Interventions to promote wellbeing of refugees in high- and middle-income countries

Orrnert, Anna (2020). Interventions to promote wellbeing of refugees in high- and middle-income countries. K4D Helpdesk Report 736; Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK.



This review synthesises evidence on the evidence to support specific interventions promoting refugee wellbeing, including the role of social capital and networking in high- and middle-income countries. Although there is a growing literature about refugee wellbeing, and the links with social capital and networking, the evidence around interventions is more nascent. Despite the interest in refugee wellbeing, there is no commonly agreed definition of wellbeing in the literature on this. Most definitions used include some combination of psychological, affective, social, cultural, and even practical, dimensions. Similarly, the term social capital is contested, although most definitions draw on the seminal work on social capital by Putnam (1995) or Bourdieu (1986), to include aspects of networks, reciprocity, trust, shared norms and social agency. Where evidence on interventions has been identified, it is often limited in scope (for example, studies of smaller-scale, or one-off, interventions or with a limited sample size of participants). Existing evidence is overwhelmingly available from interventions in high-income countries. Interventions in middle-income countries were more elusive.

This review highlights evidence around supporting refugee wellbeing across 5 main areas:
1. community-based interventions
2. peer-based support and cultural brokering
3. sponsorship schemes
4. digital and social media
5. non-traditional mental health and wellbeing interventions.

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