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There are around 700,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, often living in urban and peri-urban, non-camp settlements. Providing ongoing healthcare for these ‘urban refugees’ (and other vulnerable Jordanians), is a significant challenge when it comes to tackling non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as diabetes.

 …This is due to unique barriers these refugees face in accessing healthcare. Care is provided by a ‘patchwork’ of domestic and international actors – across public, private and third sectors. In other stable settings around the world, community health volunteers (CHVs) often extend care, linked with the wider healthcare system. In Jordan, CHVs, who are often Syrian refugees themselves, are already being utilised by NGOs to provide some services.

Their role is still new to Jordan; but many feel there is potential for them to do more to help detect and manage hypertension and diabetes in the community, if linked effectively with a primary care model. As the Jordanian government aims to take more domestic responsibility for refugee healthcare, the potential role of CHVs in the healthcare system is increasingly considered.

This is the focus of an R2HC-funded research study led by Parveen Parmar, from the University of Southern California, and Ruwan Ratnayake, working with the International Research Committee (IRC) in partnership with the Jordanian University of Science and Technology.

As with all research, delivering impact relies on a solid understanding of the context in which change will take place, so we visited the team to provide a ‘Research Impact’ workshop. Our goal was to define an impact objective, explore the ‘change context’ in Jordan, and map and prioritise local stakeholders for engagement.

Our workshop, facilitated by myself and our Portfolio Manager, Simon, used our Research Impact Toolkit which was uniquely developed by Overseas Development Institute’s RAPID Programme for our grantees. Participants included the co-PIs (primary investigators) and research team members working for IRC in Jordan, and program staff who guide health programmes, advocacy and community health.

Amman settlement in Jordan. Credit: Elrha

Mapping stakeholders for impact

The team first discussed an ‘impact objective’- to clarify the change they wanted their research to deliver in Jordan. Our discussions focused on the importance of defining impact in a measurable way.

We then explored the local change context, documenting knowledge from the group on key topics: knowledge and evidence, local stakeholders, opportunities/risks, and knowledge infomediaries (such as media). The team have already conducted a population survey to understand the extent of care needed for refugees with NCDs, and facilitated a two-day, multi-stakeholder ‘causal loop analysis’ workshop to explore the healthcare system in Jordan.

Finally, we mapped key stakeholders in Jordan onto a ‘Alignment/Interest/Power matrix’, and examined the influence that each stakeholder has, and the study team’s relationship with each. From there, we were able to identify high priority stakeholders and start considering how to influence these individuals.

The team decided to take a ‘staggered’ approach to engagement, as some stakeholders will be more important at earlier stages. Their contributions could strengthen the research – while others may be better to engage only once findings start to emerge.

Linking impact in Jordan with a global change agenda: research in context

This workshop was beneficial for developing an impact strategy, but there are two vital next steps for further work:

  1. Further mapping to make sure global actors and audiences are considered.
  2. Identifying the right ‘messenger’ on the research team to engage with each stakeholder – each member has useful skills, knowledge and existing relationships, with some strong partnerships already in place.

The team will start planning activities, like meeting with key stakeholders and producing briefings to support outreach, alongside the continuing work of the research study itself.

Research Impact workshops are available for all our funded research study teams. Please get in touch with me to find out more!


Cordelia Lonsdale

R2HC Research Impact Manager

Cordelia Lonsdale


Cordelia is the Research Impact Manager for the RH2C programme. She joined Elrha in 2019 and has responsibility for supporting and facilitating R2HC grantees in achieving impact through their research. She also works with the RH2C team to engage with and strengthen communities of humanitarian policy and practice, to promote collaboration and increase uptake of evidence.

Cordelia came to Elrha after seven years in the international development sector with a track record in policy research, engagement, influencing, and communications. Previously she was Senior Policy and Engagement Adviser at Development Initiatives, where she led policy and advocacy for the ‘Financing for Development’ workstream.

Cordelia loves to meet new people from all around the world, learn from others, and build connections that can inspire positive change in the world.

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