Cash for work: rehabilitation of municipal infrastructure

Project description

Project title: Cash for work: waste disposal and recycling, rehabilitation of municipal infrastructure
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Turkey
Lead executing agency: Vice President’s Office
Overall term: 2016 to 2019


Turkey has registered in more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, making Turkey the country hosting the most refugees throughout the world. Many of them are living in towns and cities in southern and south-eastern Turkey. In some communities, the population has increased by half due to these refugees and the communities are unable to cope. Most of the refugees lack opportunities for earning income to supplement the basic services provided for them by the Turkish state; as a result, they take jobs in the informal sector instead, some of them under precarious conditions.


The economic situation of the Syrian refugees and the Turkish population in need in the host communities has temporarily improved. The infrastructure in the communities has been rehabilitated.


Syrian refugees and Turkish residents in need are employed for three to six months to rehabilitate and maintain municipal infrastructure. In particular, they look after public parks and buildings and provide social services. They are paid the Turkish minimum wage. People in need who have not had employment opportunities before are given priority when participants are selected.

The Syrian participants are given Turkish lessons to improve their long-term prospects in the Turkish labour market. So far, 1,250 Syrians have completed a language course. The project thus makes a lasting contribution to enhancing the economic stability of these people.


Since the beginning of the project, around 7.800 people in 16 communities in seven provinces have taken part in measures so far. 33 per cent of them were women. All of them have social security insurance. The Syrian participants receive a work permit, which also allows them to apply for Turkish citizenship.

In Istanbul, around 1,000 participants are helping local community centres to provide services to people in need, for example in clothing, goods and food banks. These services would otherwise only be able to be offered to a limited extent. Some of the participants are now employed by Küçükçekmece municipal administration. Work in city archives and a library has been performed by various individuals, including people with disabilities. As a result of this inclusive approach, the project also helps achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

By tending to more than 400 parks and repairing and maintaining around 250 public buildings and schools, the project reduces the workload for the host communities.

In addition, around 2,000 participants have planted 2.2 million trees in Istanbul and Gaziantep, thus creating green spaces for the towns and cities, something that is now quite rare.

(As of December 2018)