How has UNDP supported Syrians and host communities in Turkey during the last 4 years?

November 25, 2021

Under the Turkey Resilience Project in Response to the Syria Crisis (TRP), business development and entrepreneurship activities, consultancy and financial support for obtaining work permits, training in various fields, and consultancy and mentoring activities were carried out.

UNDP’s initiatives aiming to support Turkey to build resilience in response to the Syria Crisis since 2018 presented

The 5th and last Steering Committee of the Turkey Resilience Project in Response to the Syria Crisis (TRP) met online on 4 November 2021 to discuss and review the implementation of actions strengthening the economic and social resilience of Syrians, host communities and relevant national and local institutions in Turkey.

Launched in February 2018, the TRP aims to deliver comprehensive and sustainable solutions to the problems of Syrians displaced due to the Syria crisis and now living in Turkey and host communities. The initiative is supported by the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syria crisis (EUTF) with EUR 50 million and is implemented by UNDP Turkey in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry and Technology, İLBANK and the Ministry of National Education. The TRP focuses on three components; job creation, municipal services and Turkish language training for adults in 11 provinces of Turkey.

In the meeting, Seher Alacacı Arıner, UNDP Turkey Assistant Resident Representative (Programme), highlighted the main achievements and stressed the importance of cooperation and coordination between various ministries, public and private institutions in strengthening the resilience of Syrians and host communities in Turkey. The meeting addressed the action details, progress in main activities, targets and achievements, risks and challenges, visibility and communications, and planned activities.

The presentation on the Job Creation Component showed the progress in livelihoods activities. Within this scope, model factories and innovation centres were built in Adana, Gaziantep, Mersin and İzmir. The model factories have contributed to the productivity of the companies in these cities where 106 SMEs completed their training, and 18 learn-and-transform programs were executed. In addition, as one of the milestones of the project, the end-to-end digitalisation of Gaziantep and Mersin Model Factories was completed in terms of both hardware and software, which is a first among the model factories in Turkey. Innovation centres also contributed to improving innovation capacities of SMEs through mentoring and innovation leadership training programs. Fablabs established in the innovation centres became a hub for the entrepreneurs, especially for prototyping.

As another activity under the Job Creation Component, business development and entrepreneurship activities, consultancy and financial support for obtaining work permits, training in various fields, and consultancy and mentoring activities were also carried out. In total, 1,154 people leveraged the training and consultancy services while 373 SMEs, entrepreneurs and start-ups benefitted from the services through innovation centres. A total of 1,990 new jobs, 89 percent of which were for Syrians, were created; and 181 SMEs and partnerships were established.

In addition, various pandemic-focused activities were implemented. For instance, in the fight against COVID-19, more than 1 million face masks and 553 disinfectant stands were produced and distributed to enterprises in Gaziantep while 7,550 face shields were manufactured and delivered to the beneficiary institutions in Adana. In addition, online training modules such as life skills at the workplace, career development and gender-responsive companies and institutions, disaster preparedness, and business language training were created.

The presentation on the Municipal Service Delivery Component addressed activities such as infrastructure and technical support provided to municipalities. Through highlighting the fact that UNDP is the only UN agency in Turkey providing direct support to municipalities on waste management and municipal services, it was also underlined that municipal service is not only about construction but also environmentally sustainable and green transformation.

Within this scope, 8 new infrastructure facilities were built to improve wastewater and solid waste management. The Mechanical and Biological Treatment Facility, the largest of the 8 waste-management facilities that UNDP has constructed in south-eastern Turkey since 2018 with EU funding, will respond to the urgent need for solid waste separation and landfill diversion of Gaziantep, extend the life of the local landfill, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, generate sufficient electricity to power the facility, and create new revenue streams for the municipality. The Wastewater Treatment Plant serving 40,000 people by processing 1,200 cubic meters of wastewater per day in Hassa, Hatay is another waste-management facility constructed by UNDP. A Greenhouse Solar Dryer Facility was also built and operationalized in Kilis. In addition, municipalities’ capacities were strengthened for firefighting services through technical support and additional equipment in Hatay and Şanlıurfa.

For the Adult Language Training Component, the presentation addressed not only the Turkish language training for adults but also the "Blended Learning Model" developed by UNDP Turkey, General Directorate of Lifelong Learning of the Turkish Ministry of National Education and the experts of Anadolu University Open Education Faculty as a first in Turkey. This model has reached out to far more people compared to similar ones in the world; and as digital infrastructures gained importance after COVID-19, it will be a model for future projects. In terms of sustainability and capacity building activities, in cooperation with UNDP, ILO, UNHCR and UN Women, guidance is given for the language courses carried out with the blended model and negotiations are also held on the dissemination of the model.

Within this scope, a total of 318 trainers received training on the Blended Learning Model. Infrastructural and technical support was given to 53 Public Education Centres (PECs) in 10 provinces. Turkish language training at A1, A2, B1 and B2 levels were delivered to more than 54,000 Syrians, 70 percent of whom were women. Training and awareness-raising activities were also held during the pandemic to cope with COVID-19 such as internet support for beneficiaries and trainers, sharing information and materials on protective measures. In addition, more than 233,000 masks, 466,000 pairs of gloves and 795 litres of hand sanitizer were produced and distributed to 53 PECs.

Despite the delays experienced during the pandemic, the construction of the Public Education Centre in Gaziantep Şehitkamil district was completed. A computer class was also refurbished to support job skills development. Supporting the operationalization of PEC in Gaziantep through other vocational training or business support institutions as well as the activities strengthening the linkages between the language courses and livelihoods activities are the plans to be accomplished until March 2022, the date project is scheduled to end.

The overall initiative is based on UNDP’s resilience-based development approach which aims to reduce vulnerabilities and contribute to individuals, communities, local institutions to be able to cope with and recover from the large influx of Syrians under Temporary Protection.