Iraqi refugees in Jordan research their own living conditions: ‘we only have our faith and families to hold on to’

Salem-Pickartz, J. (2009). Iraqi refugees in Jordan research their own living conditions:‘we only have our faith and families to hold on to’. Intervention, 7(1), 34-49.

Thirty-six Iraqi refugees designed and conducted a community survey among their fellow refugees in Amman/Jordan in July 2007, as part of the 2007/08 CARE International Refugee Programme in Jordan1. The survey aimed to capture their living conditions from a community mental health perspective, with a special focus on gender based violence, and to identify resources for community development initiatives. Three hundred and fifty-four Iraqis, between the age of 10 and 86 years, were interviewed through a mixture of institution based and ‘snowball’ sampling.

This article highlights the general challenges to studying temporary communities under distress, and the special obstacles to gathering valid and reliable information on sensitive topics, such as violence, in a situation of pervasive fear and mistrust. The main findings are presented and discussed with regard to projects and activities that can strengthen refugee communities' mental health.

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