Over 15,000 Syrians live in informal tented settlements across rural Jordan. As these makeshift settlements are located far from urban centres and are cut off from their surrounding communities, the population living in these settlements tend to be the hardest to reach and the least likely to receive aid.
Throughout the months of December to March, ACTED has been distributing unconditional cash to thousands of Syrian refugees living in informal tented settlements in the desert regions of northern Jordan. As part of a UNOCHA-funded project, Syrian refugees in informal tented settlements received between 200-300 Jordanian Dinar (approx. 270-400 EUR) in cash to purchase items of their choosing, and better prepare their families for winter months.
I am very happy we were given cash. We know what we need, and this way we can buy the winter clothes that we like.
Noor purchased blankets, wood and clothes for her and her daughter. Abdullah, a Syrian refugee living in an informal tented settlement in the governorate of Mafraq, also welcomed ACTED’s distribution of cash, instead of the in-kind distributions that is a common practice among aid organisations in Jordan. «“I have sixteen members of my family and we have two tents,” Abdullah explained, “I have one gas heater but I was always moving it back and forth between the tents”.
With the cash, I was able to purchase another heater, but a small family would not have needed the same thing.
Syrians living in informal tented settlements face some of the harshest conditions, especially during winter. While made of durable materials, their tents often cannot withstand the heavy rains, harsh winds and freezing temperatures that are common in the winter months in northern Jordan. Conditions can be so difficult that these communities of 30-40 households often have to move their site to a warmer region.
It was definitely a challenge to work in informal tented settlements.
Rami continues: “The communities are located sometimes hours apart and the sites are moving all the time. But we succeeded in reaching over 3,000 people, thanks to the hard work and dedication from our team”.
With the harshest winter months now over, ACTED is looking to implement new cash-transfer projects for the most vulnerable Syrian refugees and Jordanians to provide them with the means to meet their priority basic needs and maintain their dignity.