Our recent report for the Clingendael Institute found that erroneous narratives about refugees are damaging the effectiveness of aid. Based on over 50 interviews with people on all sides of the refugee crisis in Lebanon – from high-ranking government officials and businessmen, to donors, aid workers and refugees – we found that the stories we tell and accept may matter as much as the funding we commit.
Like a maze of leaky funnels, false narratives divert conversations about policies and funding away from protecting refugees and supporting their host communities. Ultimately, this undermines investment in the already controversial “protection in the region” agenda. Promoted by European countries, this prioritizes helping refugees in their home regions as an alternative to large-scale resettlement in Europe.