The Project Topic 2020

"Life of Refugees in Host Communities: Health, Education and Gender Equality"

According to UNHCR, around 75% of refugees worldwide do not live in official camps but in rural or urban areas in private homes or self-organized settlements. Compared to camps, the care and protection situation of refugees is different. It is more difficult for involved organizations to reach their target group, and municipalities are increasingly demanded to take care of the protection-seeking population and find ways to reconcile the interests and needs of local residents and refugees. However, a conflict-ridden confrontation and a lack of dialogue between refugees and the receiving society/ community can jeopardize social cohesion, which may already be fragile anyway. Therefore, sustainable action strategies at economic, political and social level are needed to facilitate peaceful coexistence of locals and migrant populations.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework to be used to explore the topic. One reason to examine the SDGs in the context of flight and migration is to exchange views on the significance and relevance of this global agreement for the sustainable development of our world and a profiled social work in this field of action.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015, focuses in particular on strengthening and assisting vulnerable groups, i.a. Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants. With regard to migration, the declaration emphasizes the potential of migrants to make a positive contribution to sustainable development; that everyone, regardless of their status, deserves humane treatment and the recognition of their human rights; and that the resilience of the host societies should be strengthened.

In the project year 2020, the lives of refugees and host population in transit and destination countries will be examined with regard to three specific areas - health, education and gender equality. For this purpose, the SDGs 3 "Good Health & Well-Being", 4 "Quality Education" and 5 "Gender Equality" will be analyzed and linked to the corresponding fields of action of social work in the refugee context, always in connection with the already mentioned SDGs 10 and 16.

SDG 3 aims to ensure a healthy life for all people of all ages and promote their well-being. The inclusion of refugees has to take into account their precarious supply situation. On the other hand, international relief measures provided for refugees can occasionally lead to a privileged situation for refugees, challenging local social welfare systems to provide just and equal support to all. In that regard, the situation in the countries should be analyzed and sustainable guidelines identified.

SDG 4 calls for ensuring inclusive, equitable and quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. The inclusion of a considerable number of refugees poses enormous challenges for the host society. In any case, capacity that is already mostly utilized will be additionally strained by the taking in of the refugees. The basic requirement for inclusion is counterbalanced by the need for prior special needs support (linguistic or technical). Like other inclusion measures, refugee-related ones challenge the education level, because of the associated distribution of resources and content-related adjustments. The project examines how Lebanon, Germany and Jordan respond to this challenge and what position social work should represent in this context.

SDG 5 wants to achieve gender equality and enable all women and girls to be self-determined. The process of achieving equality is repeatedly questioned and influenced by migration from areas with different levels of development. It requires a new social consensus, including preliminary negotiation processes. These will be explored in relation to the three program countries, including the potentials of social work for sustainable intervention.

The project participants will address the following aspects:

  • SDG 3 “Healthy Lives and Well-being” in the Refugee Context
  • SDG 4 “Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education” in the Refugee Context
  • SDG 5 “Gender Quality and Empower all Women and Girls” in the Refugee Context