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UNHCR consultations with refugees – The Jordan Compact, one year later

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Understanding main challenges, analysis of the group discussions
5-19 January-2017, Amman, Aqaba, Irbid

The consultations with refugee leaders and active members of the CSCs (Community Support Committees) were organized by UNHCR Amman to discuss education and livelihoods over the last year, priorities in the Jordan compact. Over 80 refugees from 12 Governorates participated in the discussions with UNHCR representative, UNHCR sector specialists in community services, livelihoods and public information as well as field staff. The consultations complement the information collected through the participatory assessment (October-November 2016), the rapid phone survey on work permits (November 2016) and UNHCR’s counselling and regular exchanges with refugee communities.

What prevents Syrian children from going and staying in school?

The difficult economic situation of families was mentioned by all groups as main obstacle to school attendance; the distance of school and lack of transport.

Syrian students finish late in the afternoon: this is difficult for girls especially, therefore parents keep girls home.

Refugee parents in rural areas do not send children to schools that are far away; families who work in agriculture change residence often and keep children out of the regular school system.

Teachers in the afternoon shift are new graduates, are not committed; they are not positively engaged, are not sufficiently guided and do not understand the difficulties refugee children have. Psychosocial support is not available or very limited in the public school system.

University is too costly; lack of future prospects prevents many to continue education also at lower levels.

Lack of documentation prevents access to school: In the absence of a MoI card (because of having left the camp irregularly) children are not registered in school.

What does the work permit mean to Syrian refugees? What are the concerns?

Work permits are important because they make work legal, provide for freedom of movement, guarantee rights and protection, as well as stability and fixed income. However, while assistance is not sufficient to live on and work is necessary, there is a concern that formal, regularized work and the issuance of a work permit document will eventually result in reduction of assistance. No family can live on either one or the other, if the salary is low.

Refugee community leaders discussed the lack of information about available jobs. There are no opportunities for well-educated refugees, nor possibility to regularize jobs in higher professions (doctors and other professionals).

The fact that work permits are attached to a job/contract is not conducive for daily/seasonal jobs (in which many refugees are engaged) and discourages formalization; minimum salary jobs (190 JDs) and long working are not attractive as it does not leave time for occasional (daily or seasonal) jobs. In addition, it is difficult to change job, especially for those who work in factories, as a new job requires to start the work permit procedure all over again.