Refugee Food Security and Health in Resettlement


The Robert Bosch Foundation Alumni Association is proud to provide this update on the Refugee Food Security and Health in Resettlement Project, an initiative of Carrie Mann (Bosch XV) which has been generously supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation, guided by the extensive experience of Dr. Ed Laurance, and realized through the partnership of Tom Stein at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Sacramento and the hard work and dedication of graduate students at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS).

The Refugee Resettlement Project is intended to both examine the effectiveness of refugee resettlement programs and to provide tools to help increase their effectiveness. It’s ultimate goal is to benefit the refugees who are rebuilding their  lives in a new place and  the communities and countries in which they settle.

Programs which help refugees resettle offer services for all the main aspects of life including housing, employment, healthcare, education, language, cultural orientation and food security as part of an effort to establish integration and long term health and sustainability. In the US, funding to offer these services is usually tied to deliverables such as a set number of hours of cultural orientation, or job training in the first 90 days. But the funding whether federal, state or private usually does not require data collection for monitoring outcomes, neither short or longer term. Those working to resettle and integrate refugees as well as those who fund those activities usually do not know if those services delivered to refugees, usually just in the first 90 days in their new country, did really help them to get or keep a job, find healthy housing in a safe neighborhood, access culturally appropriate, healthy food or maintain their health, both physical and mental and ultimately integrate into their new community.

We set out in this project to first understand what questions to ask about the resettlement process, and then to develop tools to answer these questions. We wanted to understand what challenges resettlement agencies face in their work as well as what the refugees themselves experience. We examined the process each refugee goes through from before their arrival to that 90 day mark in their new country, when most funded resettlement services come to an end. We set out to evaluate this process, but also to set up ongoing data collection and monitoring as part of the process. This is important because instead of getting a snapshot of how things are working at one point in time, incorporating monitoring into the resettlement process allows professionals to ask how they are doing at any point and more relevant – to see trends of effectiveness or not, over time.

After working with one resettlement agency- the International Rescue Committee’s Sacramento, California office – to do this research and development of monitoring tools, we began to talk with other organizations in the US. Those with whom we have spoken so far all seem to have the same deficit in resources to be able to monitor their effectiveness, yet a desire to do so. They would also like to have a way to share their best practices and to learn what is working from other professionals.

This leads to the second part of our project – the formation of a transatlantic dialog through a Transatlantic Refugee Resettlement Network (TRRN). We intend to initiate a TRRN through this project,

The Refugee Resettlement Project has two parts:

  1. Research and evaluation – tools development and pilot monitoring and evaluation (M & E):
    • Phase I: To develop pilot M & E tools for resettlement organizations to be able to assess how effective their programs are in resettling refugees – in terms of food security and health outcomes
    • Phase II: To conduct the pilot assessment using these M & E tools
  2. Transatlantic Refugee Resettlement Round Table and Network (TRRN):
    • Transatlantic Roundtable: To share the M & E tools with other US and German resettlement organizations and to learn about their research and best practices
    • TRRN: To establish a resettlement professionals-lead Network – the TRRN. The Transatlantic Roundtable event will be the kickoff event for the Network as well as a chance to share the M & E tools and best practices
  1. Research and evaluation

Phase I

Phase I was a collaboration with Professor Laurance of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and his graduate Evaluation Methods course with 13 graduate students. It is presented in the “Phase I Report”. In Phase I we researched, developed and tested the monitoring and evaluation tools for the pilot evaluation, which will be tested in Phase II.

Phase I included the following:

  • A review of literature on food security, especially pertaining to newly resettled refugees
  • A review of literature on the use of mobile data collection
  • A logic model for the IRC’s New Roots program, Sacramento, CA
  • Systems thinking maps
  • Geographic information systems (GIS) mapping of food sources
  • A Storytelling tool to walk the user through the resettlement process
  • A food source ranking index to rate local food stores for access, affordability and nutrition and food source report
  • A food resource brochure for refugees with food photos and names in Dari and Pashto
  • A trial survey on food security used in test focus groups at MIIS
  • A test survey to be conducted on mobile devices using Magpi software
  • A gender analysis framework
  • A family interview and focus groups conducted with refugee clients in Sacramento, CA to test and develop pilot survey on food security and health

Phase I is now complete and Phase II will be finishing in Spring 2017.

Phase II

The purpose of Phase II to is to test the pilot survey with refugee clients in Sacramento, CA and to examine ways to incorporate these M & E tools into the IRC resettlement process. The pilot survey is the culmination of all the research, interviews and focus groups done in Phase I.

At the end of Phase II we will put together a final report, which will include the work from Phase I, the pilot testing in Phase II and notes from the Transatlantic Roundtable event.

  1. Transatlantic Refugee Resettlement Round Table and Network (TRRN)

The TRRN is designed so that resettlement professionals and organizations themselves can take the lead. They will decide the usefulness and tasks to take on in the realm of local and national refugee resettlement and build a transatlantic dialogue and coalition of mutual support. So it is the Network members themselves who will have a stake in the Network and form it to serve their needs as they support newly settling refugees as well as their new communities.

The kickoff event for the TRRN will take place in San Francisco, CA in the late fall. It will be a round table format in which we will share this research and hear from invited guest presenters about research and resettlement projects in other regions such as a community education program in Minnesota called “My Neighbor is Muslim”, and an expert commission formed to examine the challenges in resettlement and integration in Germany. Bosch Foundation Alumni are encouraged to attend and participate as well.

Carrie Mann

Carrie Mann is a research consultant with over 10 years experience in program design, evaluation and management. She has worked in the areas of climate change, comparative culture and policy, land reuse, green building, energy efficiency, sustainable small scale agriculture and refugee resettlement. She has designed and managed small NGO’s as well as large regional partnership programs. Her more recent interest in health, mental health and women’s issues is developing as she leads yoga and nutrition workshops for women in pregnancy and those with other health challenges. Carrie lives with her family in Monterey, CA.

Dr. Edward Laurance

Professor Laurance is currently teaching, writing and providing program design and evaluation services to a violence prevention and reduction program called Cure Violence in Chicago, embedded in a graduate-level course in Evaluation.

Professor Ed Laurance has taught statistical analysis, design and evaluation for over 15 years, including field work promoting social change for such conditions as illicit arms trafficking, providing housing for flood victims (Katrina) and gang violence (Salinas and Chicago).  Dr. Laurance has been a consultant to the UN, established a global database to track small arms and light weapons and published many articles on this subject.

The Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Monterey, California

For most of its 50+ year history MIIS was known as the Monterey Institute of International Studies. In 2014 MIIS formally became a graduate school of Middlebury College in Vermont, one of the well regarded liberal arts colleges in the U.S. MIIS has two schools with programs in International Environmental Policy, Business, International Educational Management, and  Teaching English and other languages. MIIS also has a long standing respected reputation for its Translation and Interpretation Program. The evaluation faculty reside in the Development Practice and Policy Program.


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