Za'atari Camp Cookbook

The world faces the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII: Over 65 million of the world’s people are displaced by war, persecution, natural disasters and economic hardship. They leave home with nothing and end up torn away from their families and communities. Refugees are economically and socially marginalized, lacking healthcare, education and jobs.

Refugees need many services, including capacity building. This approach involves understanding the obstacles facing people and communities, and enhancing the skills they need to achieve sustainable results. Since every group of refugees is different, service providers struggle to find low-cost, effective and culturally competent capacity-building tools that work across the board.

We are making a service providers’ guide for mobilizing refugees to curate, design and produce a cookbook of recipes and stories with the goal of generating community and building capacity.

The toolkit would provide instructions on how to mobilize refugees to curate, design and produce a cookbook of recipes and stories with the goal of generating community and building capacity.   

We envision the toolkit as an online guide with step-by-step instructions on facilitating the refugee-driven development of a cookbook. The guide would include a list of research activities, design methods, capacity-building principles, and design and publishing advice for refugee service providers.  

Why create a cookbook? Food nourishes the soul, not just the body. It is universal. Torn from their families and country, refugees use cooking as a way to preserve their cultural heritage and spark authentic human connections.

We would develop the toolkit based on a pilot study planned at Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan. Our team members have worked extensively at the camp and have built relationships both with refugees and service providers.

As the international community struggles to meet the demands of the global migration crisis, the number of refugees continues to grow. The current humanitarian response network is not equipped to handle so many people in such dire need. Addressing these challenges on a systemic level requires urgent attention from researchers, service providers and industry leaders. The toolkit we are proposing has the potential to help hundreds of thousands of refugees get the services they need to succeed.