Three questions for GIZ expert Claudia Neuenburg

Cash for Work

Cash for Work in Syria’s neighbouring countries


What is Cash for Work?

Cash-for-Work programmes create earning opportunities that can temporarily stabilise people’s incomes following a disaster or a crisis. The principle is simple: people work and receive pay. Cash-for-Work schemes can be regarded as a means of bolstering social safety nets and are intended to alleviate the strain of an ongoing crisis.

Cash for Work forms part of GIZ’s activities in Syria’s neighbouring countries. The programmes of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) created 57,000 jobs in 2016 – 39,000 of which were generated through targeted employment-promotion measures initiated by GIZ. The jobs in question are simple tasks, such as collecting and recycling waste in refugee camps and host communities.

Who does Cash for Work help and how?

Cash-for-Work programmes in the context of refugee aid are geared primarily to the most vulnerable refugees and also to poorer members of the host population who are unable to find alternative forms of employment on the local job market. People who have had no opportunity to work, sometimes for longer periods of time, get a chance to earn some income again and develop a feeling of solidarity by contributing to the welfare of the community. In most cases, work assignments involve helping to set up and consolidate infrastructure in the refugee camps and host communities. Examples include repairing streets, playparks, sewerage systems, schools, roofs, etc.

How much do people earn with Cash for Work?

Payment is based on the minimum wage in the respective country. This is important in order to avoid any job market distortions. Cash for Work can be geared towards day labourers or involve full-time or part-time employment. Workers receive their own income in the form of direct payments, enabling them to feed their families and ride out the crisis in their home countries. GIZ’s activities alone reach around 190,000 people in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and northern Iraq.

Claudia Neuenburg is a Senior Case Manager in the Commissioning Parties and Business Development Department and represents GIZ on the BMZ task force for the Middle East employment initiative.

April 2017