American University of Beirut

Understanding informal adaptive mechanisms, resilience, and agency among Syrian refugees working in the informal economies of Lebanon and Jordan

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Project Overview

​​​​​​Funded by the Ford Foundation, this 3-year project aims to understand the various adaptive mechanisms adopted by Syrian refugees to secure their livelihoods in the informal economy. It explores whether these informal adaptive mechanisms are tangible manifestations of refugee communities’ abilities to be resilient, adaptive and have agency to fend off the crisis they are facing and establish their functioning capacities to secure their livelihoods. To this end, five case studies were conducted in Lebanon and Jordan that focus on refugees’ adaptation experiences. The case studies were conducted among micro-entrepreneurs, tribal communities, agricultural workers, and females who head their households, and delve into how key dimensions,​ such as legality, temporality, connectedness, spatiality, and gender roles, ​influence refugees’ ability to adapt and secure their livelihoods in the informal economy.

Check out the full project overview, h​ere.

​Case Study Reports

Nur Turkmani, Economic Development Solutions
Kanj Hamade, Faculty of Agriculture, Lebanese University

Paivi Miettunen, University of Helsinki
Mohammed Shunnaq, Yarmouk University
Rouba Mhaissen, Independent Researcher​
Osama Alaa Aldien, Independent Researcher
Ramzi Fathallah, Suliman S. Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut

Research report​: Shadows to light: Syrian refugee entrepreneurs in Jordan’s informal economy
Ramzi Fathallah, Suliman S. Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut

Other Publications and Outputs​

Nabil Abdo, Independent Researcher
Rabih Jamil, Independent Researcher​​

Maysa Baroud, Project Coordinator, Refugee Research and Policy Program, IFI 
Nour Zeidan, Researcher, Refugee Research an​d Policy Program, IFI

Webinar: The impact of the economic crisis on refugees & host communities in the informal economy in Lebanon​

Infographic: ​Timeline of major policies influencing the livelihoods of Syrian refugees in Jordan

Infographic: Timeline of major policies influencing the livelihoods of Syrian refugees in Lebanon

​​Special thanks to the project advisory committee, consisting of local and regional experts from among civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, UN agencies, research centers, and universities, for their time and feedback throughout the project. Their input was invaluable for the overall project design and implementation, as well as to the development of the individual case studies. 

Project Contact Persons

*The views expressed in these publications are solely those of the authors, and do not reflect the views of the Ford Foundation, the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, or the American University of Beirut.*

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