Region over a long-term resilience-building approach for Syrian refugees.
  3. Formulation of recommendations to base a resilient livelihoods programme by project partners and the Kurdistan Region’s policy-makers.

A detailed description of the project context and activities can be found here.

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About MERI:  The Middle East Research Institute is Iraq’s leading policy-research institute and think tank. It is an independent, entirely grant-funded not-for-profit organisation, based in Erbil, Kurdistan Region.  Its mission is to contribute to the process of nation-building, state-building and democratisation via engagement, research, analysis and policy debates.

MERI’s main objectives include promoting and developing human rights, good governance, the rule of law and social and economic prosperity. MERI conduct high impact, high quality research (including purpose-based field work) and has published extensively in areas of: human rights, government reform, international politics, national security, ISIS, refugees, IDPs, minority rights (Christians, Yezidis, Turkmen, Shabaks, Sabi mandeans), Baghdad-Erbil relations, Hashd Al-Shabi, Peshmarga, violence against women, civil society. MERI engages policy- and decision-makers, the civil society and general public via publication, focused group discussions and conferences (MERI Forum).

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