Improving social services for refugees and host communities by supporting community centres and local initiatives

Project description

Title: Improving Social Services for Refugees and Host Communities in Turkey by Supporting Community Centres and Local Initiatives – Community Centres and Local Initiatives Project (CLIP)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO)
Countries: Turkey
Lead executing agencies: Vice President’s Office of the Republic of Turkey
Overall term: 2017 to 2021



Almost 4 million refugees live in Turkey, the majority of them from Syria. Many refugees face economic, psycho-social and educational challenges. Language barriers often hamper their access to social services and the labour market, as well as social interactions. Members of the host community also face difficulties because of the difficult economic conditions. The rising cost of living and increasing unemployment are fuelling tension between local populations and refugees. As the conflict in Syria continues, greater effort must be made to leave no one behind. To address these challenges, community centres and local initiatives have been established throughout Turkey to complement governmental efforts and to provide services for hard-to-reach groups.


Social services offered by community centres and local initiatives to refugees and host communities have been improved.



The Community Centres and Local Initiatives Project (CLIP) provides technical and financial support to up to 12 community centres and 20 local initiatives across Turkey. The project works in four action fields: 

  • Support to community centres
  • Establishment of a Local Initiative Fund in Turkey (LIFT)
  • Harmonisation of services with governmental standards
  • Capacity development 

Action Field 1 supports various community centres across Turkey. In the centres, refugees and vulnerable members of the host communities are able to take part in language courses and courses promoting life skills. Other social services comprise legal advice, psycho-social support and advice on health and education, as well as social and intercultural activities. The services on offer combine humanitarian aid, development-focused measures and peacebuilding, in line with the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.

In Action Field 2, the Local Initiative Fund in Turkey (LIFT) provides support for 20 small and medium-sized local and community-based non-governmental organisations which help the especially vulnerable. These include people with disabilities, members of LGBTI+ communities, gender-based violence survivors, single parents, child workers (boys and girls) and seasonal migrants. They receive special protection measures such as legal advice, psycho-social support, social advice and case management. They are also put in contact with the administrative authorities.

Action Field 3 is aimed at strengthening collaboration between the implementing non-governmental organisations that are supported and state institutions. To this end, the project is developing networking structures. The community centres and local initiatives are supported in bringing their services into line with the standards and requirements of government agencies. This will ensure more efficient and effective service provision, as well as a sustainable long-term perspective for implementation partners.

Action Field 4 is helping employees of community centres, local initiatives and state institutions to take advantage of needs-based capacity development measures. These include both professional development and organisational development, and are contributing to the professionalisation of refugee work in Turkey.

Since 2019, thanks to the first-ever cooperation between the BMZ Transitional Development Assistance and the European Union's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the project, by applying the “Leave No One Behind” concept, has been able to focus on improving protection measures and on reaching the most vulnerable persons.

CLIP_Community Centres and Local Initiatives_3


  • Since 2017, more than 248,000* people have benefited from services provided by community centres and local initiatives, including approximately 60,000* people with special needs and vulnerabilities.
  • 71 per cent of female and 77 per cent of male beneficiaries are more willing to interact with other nationalities following their participation in one of the activities. These are the findings of a survey conducted by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH for the period 2019-2020.
  • In 2019, 6,700 children took part in the educational measures provided. 5,500 persons (more than 1,500 children) received psycho-social support.
  • Over 180 organisations responded to LIFT’s calls for proposal.20 of these were selected, receiving a budget of over 6 million euros. Each month, around 2,000 refugees benefit from the services provided.
  • Since 2017, 29* tailored capacity development measures and 105* exchange formats between state and non-state actors have been implemented, reaching more than 600* people.

Last updated: November 2020

Additional information