Social Cohesion between Syrian and Host Communities through Women’s Empowerment Project

What is the project about?

The overall objective of the project is to strengthen social cohesion among Syrian and host communities in Turkey through women’s empowerment.

The project will be implemented in collaboration with GAP Regional Development Administration (GAP RDA) and is composed of the following activities addressing;

(i) social and economic capability building of Syrian and host community women; (ii) social cohesion and integration among two communities and (iii) design and implementation of pilot social care and social support services. More specifically; the project will conduct detailed assessment of the social conditions in which Syrian women live in and their needs to participate in productive activities. In response, the project will provide, trainings (social and economic capability building), consultancy and mentoring services as well as social service support for the target groups. Ultimately this will help their social integration for the duration they live in Turkey and contribute to social cohesion.

What has been the situation?

According to the Directorate General of Migration Management as of December 2018, Turkey hosts 3.622.366 Syrians under Temporary Protection. Syrians under Temporary Protection are mainly located in the Southeast Anatolia Region bordering Syria, but as the crisis continued, the population has expanded to other regions as well. Turkey hosts the largest refugee population in the world and has demonstrated strong national ownership of the response. The Government of Turkey provides a rights-based legal framework through the Temporary Protection Regulation, which offers access to education, health care, employment and social security to Syrians.

A comprehensive needs assessment has been conducted by the Government to identify the needs of the Syrians under temporary protection as well as the local authorities in the host communities which will be the basis of the allocation and disbursement of donor funding, mainly the financial support expedited from the EU. This assessment addressed the following areas: (i) basic public services (education and health); (ii) social development, protection and cohesion; (iii) livelihoods and employability and (iv) municipal services and urban infrastructures.

What is our mission?

The Project will support (i) social and economic capability building of Syrian and host community women: In the scope of this component, linked with the existing Multi-purpose Community Centers (ÇATOMs) primarily in the GAP Region and the existing local mechanisms run/operated by the NGOs, local authorities, provincial directorates of Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services in target provinces such as ADEMs (i.e. Family Support Centres), the productive capacities of the women will be developed for livelihoods and income generation. In this sense, cooperative based micro-scale design and production ateliers/facilities and infrastructures will be improved. The existing ateliers/facilities will be supported in terms of additional physical space, equipment, raw material (as needed) as well as customized vocational training modules targeting Syrian and host community women, local designs and the products of the region.

(ii) social cohesion and integration among two communities: through this component, the project will support joint initiatives developed by ÇATOMs/local authorities and Syrian organizations/platforms targeting social integration and inter-cultural interaction of the Syrian and host community women through social and cultural events etc.

(iii) design and implementation of pilot social care and social support services: This component primarily aims at piloting social care and social support services for the benefit of the most vulnerable groups. For a broader outreach to the most vulnerable segments of the Syrian community and the host community, the project will target women, youth, disabled and elderly population. The project aims at replication and scalability of these pilot interventions therefore, for sustainability reason, the Project will collaborate with the local authorities (i.e. governorates, provincial directorates, municipalities etc.), NGOs, academia etc. for a systemized approach which is complementary to the existing local mechanisms and systems on delivery of social care and social support services.

Ultimately the components will help their social integration for the duration they live in Turkey and contribute to social cohesion.

How are we doing this?

The project will be implemented through three components:

  • Social and economic capability building of Syrian and host community women
  • Social cohesion and integration among Syrian and host community women
  • Design and implementation of pilot social care and social support services

How will Turkey benefit?

With the implementation of the project it is planned to contribute to several strategies of the Women's Empowerment Strategy and Action Plan 2018-2023 through the project components. Under Economy Strategy 5: By “improving women's entrepreneurship and increasing the use of information and communication technologies to strengthen women’s economic empowerment” contributions planned to be made to the following activities: Priorities will be given to women in the field of information and communication technologies; Awareness-raising activities will be carried out to develop entrepreneurship culture among women. Under Economy Strategy 6: With “priority will be given to efforts to strengthen women in rural areas” the contributions planned to be made to the following activities:  Increasing studies on the participation of women who require special policies in economic life; Women entrepreneurship will be encouraged by benefiting from technological opportunities and developments especially in agriculture-based business lines; Services related to access to labor market will be developed for women in need. Under Economy Strategy 3: By “strengthening the economic position of women and the development of economic and social policies aimed at combating informality, especially for unpaid family labor” the contributions planned to be made to the following activities: Efforts to strengthen women's co-operatives will continue to increase; In order to reduce the burden of care work on women, efforts will be made  to create shared care work responsibilities within household and socialized/publicized care work facilities and diversify the support and incentives for child, disabled and elderly care; In the in-service training programs of institutions and organizations, the issue of equal opportunities for women and men shall be included.

Moreover, the project activities are planned in a way to contribute to the following strategies in general: Economy Strategy 2: “Strengthen opportunities for vocational training and skills development to increase employability of women in the labor market” and Economy Strategy 4: Education “improving the capacities of institutions to ensure equal access to education and ensuring coordination among institutions”.

For a more sustainable and inclusive world, women’s social and economic empowerment is also an important item on the United Nations development agenda. In this context, the present project contributes directly and indirectly to the following UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

What has been achieved until today?

  • Several meetings with UN agencies who are working on women empowerment, social cohesion, supporting women entrepreneurship, etc. were organized in March 2019 to understand the cooperation areas.
  • Kick-off meeting of the project was organized with the participation of relevant stakeholders in Şanlıurfa in April 2019.
  • A stakeholder mapping exercise has been carried out through the participation of NGOs, governmental institutions from Mardin, Kilis, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa and Hatay who are working on women empowerment and social cohesion among Syrians and host communities in Şanlıurfa in April 2019.
  • Works on relaunching of Argande brand were started.
  • Press trip to Kilis and Şanlıurfa was organized with the leading fashion retailer Koton company to show inclusive business model developed to support women economically and socially through Koton Handmade Collection.