Author: Mercy Corps
Year: 2019
Full Citation: Mercy Corps. (2019). Adolescence Lost: Forced Adulthood and a Fragile Future for Syria’s Next Generation. Portland: Mercy Corps.
Resource Type:
Location(s):
Target Population(s): ,
Overview:
This research is intended to provide insight into the experience of Syrian adolescents and inform effective humanitarian interventions that address actual adolescent needs and provide pathways for adolescents to build a better future for both themselves and for Syria.
  • How are adolescents inside Syria thinking about their identity, future, and engagement in (the rebuilding of) their communities or country?
  • How are adolescents’ psychosocial wellbeing and emotions regarding their reality affecting their desire to personally develop, give back to their community, and invest in their own future?
  • What should humanitarian actors do (or not do) to support Syrian adolescents in pursuing positive pathways for their individual development and community’s future?
Methodology:
Mercy Corps staff alongside six humanitarian partners in Syria listened to and documented the experiences and aspirations of 227 adolescent girls and boys aged 14-19 years, 55% of whom were girls and 45% of whom were boys. This was done by conducting 41 focus group discussions (FGDs) over the course of five months, from late 2017 to mid-2018. FGDs were conducted in 7 research sites across 5 governorates – Aleppo, Al-Hasakeh, Hama, Homs and Idlib governorates. Data collection took place from December 2017 to April 2018.
Findings:
  • Syria’s adolescents have lived full lifetimes before the age of 19.
  • There is not a single “Syrian adolescent” profile.
  • Adolescent expectations deeply affect wellbeing and resilience.
  • Pain is persistent and penetrating, and it cannot be ignored.
  • Adolescents are proud to be Syrian - but have very divergent visions of what that means.
  • Purpose matters.
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