Supporting refugees and host communities in the countries bordering Syria
Title: Qudra – Increasing the resilience of host communities in neighbouring countries during the Syrian refugee crisis
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey
Lead executing agencies: Ministries and authorities in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey
Overall term: June 2016 to June 2019
Five years of civil war in Syria have taken a tragic toll, leaving over a quarter of a million people dead and forcing13.5 million to flee their homes. Around half of them are internally displaced. The other half has sought refuge outside Syria, with about five million people in the neighbouring countries of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. As of 2016, it has been estimated that 17 million people throughout the region are in need of humanitarian aid. This is the most severe refugee crisis since the Second World War.
The resilience of the host communities, the refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) has been strengthened through:
- better facilities in schools,
- vocational training,
- greater social cohesion,
- more efficient local administration,
- enhanced supraregional dialogue between the refugees and host communities.
The German Government and European Union (EU) are working together to support Syria’s neighbouring countries in their efforts to cope with the refugee crisis. The Qudra Programme (‘qudra’ is Arabic for strength, capacity and ability) is financed primarily through the EU’s MADAD Trust Fund. The programme promotes joint European approaches to solving problems in the region by bringing together the knowledge and experience of GIZ, Expertise France (EF) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). The Qudra team works with refugees and IDPs as well as their host communities in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
Through Qudra, the EU is helping local authorities in the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq to improve basic public services for refugees, IDPs and the local population. Training for municipal employees is leading to greater efficiency in managing administrative tasks. A new funding framework is facilitating the promotion of community-oriented projects.
In Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, Qudra is cooperating with the national authorities to equip schools with appropriate facilities. School staff are being trained to maintain this infrastructure. New school buses are making more transportation available. Sports facilities and playgrounds are also being set up and offer possibilities for interaction between refugees and local citizens. The programme’s investments in securing livelihoods and employment are improving access to work. Opportunities for continuing training and occupational training with an emphasis on groups that are often disadvantaged, such as women and young people, are also improving their chances of finding employment.
A particular focus of the work in Turkey is to strengthen the social cohesion between the refugees and local population in the host communities. With 2.7 million refugees, Turkey is the country that has taken in the largest number of refugees in the world. To maintain social peace, it is vital that any measures to integrate these refugees also benefit disadvantaged locals. To this end, Qudra is supporting community centres that are run by non-governmental organisations for both groups. These centres offer Turkish and English language instruction, IT courses and vocational training, legal advice, health education and psychosocial counselling. This provides both refugees and local citizens with better access to the labour market and public services. The sporting and cultural events held at these centres also encourage contact between local citizens and refugees.
The programme fosters the sharing of experience and mutual learning, a process that transcends national borders. It brings together refugees, IDPs, host communities and other regional and European actors to develop new courses of action and prospects for the future. ‘Qudra Labs’ are meeting spaces in which issues and problems can be identified as a basis for preparing recommendations for action and new initiatives.