home contact sitemap
background research material related activities keeping up-to-date
Home  >> Research Papers >> A Report on the Psychological Effects of Overcrowding...>> VI. SUGGESTED APPROACHES  
Research Material
Research Projects
Research Papers
Articles and Research Papers
  Newsletters and Opinion Surveys
Videos and Documentaries
Internet Resources

A Report on the Psychological Effects of Overcrowding in Refugee Camps in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Source: Prepared for the Expert and Advisory Services Fund - International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

by Dr. Randa Farah
April 2000

This work was carried out with the aid of a grant from the Expert and Advisory Services Fund which is administered by the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada and financially supported by the Canadian International Development Agency in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.


Taking into consideration the political and empirical constraints and realities, it is possible to mitigate the effects of overcrowding on refugees, by adopting the two suggested approaches simultaneously:

  1. To select problem areas identified as an urgent need (in this report) by refugees, community workers, NGO activists and others who are working in camps and develop projects which address particular problems. As an example, to choose early marriages and/or dropouts from school as issues to tackle through training, funding and logistical support.
  2. To adopt a more indirect but wholistic approach to the social and psychological problems resulting from overcrowding that will have a long-term impact. An important approach is to activate and empower the local community by providing various kinds of support to the existing community organizations, which are currently not very effective.

There are numerous local community organizations, however, many of these are ineffective and need support, both in terms of training in skills and management and materially in terms of equipment and funding.

Overlapping services is another problem and this often means that one problem area is covered by more than one organization, while other areas are neglected. Consequently, training in human resource development and planning is important, especially for employees and volunteers working in local committees.

Another recommendation is the creation of committees representing all community-based organizations within refugee camps to continuously identify and prioritize problems; to plan, coordinate and implement programs and projects aimed at the community as a whole.

Another priority area is to upgrade the knowledge and skills of employees and volunteers, such as care for the disabled; seminars and courses for trainers and to develop local leadership skills.

It is important to provide logistical, material and financial support for short-term projects that will help mitigate problems associated with overcrowding. However, it is equally important to simultaneously support projects which empower the community, by providing training and logistical support to the community organizations who will eventually be able to tackle the problems associated with overcrowding more efficiently. Finally, while short-term projects may help mitigate and solve some of the issues related to overcrowding, the political issues and general poverty are two major factors which continue to reproduce overcrowding in refugee camps.

previous top next
  Copyright © 2008 PRRN home   contact us   sitemap