Jordan + 1 more

A mapping of social protection and humanitarian assistance programmes in Jordan: What support are refugees eligible for?

Hanna Röth, Zina Nimeh and Jessica Hagen-Zanker

Key messages

  • Around 655,000 Syrian refugees are currently registered in Jordan and are unlikely to return to Syria in the near future. With many living outside camps, they struggle to meet basic needs such as shelter and food.

  • Vulnerable Jordanians benefit from various government-run social protection schemes depending on the type and extent of their vulnerability, but these programmes do not support refugees in need.

  • Humanitarian organisations give cash and food transfers to refugees, as well as providing education and employment programmes, and legal and psychological support. Several also address the lack of safe and affordable shelter and meet specific needs in winter, but much of this support is ad hoc, with low coverage.


Jordan has a large inflow of refugees from nearby countries, particularly from Syria. Currently around 660,000 Syrian refugees are registered with UNHCR (UNHCR, 2016)1 while the total number is estimated to be around 1.4 million (Danish Refugee Council, 2016). Displacement is often protracted (Crawford et al., 2015) and it seems unlikely that the Syrian conflict will be resolved anytime soon. There is, therefore, an urgent need to explore forms of support beyond short-term humanitarian assistance. Compared to other countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Jordan has a relatively well-developed social protection system – but to what extent are refugees able to use or negotiate access to state support and how does it compare to programmes run by donors and INGOs/ NGOs?2

This report presents a desk-based review of existing national social protection and humanitarian assistance programmes run by the Jordanian Government, donors and INGOs/NGOs. It provides an overview of the social protection and humanitarian landscape in Jordan and it does so through a refugee eligibility lens. For each programme, we clearly state whether refugees are eligible for assistance. The mapping is part of a broader study examining how social transfers can be used to support refugees.3

The main output of this report is a mapping table (Annex 1), which provides an overview of existing programmes identified by the research team, including both national social protection schemes and international humanitarian interventions. The table shows key details for each programme, including core design criteria, delivery processes and eligibility criteria – specifically in relation to refugees. It provides a general overview of the social protection and humanitarian assistance landscape in Jordan, as well as details of specific programmes.

In addition to the data shown in the mapping table, this document highlights some key statistics on Jordan by way of background (Section 2). Section 3 provides an overview of the current state of social protection in Jordan and synthesises information on the main national actors, programming objectives and challenges. Section 4 discusses the different types of interventions included in the mapping, comparing them in terms of key design details and impact (where information is available).

The exercise is based on desk-research and keyinformant interviews with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), the World Food Programme (WFP) and Save the Children, conducted by phone between June and September 2016.

Read the full report on ODI.