"I Don't Know if We'll Ever Live in Harmony": Exploring the Unmet Needs of Syrian Adolescent Girls in Protracted Displacement in Lebanon
BackgroundThe current crisis in Syria has led to unprecedented displacement, with neighbouring Lebanon now hosting more than 1.5 million conflict-affected migrants from Syria. In many situations of displacement, adolescent girls are a vulnerable sub-group. This study explores and describes the self-reported unmet needs of Syrian adolescent girls who migrated to Lebanon between 2011 and 2016.MethodsThis qualitative study focusing on the unmet needs of adolescent girls was part of a larger
... h project on child marriage among Syrian migrants in Lebanon. Participants were recruited using purposive sampling in three field locations in Lebanon by locally trained research assistants. One hundred eighty-eight Syrian adolescent girls chose to tell stories about their own experiences. Using handheld tablets and an application called "Sensemaker" stories were audio-recorded and later transcribed. Participants were asked to then self-interpret their stories by answering specific quantitative survey-type questions. Demographic information was also collected. NVivo was used to undertake deductive coding using Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as an analytic frame. ResultsAmong the 188 self-reported stories from adolescent girls, more than half mentioned some form of unmet need. These needs ranged across the five levels of Maslow's Hierarchy from physiological, safety, belonging, esteem and self-actualization. Nearly two thirds of girls mentioned more than one unmet need and the girls' expressed needs varied by marital status and time since migration. Unmet esteem needs were expressed in 22% of married, and 72% of unmarried girls. Belongingness needs were expressed by 13% of girls who migrated in the last 1-3 years and 31% of those who migrated in the previous 4-5 years. ConclusionMany needs of Syrian adolescent girl migrants remain unmet in this situation of now protracted displacement. Girls most commonly expressed needs for love and belonging followed closely by needs for safety and basic resources. The level and type of unmet need differed by marital status and time since displacement. Unmet needs have been associated elsewhere with physical illness, life dissatisfaction, post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and even death. These results can inform integrated interventions and services specifically targeting adolescent girls and their families in the protracted migration situation now facing Lebanon.