Mercy Corps defines social cohesion as “the state of relationships within a community based on the behaviors, attitudes, levels of trust, and collaboration that promote and foster commitment to and cooperation among the overall community.”

The goal of this project was to evaluate this definition, collect data on youth program participants’ perceptions of social cohesion, and provide measurement resources toward improving Mercy Corps’ monitoring and evaluation for their youth programing in the Middle East. “Youth” is defined as individuals 10 to 24 years old, and the project focuses on programming in Lebanon and Jordan.

This project consisted of two products:

  1. Map of existing social cohesion tools by reviewing social cohesion definitions and empirical tools in use worldwide, and specifically in reference to the Middle East, prior to travel to Jordan and Lebanon to conduct fieldwork; 
  2. Review of Mercy Corps’ social cohesion metrics by conducting and mapping outputs from individual and group interviews, focus groups, and other participatory methods with youth in Mercy Corps programing in Jordan and Lebanon. This helped the Capstone team to understand and identify youth perspectives on social cohesion and the relevance of existing Mercy Corps tools for this population.

The results of desk research and fieldwork culminated in more succinct tools and refined indicators for measuring social cohesion among youth in the Middle East. This information will further help Mercy Corps in making any necessary adaptation to their current framework and programming.