Since the brutal advance of the so-called 'Islamic State', a total of around 740,000 Syrian refugees (UNHCR, as of February 2018) and more than one million Iraqi IDPS have sought refuge in the autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq – many of them in large-scale camps.
Cash for work is the generic term for employment programmes that offer refugees and the local population an opportunity to earn some money. At the same time, these programmes render vital public services that promote the general welfare of everyone in the host region. In northern Iraq, for example, this includes infrastructure improvements both in the camps and host communities, such as the installation of sports fields and playgrounds or paved roads. Social activities also form part of the cash-for-work programme.
In one of the projects that GIZ is co-implementing with the worldwide relief agency, Malteser International, inhabitants in four of these camps are being trained as health advisers. They’re tasked with disseminating vital knowledge about hygiene, first aid and prevention within their neighbourhood.
Syrian refugees in Jordan
About 653, 000 syrian refugees live in Jordan. Nearly 80,000 live in the Zaatari refugee camp. The large number of refugees poses immense challenges for Jordan, including in the area of waste management. More people also means more waste. That is where the Cash for Work programme comes in, which GIZ is implementing in the Zaatari refugee camp together with Oxfam on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The principle is a simple one: One group of workers gathers waste and brings it to a recycling centre within the camp. At the recycling centre, another group of workers sorts the waste into categories like paper and plastic. A third group of workers then sells the sorted waste to a Jordanian company that recycles it. Between June 2016 and March 2017 alone, roughly 230 tons of recyclable materials were collected.
The income generated from the sales is invested in operating and maintaining the centre, while the Cash for Work programme foots the bill for the workers’ wages, making it possible for men and women to feed their families. The work being performed also helps to manage the increasing amounts of waste, maintain a functioning waste disposal system and ensure cleanliness in the camp’s public areas. Raising awareness in the camp about waste disposal is yet another positive aspect of the workers’ efforts.
The project is part of BMZ’s special initiative Tackling the Root Causes of Displacement – Reintegrating Refugees, which is being implemented in regions with ongoing crises.
As at: April 2019