Refugee Studies

Third Party Monitoring Service

Thousands of Syrians have fled from their homeland to neighboring countries. So far the displaced are divided between Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey. Lebanon is currently hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees. UNICEF is currently providing support through Programme Cooperation Agreements (PCA’s) with more than 50 organizations. However, such a large number of refugees presents a challenge to agencies providing emergency response especially since they are spread across Lebanon’s six Mohfazas. InfoPro was commissioned by UNICEF to be its Third Party Monitor. The mandate entailed that InfoPro assess whether UNICEF’s partners are following the proper methods in handling the Syrian refugee crisis, whether they are following the exact scope of work provided by UNICEF, and eventually evaluating whether the resources allocated to the refugees are actually reaching them. InfoPro audited approximately 50 UNICEF partners / non-governmental organizations and simultaneously carried-out more than 950 site visits nationwide.


Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian (VASYR) Refugees in Lebanon

InfoPro was commissioned the study by UNICEF. The aim of the study was to identify the main problems that women, men and children refugees are currently facing in Lebanon and the coping mechanisms that they are utilizing. The survey also delved into each of the refugees’ key priorities and how they are being met, whether they are receiving assistance, community perceptions and gaps in humanitarian assistance, their future plans among other objectives. In order to reach the survey objectives, InfoPro carried out a total of 32 focus groups with female and male Syrian refugees. To convey the actual reality of the refugees, InfoPro recruited participants residing in informal tented settlements and in host communities. The study provided an in-depth analysis of the following:

  • Main problems that Syrian refugees are currently facing
  • The coping mechanisms utilized by Syrian refugees
  • Social networks of assistance: type of assistance received and perceived usefulness
  • Key priorities and refugees means of meeting them
  • Sense of safety and security
  • Future plans
  • Issues with their residency permits and civil documentation
  • Key aspects of communication


Situational Analysis Survey

UNICEF commissioned InfoPro to conduct sixteen focus groups with Lebanese and Syrian children and adolescents whose aged ranged between seven and seventeen. The aim of the study was to conduct a Situational Analysis Survey among the target group in order to assess their main concerns with regards to being healthy, safe, happy, and able to learn and be a productive member of society. The study also aimed at understanding their key social, interpersonal and physical elements as well as their feelings of wellbeing and inclusion in Lebanon. InfoPro conducted a total of sixteen focus groups among Lebanese and Syrian children and adolescents whose ages ranged between seven and seventeen.


Sport and Humanitarian Assistance Project (SAHA)

The Sports and Humanitarian Assistance (SAHA) project is a pilot project which aimed at ensuring that vulnerable boys, girls, and women are protected from violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect, as well as Gender Based Violence (GBV) through playing football and through a life skills program. The project involved Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian children aged 11-18 years and youth leaders aged between 18-25 years. It took place in Mount Lebanon, Tripoli, Akkar, Saida, and Tyre. SAHA was implemented by UNICEF, War Child Holland (WCH), Right to Play Lebanon, and the Dutch Football Federation KNVB. The objective of SAHA was to bring children from different nationalities together to help ease the tensions between them and ensure social cohesion. Football was used as a tool to develop their social skills as well as their talent. UNICEF commissioned InfoPro to hold focus group (FG) discussions with the program’s participants, the youth coaching them, and the children’s parents. The aim of the focus groups was to better understand the needs of the Syrian refugees and host communities in Lebanon to whom it is providing assistance and to monitor improvements in the social cohesion amongst adolescents and youth. In order to assess the above, InfoPro conducted 18 focus groups prior to the SAHA project and an additional 18 focus groups once the project came to an end.


Out-of-School Study

The Lebanese public education system has borne the brunt of the adjustment to the refugee inflow, and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) has made an important effort to accommodate refugee children. In consultation with UNICEF, UNHCR, and other partners, the Ministry permitted the enrollment of Syrian children in state schools regardless of their legal status. MEHE also waived school fees for the 2015/2016 academic year. Despite these measures, a large number of Syrian children are not in school. Many of them were enrolled, but for a variety of reasons never started school or left during the year, and many more were not even registered. To assess the underlying causes of this situation, UNICEF commissioned InfoPro Research to hold five focus groups with Syrian refugee women who have children between six and 17 years of age which are out of school. The focus groups were held in Beirut/Mount Lebanon, the South, the Bekaa, the T5 area (Tripoli, Minieh Dennieh, Zgharta, Koura and Batroun), and Akkar.


Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Study

InfoPro was commissioned the study. It consisted of nine focus groups carried out with participants residing in Nabatieh, South Lebanon, North Lebanon, and the Bekaa. The focus groups explored how the Informal Settlement communities evaluate the relevance, effectiveness and quality of the water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in their camps. The participants pinpointed the existence of illnesses and their relation to the sanitary and hygienic conditions in the settlements. The focus groups also discussed the interaction with WASH partners through awareness sessions and through feedback received from refugee representatives or committees.


Enrollment in Public Schools Study

To support both the refugees and their host communities, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE), with the backing of UNICEF, had waived all public school registration fees for the 2015/2016 school year. In addition, UNICEF provided “school-in-a-box” (SIB) kits to be distributed to children in public schools across the Lebanese regions. To assess the enrolment procedure and quality of tuition at public schools, as well as the distribution of UNICEF SIB kits, InfoPro held seven focus groups with Lebanese and Syrian participants residing in West Bekaa, Akkar, Tripoli, Beirut, Mount Lebanon, Nabatieh, and Saida. They targeted Lebanese or non-Lebanese caregivers of children between three and 17 years of age who are enrolled in public schools. The survey assessed the enrolment procedure and quality of education at public schools. The survey highlighted differences in the treatment of Lebanese and Syrian children, as well as differences between the first and second teaching shifts. The focus groups dealt with the timing and effectiveness of the distribution of SIB kits, and the usefulness of the distributed items. Discussions also touched on awareness sessions, feedback mechanisms and vulnerable groups.


Polio Intra Campaign Monitoring

As the threat of polio grows across the Eastern Mediterranean Region, the Ministry of Public Health launched a national polio immunization campaign to prevent polio regaining a foothold in Lebanon after an absence of 13 years. The campaign aimed to immunize at least 600,000 children under-five years of age against polio over a period of six days. During that campaign, children also received vaccines against measles and rubella as well as vitamin A which strengthened their immune systems. Vaccines were received for free at primary health centers, public and private schools, and from private doctors. Vaccinators also travelled door-to-door and mobile teams visited 1,185 informal settlements nationwide to vaccinate Syrian refugees living there. InfoPro was commissioned by UNICEF to monitor the vaccination process. InfoPro Third Party Monitors visited 73 of the settlements and carried-out two types of independent monitoring:1) In-process monitoring during the immunization campaign: monitors were requested to assess the performance of the vaccinators and to fill a pre-defined general checklist by observing teams working on the ground and 2) Intra-campaign monitoring: monitors visited settlements to check vaccination status of children based on filling another pre-defined checklist and provide an independent evaluation of quality based on finding missed children and reasons for non-vaccination.


Winter Campaign

Under the ‘Winterization Campaign’ undertaken by UNICEF, 68,609 winter kits containing warm clothes, gloves, scarves and boots were distributed to Syrian children under 15, in 862 settlements nationwide. InfoPro was mandated by UNICEF to monitor and evaluate independently the quality of the campaign. InfoPro field monitors evaluated the quality of the winter clothing kits, problems with the sizes distributed, parents satisfaction with the distribution process, and children’s satisfaction with the items provided. The independent monitoring allowed UNICEF to take action immediately, to improve the current campaign round and to make long-term improvement during future campaign rounds. InfoPro carried out 168 visits during the campaign to evaluate the satisfaction level of household members.


School Enrollment Monitoring

Within the collaboration framework between MEHE and UNICEF, the school monitoring survey intended to provide the number of children enrolled and attending school, in order to ensure that children are benefitting from the offered opportunities of attending public schools for free. InfoPro in coordination with UNICEF conducted the survey three times between June 2015 and April 2016. A total of 951 visits to public schools were carried out.  In each of the visited public schools, InfoPro field monitors evaluated the number of children registered in 2013/2014, 2014/2015, 2015/2016 scholastic years distributed across mohafaza, nationalities, gender, shift, and school cycles. Monitors also assessed the number of children attending on the day of the visit.


Cross-Border Entry Points Monitoring

UNICEF’s health and nutrition section needed to monitor the vaccination process running in four cross border entry points on the Lebanese-Syrian border and the performance of a UNICEF partner – Beyond – operating under the UNICEF Immunization program in those centers. InfoPro in coordination with UNICEF conducted a total of 112 ad hoc visits to monitor the vaccination process and the performance of Beyond in the Abboudieh, Bqaiaa, Aarida centers located in Akkar and the Masnaa center located in the West Bekaa. In each of the visited centers, InfoPro field monitors evaluated the number of passengers receiving vaccines during the visit, Inventory status (maintenance of vaccines temperature, availability of polio and measles vaccines, availability of red and blue vitamin A, the state of each vaccine vial), daily registration including number of individuals receiving each vaccine and number of pregnant women, and whether Beyond staff were registering their records.


Perception of Infant and Children Breast Feeding / Perception of Immunization

InfoPro was commissioned by UNICEF to hold a series of focus group discussions to assess the community perception towards Infant and Young Children Breast Feeding (IYCF) and also the community perception towards Routine Immunization (RI). InfoPro held four focus group discussions with Lebanese and Non-Lebanese mothers residing in Beirut and Mount Lebanon.  The aim of the focus groups was to assess participants knowledge and behavior towards IYCF including the early initiation of breastfeeding and maintenance of breastfeeding, barriers to breastfeeding, and the most trusted sources of health information and the key change motivators in their community. An additional four focus groups were conducted to assess Routine Immunization. The focus groups delved into the participants knowledge of Routine Immunization including types of vaccines and their due dates, barriers to applying routine immunization, participants’ trust in immunization services, vaccinators at PHCCs, and the vaccines themselves, in addition to other pertinent issues.


Feedback from beneficiaries of the Immunization program

UNICEF commissioned InfoPro to hold five focus groups with Syrian refugee women with children under five years old who were vaccinated at specific Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs) in Akkar, Tripoli, Tyre, Bekaa, and Beirut/Mount Lebanon. The objective was to assess the situation and needs of children under the age of five, the routine immunization service provided to them in different PHCs, the effectiveness and quality of the vaccination, as well as the parents’ recommendations and suggestions for improving the service to better suit their children’s needs.


End Violence Against Children Study

UNICEF launched The END Violence initiative, which highlighted that violence occurs throughout the world, but often happens out of sight or is tolerated because of cultural norms. In order to gain a better understanding of the violence that children face on a daily basis, UNICEF commissioned InfoPro to hold 42 focus group (FG) discussions with children and caregivers. The children were broken into two different age groups: 6-11 and 12-17. All of the FGs were made up of a single gender and nationality; either Lebanese, Syrians, or Palestinians. The objectives of the focus groups were to assess the caregivers and children’s understanding of childhood and violence against children and what can be done for improvement. InfoPro, in specific, delved into the following issues:

  • Assess the understanding of childhood
  • Assess violence against children and the means to prevent it
  • Raise awareness concerning violence against children
  • Identify ways for improvement against children’s violence.
  • Feedback mechanism and their ability to raise complaints
  • Identify vulnerable groups, profile and motivations of such people