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Removing Barriers: The Path towards Inclusive Access (Jordan Report, July 2018)

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Disability Assessment among Syrian Refugees in Jordan and Lebanon



Concerning the lack of disability data in the Syria crisis context, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) and iMMAP conducted the study aimed at the following:

1.Provide statistically reliable prevalence of disability as well as disability disaggregated data indicators on access to services.

2.Increase understanding of the situation of Syrian refugees with disabilities and their households, compared to their peers without disabilities, in relation to the access to services including education, and key barriers experienced in accessing these services.

3.Recommend inclusive actions to be prioritized by humanitarian actors.


The study conducted a literature review, quantitative data collection as well as qualitative data collection.

Quantitative data was collected from 6,381 persons of randomly sampled 1,159 households in Azraq and Zaatari camps and Irbid between October 2017 and January 2018. In the light of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the study defined disability as interactions between personal and environmental factors. Disability was measured the level of difficulties a person faces when performing basic activities (referred as “domains”) regardless of impairments, using the modified Washington Group’s Extended Set (WG-ES) (more precisely, Short Set Enhanced plus fatigue) and Child Functioning Module (CFM).

Twenty-five Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) and 3 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were also conducted between November 2017 and January 2018 to elicit deeper insights on the educational situation of children with and without disabilities.


Prevalence of Disability

• 22.9% of surveyed Syrian refugees aged 2 years and above had disabilities (1,374 persons out of 6,003 persons): 13.8% in Azraq camp, 23.5% in Irbid and 30.5% in Zaatari camp. Understanding disability as the level of difficulties a person is facing when performing basic activities that could put him/her at risk of not participating in society, the prevalence of disability found by the study was markedly higher than the existing disability statistics at around 2-3% to less than 10%, many of which used questions focusing on a person’s medical conditions or impairments.

• The study further found that 62% of sampled households included at least one member with disabilities. This finding requires humanitarian actors to examine the impact of disability on households and consider the needs to promote appropriate parenting skills and support programs for families.

Causes of Disability

• 29.9% of persons with disabilities reported illness or disease as the primary cause of functional difficulties.

• Among persons who reported illness/disease, injury and malnutrition as causes of their disabilities, 24.7% considered the causes were related to the Syrian conflict. Among them, walking was the most common activity with which they faced difficulties, followed by anxiety, depression, fatigue and seeing.

• More females (34.6%) than males (24.7%) had disabilities related to illness or disease. Injuries, on the other hand, led to more males having a disability (14.7%) than females (7.1%). This suggests males’ higher exposure to risks of injuries in conflicts.