Evaluation of a mobile approach to gender-based violence service delivery among Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Featured Journal Content – GBV Services Delivery

Health Policy and Planning
Volume 33, Issue 7, 1 September 2018,
Original Articles
Evaluation of a mobile approach to gender-based violence service delivery among Syrian refugees in Lebanon
Pamela Lilleston [plillston@gmail.com]; Liliane Winograd; Spogmay Ahmed; Dounia Salamé; Dayana Al Alam …
Health Policy and Planning, Volume 33, Issue 7, 1 September 2018, Pages 767–776, https://doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czy050
As the landscape of humanitarian response shifts from camp-based to urban- and informal-tented settlement-based responses, service providers and policymakers must consider creative modes for delivering health services. Psychosocial support and case management can be life-saving services for refugee women and girls who are at increased risk for physical, sexual and psychological gender-based violence (GBV). However, these services are often unavailable in non-camp refugee settings. We evaluated an innovative mobile service delivery model for GBV response and mitigation implemented by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Lebanon. In October 2015, we conducted in-depth interviews with IRC staff (n=11), Syrian refugee women (n=40) and adolescent girls (n=26) to explore whether the mobile services meet the support needs of refugees and uphold international standards for GBV service delivery. Recruitment was conducted via purposive sampling. Data were analysed using deductive and inductive approaches in NVivo. Findings suggest that by providing free, flexible service delivery in women’s own communities, the mobile model overcame barriers that limited women’s and girls’ access to essential services, including transportation, checkpoints, cost and gendered expectations around mobility and domestic responsibilities. Participants described the services as strengthening social networks, reducing feelings of idleness and isolation, and increasing knowledge and self-confidence. Results indicate that the model requires skilled, creative staff who can assess community readiness for activities, quickly build trust and ensure confidentiality in contexts of displacement and disruption. Referring survivors to legal and medical services was challenging in a context with limited access to quality services. The IRC’s mobile service delivery model is a promising approach for accessing hard-to-reach refugee populations with critical GBV services.