Refugee Food Security and Nutrition Coordinator
The Refugee Food Security and Nutrition Coordinator position will expand our resettlement program’s services to help refugee families access healthy food and wellness by promoting community integration and by supporting economic self-sufficiency. To achieve this goal, we expect the Philly Fellow will accomplish the following: a) Facilitate community education on nutrition and access to healthy food. b) Develop a curriculum for community orientation to support on-going education. c) Create a resource map identifying local food resources that accept EBT cards and food stamps and local community gardens. d) Establish new resources for refugee families to be able to participate in gardening and farming helping them to get engaged in their community and honoring their ethnic traditions and heritage. e) Promote job training programs within local small business and food resources, such as food cooperatives.
As a resettlement agency, we will be able to plant the seeds of health and nutrition for refugees in their new lives. Refugees will be contributing to the community through gardening opportunities and have access to food to alleviating stress on their household food budget. New income and employment opportunities will arise by selling vegetables and connecting with local restaurants and business owners. Refugees will learn more and will teach and share the information, helping Philadelphia to be a healthier more welcoming city.
Address 2100 Arch Street, 3rd Floor; Philadelphia, PA 19103
Total number of Agency Staff Members 18
Please state in measurable and quantifiable terms the specific community need that the Philly Fellow will address
Every year nearly 800 refugees are resettled in Philadelphia. Many of these refugees are being resettled in the United States after spending decades in refugee camps. Refugees face serious nutritional risks before they arrive in the United States. Undiagnosed chronic diseases, a lack of food diversity in their home countries or in refugee camps, and poor feeding practices are among the leading causes of malnutrition. Once resettled in Philadelphia, refugees are faced with new issues and challenges that can adversely affect their health and wellness. HIAS Pennsylvania is one of three local nonprofit organizations that provide resettlement services to 150 arriving refugees or 50 refugee families every year. As part of a cooperative agreement with the Department of State, our Refugee Resettlement Program works to find a safe, secure and affordable home for the family; greets the family at the airport and provides for a warm meal; assists in applying for social security cards and public benefits; facilitates access to a thorough medical screening; conducts community orientation; and helps refugees to become self-sufficient through employment and education.
Resettled refugees often arrive to Philadelphia with little knowledge of nutrition or available food choices. Refugees come from countries in which the food, diet and health care systems can be quite different from those in the U.S. The two largest groups of refugees currently being resettled by HIAS Pennsylvania are coming from an agrarian background. Bhutanese refugees, for instance, have been residing in camps in Nepal for 18 years and are experienced farmers. Similarly, most refugees from Burma are also farmers and have been living in refugee camps in Thailand for decades. In these camps, they become dependent upon food rations.
HIAS Pennsylvania and the other resettlement agencies resettle refugees in neighborhoods with similar ethnic groups. Bhutanese and Burmese refugees are predominately being resettled in the Southeast corridor of Philadelphia, while Iraqi refugees are placed in the Northeast. In these neighborhoods, there is an abundance of cheap, unhealthy foods that are high in fat, sodium and sugar and nutrient poor. Most refugees find it difficult or financially prohibitive to procure and prepare the foods that they knew in their countries of origin. Refugees are limited to the resources and knowledge about their new food environment.
The fellow’s work will establish programs that help resettled refugees access healthy food and other nutrition-related resources.
Describe how your agency addresses this need, and how the new capacity created by this fellow will help alleviate the problem
HIAS Pennsylvania’s Refugee Resettlement Program currently provides community orientation to refugees on topics such as the public safety, local resources and services, and how to navigate and access health care. Our staff organizes nutrition workshops on an ad hoc basis and uses the Bhutanese Women’s group as a forum to discuss food resources and new ways of cooking. Our social work interns assist refugee families who are eligible in applying for federal assistance through the Women, Infants, and Children Program. They accompany refugees to the grocery store to help them shop using the very specific coupons to purchase foods that are culturally appropriate. In the summer of 2011, another resettlement agency (Nationalities Service Center) established a refugee farm in South Philadelphia. Plots of this garden are available to refugees resettled by any organization, and many refugees resettled by HIAS Pennsylvania are accessing this new community resource. The issue of food scarcity impacts all low income families in Philadelphia, and the city is working on many new initiatives to promote access to healthy and affordable food. With the help of a Philly Fellow, HIAS Pennsylvania will be able to have a dedicated Refugee Food Security and Nutrition Coordinator (henceforth “Coordinator”) to provide culturally appropriate nutrition education and orientation to the food systems. Initially, the Coordinator will be able to reach all refugee families resettled by HIAS Pennsylvania, 150 refugees a year (50 refugee families). In addition, through directed outreach the Coordinator will be able to help provide education to those refugees who have been resettled in previous years.
Describe the level of community involvement in the fellow’s project
The Philly Fellow will be involved in the resettled refugee communities, especially the Bhutanese and Burmese, the local receiving community, and the community of organizations addressing food scarcity and nutrition.
Please outline in list form the fellow's duties and responsibilities
The Refugee Food Security and Nutrition Coordinator will be responsible for the following:
I. Promote Community Education
a. Organize monthly workshops on topics such as nutrition, food preparation and storage, community food access and affordability, how to use SNAP and WIC programs, and ways to garden in the city.
b. Ensure that the workshops will be culturally and linguistically appropriate and interactive for best knowledge retention rates.
c. Conduct outreach into the local refugee communities promoting the workshops.
d. Facilitate workshops keeping track of attendees.
e. Create a core curriculum for healthy lifestyles and community orientation on food access.
f. Development of culturally appropriate nutrition education
g. Conduct informal evaluations on the quality of the workshops and the topics.
II. Develop and connect refugee communities to resources.
a. Assess community needs and existing resources through informal interviews.
b. Investigate existing organizations and programs that support health lifestyles, such as Get Healthy Philly Initiative through the City of Philadelphia Health Department, The Food Trust, the Philadelphia Horticultural Program, Weaver’s Way Coop, Jewish Farm School, the Refugee Garden through NSC and others.
c. Research community focused markets close to the resettled communities identifying those that accept food stamps.
d. Create a resource map with pictures that demarcates grocery stores, farmers markets, and community gardens.
e. Establish food supplement programs by organizing food drives.
f. Explore community supported agriculture (CSAs) to supplement access to locally grown foods.
III. Promote strong communities and cultural integration
a. Conduct community outreach
b. Research opportunities for the growth and development of refugee communities.
c. Work towards expanding refugee community garden (s).
d. Build a job skills training initiative that helps agrarian refugees adapt to urban lifestyles.
e. Promote other green jobs in the city.
Please outline in list form the skills/qualifications a fellow should have to succeed in the position
A qualified Refugee Food Security and Nutrition Coordinator should:
• Be able to work independently and as a member of a team,
• Have excellent written and verbal communication skills, including public speaking.
• Good computer skills, with a proficiency in Access Database and Excel.
• Have experience and the ability to work with diverse groups of people.
• Be bilingual or multi-lingual candidate (preferred not required.)
• Have excellent interpersonal skills.
• Have the initiative and communication skills required to build relationship with a wide range of agencies and individuals.
• Understand issues and concerns and have an interest in immigrants and refugee communities.
• Willingness to learn about resources in the city and to travel in the city.
Please describe your agency's plan to orient and train the fellow
HIAS Pennsylvania provides individual staff orientation to the Refugee Food Security and Nutrition Coordinator by a team of refugee staff. The Philly Fellow will shadow case-managers to gain knowledge of the resettlement process and understand the needs of refugee community. As a new position in the organization, the Refugee Food Security and Nutrition Coordinator will seek out training opportunities within the health and nutrition and greening programs locally and nationally.
Name and title of the fellow's immediate supervisor
Sarah Peterson; Director of Refugee Programming and Planning
Please briefly describe plans for supervision of fellow
The Director of Refugee Programming and Planning will supervise the Philly Fellow. They will meet on a weekly basis. There will also be weekly team meetings to discuss current events and program updates.
Will fellow be working at the same address listed above? Yes
Will the fellow have their own…
Office? Fellow will share Desk? Fellow will have their own Computer? Fellow will have their own
Please approximate the percentage of time the fellow will work…
As a team member in a group setting 25
As a team leader in a group setting 25
Will the fellow be expected to travel as part of the position? Yes
If so, how often and where? The Fellow will be expected to travel from HIAS Pennsylvania in Center City to regions of the city where refugees are being resettled, including South East Philadelphia, North East Philadelphia, and South West Philadelphia. Additional travel may be required in order to visit farms in and outside of the city, community gardens, and other green sites that may provide opportunities for our involvement.
Will the fellow need the following to carry out the position…
A driver’s license? No
Their own car? No
1515 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102