TYO Begins Needs Assessment
"We don’t want to just follow our own assumptions, and because of that, we have to listen to our target groups. They can teach us what are the best programs—what is missing in their lives,” says Suhad Jabi, TYO’s Psychosocial Program Manager.
As a psychologist, Suhad has worked with many women’s organizations in Palestine and the United States. She observes that one of the primary mistakes made by such well-intentioned organizations is to project their own hypotheses and assumptions on the people that they work with. Instead, organizations should demonstrate trust in their constituents by asking them to identify their own needs and empowering them to distinguish between needs and wants. By taking the voices of beneficiaries into consideration at the earliest stages of planning, organizations can build strong programs and collaborative relationships.
To that end, a team of TYO fellows and employees began a needs assessment last week for the residents of Khellet Al Amood, the Old City, and the four refugee camps in Nablus—Al Ein, Old Asker, New Asker, and Balata. The findings from this needs assessment will guide TYO’s efforts to improve our existing programs and establish new ones where necessary.
This needs assessment explores the relationships between the following indicators: parenting style, children’s psychosocial well-being, nutrition, authority structure in the home, family size, parents’ psychosocial well-being, poverty, and parents’ education. By exploring those relationships systematically, we will better understand how to support the psychosocial well-being of children, parents, and whole families in the specific communities where we work.
Over the next two months, the needs assessment team will conduct home visits with women from each target area as well as focus groups with mothers, youth, and children.
Reflecting on the focus group discussion for 7 to 9-year-old boys from Old Asker Refugee Camp, Suhad commented, "The kids are eager to learn things and want to be heard. They can share their own stories, and they are very smart about selecting the information they want to share. Still, they are not in denial about living in poverty; they’re not embarrassed to tell us that they have one bedroom in their home or that they have only one shekel a day for spending money. They’re willing to open up to us, and they are good at listening; they appreciate it. That means there’s a great hope for these young kids to live normally if they can find adults who will listen to them and their needs."