The fact that living conditions for most Palestine Refugees living in Lebanon are precarious, as this report shows, is widely observed, commented on and may hardly need restating. Why then this report? In fact, this is the first study to evaluate poverty among refugees in Lebanon in an academically sound and comprehensive way, and to suggest a poverty reduction strategy that is evidence-based. Commissioned by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), this report profiles the socio-economic conditions and estimates the incidence of poverty among Palestine Refugees in Lebanon and links it to demographic, health, food security and other socio-economic markers. This report is based on a nationally representative household survey, covering over 2,600 households, interviewed face-to-face in late July and early August 2010 by a team of 60 data collectors supervised by the American University of Beirut (AUB). Households in camps as well as in gatherings were interviewed, in a total of 32 localities. To the best of our knowledge this is the first survey of this scale and geographical coverage in over 10 years.
The ambition of this report is not merely informative. It aims to guide UNRWA policy and develop policy recommendations based on data gathered through the household survey. Thus the added value of the present report, as compared to previous work on the same topic, stems from the scale of data it analyses and the scope of its ambition as directing and informing UNRWA policymaking in the country.
This report takes a multi-dimensional approach to poverty, taking it to be more than just the lack of income or assets but to include a household or individual’s education, health, food security and other indicators. This approach is justified by the observation that in order to take advantage of their innate capabilities to participate productively in society, individuals require a certain degree of security and care in non-economic domains such as health or food security. The report has therefore been written by a multi-disciplinary expert team of AUB academics in the fields of Community Nutrition, Public Health, Sociology, Nutritional Epidemiology, and Applied Economics and Poverty Targeting.