Employability, Entrepreneurship and Social Cohesion for Syrian and Turkish Youth - in response to the Syria Crisis Project

What is the project about?

The Project focuses on leveraging the potential of Turkish and Syrian youth for social stability, cohesion and socio-economic empowerment among host community members and Syrians under Temporary Protection. The Project is about increasing social stability among Syrians under temporary protection and Turkish host community members and enhancing socio-economic cohesion through entrepreneurship, skills development and access to labor market opportunities. Financed by the Government of Japan, the Project is being implemented in cooperation with Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sports, General Directorate of Youth Services, to empower Syrian and Turkish youth through a wide range of training, entrepreneurship support and social cohesion activities. With a total budget of 2.909.090 US $, the Project has a specific focus on young Turkish and Syrian women to build resilience among communities

What has been the situation?

Turkey is now home to millions of refugees including Syrians under Temporary Protection. As the country hosts the largest refugee population in the world, it has taken important steps toward integrating more than 3.6 million Syrians into national systems and society. But the youth population which represents at least half of that number – presents special challenges that have received insufficient attention so far. Syrian youth displaced to Turkey face enormous difficulties, such as non-enrolment to formal education, lack of formal, dignified livelihood opportunities and other socio-economic challenges. And most are coping with stress, trauma and loss. Vast numbers are in need of jobs. Refugee-host community relations have become an increasing concern in Turkey since early 2017. Social exclusion and economic depreciation have the risk of driving vulnerable youth to lose hope to have of a dignified life and to a lost generation. Better policies can help ensure that young Syrian refugees become productive members of society.

What is our mission?

Our mission with this project is “Leaving no one behind”, specifically among young Syrians and their Turkish host community members, with a focus on young women. The project will target Syrian youth (ages 15-29) identified as less vulnerable ESSN beneficiaries with ‘high’ or ‘some’ productive capacity, as well as Turkish youth as members of the host communities.  Both Turkish and Syrian youth will receive Technical and Vocational Education Trainings (TVET), Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), soft and basic skills training along with career counselling, entrepreneurship support (i.e. training, grants, mentorship and guidance), to gain access to the labor market and formal employment (including self-employment) opportunities

Hence, Syrian and Turkish youth who are able to access formal employment (including self-employment) and are able to bring additional income and resources to their households, will lead Turkish and Syrian vulnerable households to be more resilient and less dependent on social/cash support to lift themselves out of poverty, socio-economic exclusion and consequently “Not left behind”.

In this context, the Project will deliver three outputs:  

  • Increased technical and ICT skills of Syrian and Turkish youth; will provide Syrian and Turkish youth “Technical and Vocational Education Trainings” and other types of skills development, including ICT, through Youth Centers.
  • Increased access to employment and entrepreneurship; will allow youth to develop their skills in business proposals writing, budgeting, marketing, and customer services. A mentorship programme will be established to support entrepreneurs that have feasible business plan to establish or scale-up their businesses. In addition, a grant programme will be established to provide both in-kind and/or small grants to entrepreneurs.
  • Improved level of social cohesion; to reduce risks of social problems, activities and events for social cohesion will be provided through trained staffs of Youth Centers, youth focal points and youth benefitting from project activities.

How are we doing this?

UNDP will work together with Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) and other partners to empower Syrian and Turkish youth through a wide range of training, entrepreneurship support and social cohesion activities. The project will support the 30 Youth Centers from 9 provinces of Adana, Ankara, Bursa, Hatay, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Mersin, Şanlıurfa and İstanbul in terms of technical equipment. It is expected that youth will become the beneficiaries of the activities of 5 youth centres from Ankara, Bursa, Kocaeli, İstanbul and Şanlıurfa.  The training and other support will be directed towards encouraging entrepreneurship, employment and self-reliance among youth. Youth will have access to a variety of support schemes depending on their interest and capacity, including ICT, soft or basic skills development, entrepreneurship career guidance and advice from İŞKUR employment clubs, mentorship programs and/or business start-up grants.

Within the project implementation, MoYS will receive technical and financial support to tailor and scale up their existing programmes aimed at fostering youth employability, skills development and social cohesion. It will be supported to be able to reach an increasing number of target Syrian and Turkish youth and improve their existing services to better respond to youth’s needs and constraints towards accessing decent work

How will Turkey benefit?

150 Syrian and Turkish youth are able to access formal employment (including self-employment) through entrepreneurship trainings and are able to bring additional income and resources to their households, it will lead Turkish and Syrian vulnerable households to be more resilient and less dependent on social/cash support to lift themselves out of poverty. In addition, among them, 70 youth will benefit from mentorship programmes and gained access to financial support (small and/or in-kind grants) to establish or scale-up their business.

200 youth will complete the tailormade skills development programmes in information technologies. Youth feel more empowered through skills development and decent work opportunities, they will be able to become more self-reliant, engaged in public and socio-economic affairs. As a growing sector, technology skills enable disadvantaged youth to access the employment opportunities nationally and globally.

Within the scope of Social Cohesion activities of the project, 50 youths will be identified as youth focal points and receive trainings on social cohesion and conflict prevention together with 50 youth centers’ staff. Through their efforts, activities/events for social cohesion will be designed and conducted with participation of 500 youth. The risk of social tensions between youth will be reduced and youth’s likelihood to contribute to the well-being of their family and society will increase which will then help reduce the burden on Turkish social security and ESSN programme.

Overall, UNDP is a key agency in the coordination and implementation of the Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals- SDGs and a leading UN agency in its support to the Government of Turkey to the development of the United Nations Sustainable Cooperation Framework which outlines common priorities of the Government of Turkey and United Nations for the next five years. The objectives of this project are aligned with the national development priorities of Turkey. The project will be implemented in coherence with the SDGs (SDG 4 Quality Education and SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth) prioritized in Turkey and contribute to one of its key principles to ‘leave no one behind’