Our Refugee Advisory Board

Refugee Co-Researchers

Empowered Aid engaged 29 South Sudanese and 26 Syrian women and girls as co-researchers. These women and girls, living as refugees in Uganda and Lebanon, decided to form a Refugee Advisory Group to oversee the implementation science phase, and provide feedback on how the SEA risk mitigation strategies they put forth were applied and tested in various aid distributions. In addition to continuing as advisors to Empowered Aid, many now hold roles as PSEA ambassadors and advocates in their communities.

“I was very comfortable, and I felt very strong because the team I was working with created a safe and trusting space to speak about the issues we have all repressed.”

- Syrian woman living in Lebanon as a refugee



Image of co-researchers located in Lebanon on a conference call
Lebanon: "Malak", Suzan Taktak, "Zeina", Amal Koussa, "Leila", Imane Ibrahim , "Jawaher", "Mona", "Nawal", Lama Sibaii

The exercises were very helpful. Through them, we tried to help ourselves and other women and girls in the community. We wanted our voices to reach all areas, all humanitarian organizations, and all distribution points.

- Syrian woman living in Lebanon as a refugee


The research team included 26 Syrian women and girls from the refugee community living in neighborhoods throughout Tripoli, Lebanon. Overall, eight were adolescent girls aged 16-17 years, eight were women aged between 18 – 34 years, and ten were between the ages of 35 – 52. Of the 22 who shared information on their background, half of the women were married (50%), seven were single and one widowed. Five (5) of the adolescent girls reported being single. All of the women who reported being married had children, including children under 18. Due to contextual sensitivity, single women and adolescent girls were not asked if they had children. The women and girls reported living in Lebanon an average of seven years (range of 5 to 10 years), and 12% (2 women and 1 girl) identified as having a disability.

I learnt how to be strong and self-sufficient. I felt like I became a new person after I took part in this project. Most importantly, I developed strength for my kids and a sense of self-entity.

- Syrian woman living in Lebanon as a refugee




Image of South Sudanese refugee co-researchers located in Uganda on a conference call
Uganda: Harriet Opani, Mary Kiden, Sitima, Karaba Peter, Julia, Hellen Manano, Harriet Tabu, Dauphine, Mary C, Janet, Laura Cinthy, Mirabel, Emmy Baraza, Lady Aminah, Rose Monday, Grace Kiden, Esther Namadi, Grace Awate, Margret Kiden, Angaika Poni

“I feel happy that I can represent voices of other girls”

- South Sudanese adolescent girl living in Uganda as a refugee


The research team included 29 South Sudanese women and girls from the refugee community living in Bidi Bidi and Imvepi refugee settlements. Overall, seven were aged 15-17 years, eighteen between 18-39 years, 3 and four were aged 41-62 years. Of the 25 who responded to questions about their background, a little over half (52%) were married, including one girl under 18. Nine were single, two widowed and one separated. All had lived in Uganda between 2 to 4 years. Four participants (16%) reported having a disability (2 women and 2 girls). Household size ranged from 2-19 people. Fifteen of 23 participants (65%) who responded to the question reported having children, including one of the participants under 18 years of age. About half of those children were under the age of 18, and five respondents had five or more children.

I experienced a lot during that Participatory Action Research Workshop. At first I didn't know that women have to have power like men. But from that workshop I came to realize that women also have the power.

- South Sudanese woman living in Uganda as a refugee


Watch the women and girls speak about their experiences of being a part of Empowered Aid and learn more about their perspective!

“Before the training…I used to be so shameful, so fearful to stand in the community to talk to people. but [after Empowered Aid trainings] I am now a leader. I can now face and  solve issues that have got women and girls, even during food distribution.”

- South Sudanese adolescent girl living in Uganda as a refugee