What's the Best Way to Feed Syrian Refugees?

Frauke Uekermann, a principal in BCG's Stuttgart office, explains how she was involved in using a scientific approach to help the World Food Programme discover the most efficient way to feed those who have fled their war-torn nation.

BCG's evidence-based approach is helping the largest humanitarian agency review its way of delivering assistance to over half a million Syrian refugees in Lebanon. From the first days of the project, BCG has managed to create strong advocates not only among the agencies' leadership but also its donors; this is the kind of impact of which I'm most proud.

Sara Omran

Impact Story

Our team is helping the World Food Programme (WFP) in tackling this question: what is the most effective, efficient, and impactful way to provide aid to Syrian refugees that have fled to neighboring countries? In countries like Jordan and Lebanon, WFP has been on the ground since the beginning of the humanitarian response, providing food assistance to those most in need. Refugees receive critical lifelines via e-vouchers that they can redeem at selected retailers for food items.


BCG is applying a scientific approach that enables WFP and its donors to make fact-based decisions. By drawing from our more than 12 years of experience working with the agency and combining that knowledge with methodologies we commonly apply in consumer-focused private sector engagements, we are uniquely positioned in assisting WFP in this endeavor. We go beyond the obvious and uncover not only what drives refugees' preferences but also what determines their consumption patterns and how to best assist them in feeding their families.

We have interviewed many stakeholders and refugees to understand what matters most to them. To come up with hard facts we set up a pilot with representative sample groups and are designing a household survey to test our hypotheses. All this leads to a fact-based recommendation detailing how WFP can most effectively provide food assistance to Syrian refugees.

About the Team

Sara holds a BSc in management information systems and an MSc in management from London Business School. She started her consulting career in Europe, where she concentrated on consumer-focused industries and topics. She relocated to the Middle East in 2014, and there she worked on different topics, including tourism and education.

Frauke holds a diploma in psychology from Mannheim University and a PhD in behavioral economics from the University of St. Gallen. In her work, she focuses on consumer-centric questions in the automotive industry and in BCG's Social Impact practice.

The drive for impact is in BCG's DNA. I'm most impressed with BCG's impact when our consulting toolkit helps our Social Impact partners to provide more or better services for refugees or others in need.

Frauke Uekermann