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Role of Urban Agriculture to Increase Food Security and Economic Resilience of Refugees and Vulnerable Host Communities - The case of Syrian refugees in Bourj Hammoud, Lebanon

  • Food insecurity, poor nutrition and poverty are closely linked and entail adverse consequences for the health and well-being of children and adults. They constitute major constraints to development efforts as they can imply lifelong negative effects on human development with impairments on physical and mental capacities of a population, resulting in an overall lower productivity and economic growth potential. Urban agriculture has been advocated as a strategy to improve food security. This paper exemplifies an urban gardening project that addresses food security and economic resilience of the Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese host communities executed in the suburbs of Beirut. The hypothesis underpinning this study is that urban agriculture holds the potential to contribute to increased food security and reduced urban poverty, by increasing the availability and accessibility to a variety of fresh foods that are rich in vital nutrients and by functioning as a source of livelihoods and income. The brutality of the Syrian Civil War, it’s massive damage and destruction of housing and persecutions for ethnic cleansing led more than a quarter of its originally 24 million inhabitants to seek safety in neighboring countries and Europe. The war has severely hampered the stability and development throughout the region as hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled to neighboring countries where they often compete with host communities over housing, labor, water, food and land. In relative numbers the biggest burden fell on the riparian country Lebanon, currently holding the highest ratio of refugees to nationals in the world. The small Arab country has already been suffering from many pre-existing challenges as food insecurity and widespread poverty. The high dependence on food assistance, limited access to income and uncertainties on the amount of food aid provided in each upcoming year, all contribute to an unstable and low food security status of Syrian refugee households in Lebanon with spill overs to vulnerable host communities. In 2017, 91% of Syrian families residing in Lebanon remained food insecure to some degree and the share of household’s falling into severe food insecurity keeps increasing with every year. These numbers provide clear evidence that current efforts of providing food assistance are not sufficient to combat the repercussions of the crisis and get the situation under control. The paper displays the impact of the urban gardening project on the food security and economic resilience of participating household’s, as well as lessons learned on the project design during and after the implementation phase. The sampling frame is comprised of Syrian and Lebanese families participating in the project. Primary data were derived from a survey using a questionnaire with a sample size of 41 households. The findings aim to enable stakeholders to improve the performance of similar projects in the future and support relevant government authorities, international aid institutions, non-profits and the civic society towards creating sustainable long-term solutions to increase the self-reliance of refugees by providing insights of the suitability of UA for multiple objectives and by highlighting potential challenges and risks.
Author:Verena Süß
Referee:Sudeh Dehnavi
Document Type:Master's Thesis
Publishing Institution:Hochschulbibliothek der Technischen Hochschule Köln
Granting Institution:Technische Hochschule Köln
Date of Publication (online):2018/10/05
Page Number:134
Institutes:Fakultät für Raumentwicklung und Infrastruktursysteme (F12) / Fakultät 12 / Institut für Technologie und Ressourcenmanagement in den Tropen und Subtropen
Dewey Decimal Classification:500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 500 Naturwissenschaften
Open Access:Open Access
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das UrhG