The Effects of Social Assistance Interventions on Gender, Familial and Household Relations Among Refugees and Displaced Populations: A Review of the Literature on Interventions in Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon
Yunus, Raudah M.
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This literature review aims to explore the evidence on the effects of social assistance on gender, familial, and household relations and power dynamics among refugees and (internally) displaced populations in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon. It examines the findings from an intersectional gender perspective allowing the authors to build on the knowledge of ‘what works’ in interventions in general and hopefully improve gender equality and social inclusion. Out of 1,564 papers initially identified and screened, 22 were included in the final stage. A question that emerged as the papers were analysed was whether the arduous work of targeting individuals was efficient or necessary, given that the available evidence suggests that beneficiaries generally tend to share their stipend with other family members for the collective good. Most studies tended to conflate gender with women and girls – making distinctions between widowed, married, unmarried and divorced women – but ignoring other dimensions such as class, health status, religion, ethnicity, education, prior work experience, political affiliation, and civil participation. Many programmes and research fail to disaggregate data. Social assistance programmes focus on individuals and households, with little attention to the wider context and overall conflict. Most studies paid negligible attention to familial infrastructures and strategies for sustainable interventions. Access to, and use of, cash transfers are part of broader familial strategies to mobilise or increase resources including, for example, (male) migration in pursuit of remittances, or (female) dependency on ‘community charity’. Short-term cash transfers can, in some circumstances, disrupt individuals’ and families’ access to more sustainable income or ‘charity’. Thus, important questions are raised about the purpose of social assistance: does it aim to preserve or transform families through targeting?
CitationOosterhoff, P. and Yunus, R.M. (2022) The Effects of Social Assistance Interventions on Gender, Familial, and Household Relations Among Refugees and Displaced Populations: A Review of the Literature on Interventions in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon, BASIC Research Working Paper 11, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/BASIC.2022.011
Is part of seriesBASIC Research Working Paper;11
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