Innovative ideas for Social Cohesion from Syrian and Turkish Youth

Posted September 23, 2021

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Turkey brought together 72 Syrian and Turkish young talents in a “Hackathon” event in Ankara, where they sought innovative solutions for social cohesion.

UNDP Turkey builds bridges between youth through innovative ideas.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Turkey brought together 72 Syrian and Turkish young talents in a “Hackathon” event in Ankara, where they sought innovative solutions for social cohesion.

This initiative, funded by the Government of Japan and carried out by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, aims to increase the chances of success in life for Syrian youth under temporary protection and their Turkish peers. In the event, which is a part of the initiative and held between 17-19 September, the participants both got to know each other and sought rational and innovative solutions to the problems of today and the future.

“Half of the 3.7 million Syrian refugees under temporary protection living in Turkey are youth. Through these efforts, we aim to increase the hope and prospects for young Syrian men and women in Turkey and their fellow host community members” noted Sukhrob Khojimatov, UNDP Turkey Deputy Resident Representative, and said “Our priority in today’s Hackathon is to work together for promotion of a longstanding sustainable coexistence in harmony for everyone.”

At the beginning of the event, data on infrastructure problems and the current situation regarding sports, volunteering, education, employment, and social cohesion were shared. Participants formed groups of five and six, analyzed the data and focused developing original ideas with an innovative perspective. Syrian and Turkish youth interacting in their groups through the event, met new people and worked together, and experienced the teamwork spirit, cultures and interpersonal learning methods practically.

At the event young people developed their projects through the information they received in the Business Model Canvas Training, Minimum Viable Product Training and Presentation Techniques Training and mentor support. Young people also had the opportunity to share their ideas with private sector representatives at the event.

In the evaluation of the jury on the last day of the event, the Game Pair project, which aims to support Syrian youth’s Turkish skills and social cohesion by bringing together young people from two countries on an e-sports platform, was awarded the first prize.

UNDP Turkey’s “hackathon” event, which focuses on innovative solutions for social cohesion, is a part of the initiative that aims to find solutions to the problems of Syrian youth living in Turkey and their Turkish peers. In this context, 398 young people have had the opportunity to acquire vocational skills and receive entrepreneurship training so far. A total of 350.000 USD grant and mentorship support was provided to 70 entrepreneurs. UNDP has already completed the activity of establishing computer labs in 30 youth centers in 9 provinces.

The USD 3 million Japan-funded initiative, launched in September 2020, is part of UNDP Turkey’s broader USD 75 million portfolio of projects aimed at building the self-reliance of Syrian refugees and the resilience of host communities by expanding labor market access, improving livelihood opportunities, enhancing public services and building social cohesion.