Sustainability and Resilience in Humanitarian Aid

Rubeena Esmail
Country Director, GIZ Turkey

With funding provided by the German Government since 2015, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has carried out activities in Turkey for Syrian refugees; in this context, GIZ supports refugees and populations in need in the host society mainly in Southeast Turkey.

The close collaborations GIZ conducts with relevant ministries, local NGOs, and local governments while implementing projects has enabled provided the opportunity of being able to respond quickly to society’s needs in the process of COVID-19’s spread in Turkey. All GIZ-run projects whose main fields of activity had been employment and skill acquisition, protection, awareness raising, education, and language courses transformed all programs over a period of around six weeks into measures mitigating the economic and social effects of the pandemic.

Food and other aid supplies have been distributed and cash assistance provided to those in need with the goal of protecting the refugees and local people who are most at risk. Our NGO partners involved in our programs that aim to develop employment has provided short-term work allowances to over 2,000 people and scholarships to trainees involved in skills training, as well as financial support to 400 small businesses still in the registration process.

Alongside this, municipalities have also employed our women in the production of more than 555,000 masks and 220,000 face visors, distributed 58,000 hygiene kits, reinforced four municipal soup kitchens for them to serve 5,000 people a day, and provided mask manufacturing machines for 3 vocational and technical schools to regularly meet the needs of health and public employees in relevant regions. Our practice partners have switched to online courses in order to maintain psychosocial support services and language courses offered at community centers. At the same time as all these efforts, GIZ has updated under new conditions its capacity development programs for the practice partners in order to facilitate their adaptation to the new forms of services that have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. GIZ Turkey’s activities in this period have not been limited to efforts where it adapts to respond to the emergency needs required by the COVID-19 pandemic; new evaluations have been performed regarding the long-term needs of the refugees and host society in Turkey by reviewing the programs being carried out.

Renewed focus has occurred on specific issues such as sustainability and resilience, which the local communities and refugees will need for coping with the economic and social impacts from COVID-19 in the coming years. As GIZ, we are certain to find suitable solutions in the framework of the reality that has changed under the COVID-19 pandemic in close cooperation with our well-established and reliable partners such as the Office of the Vice Presidency; the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Family, Labor, and Social Services; the Ministry of Youth and Sports; the General Directorate of Migration Management; the municipalities of Gaziantep, Adana, Kilis, Hatay, and İstanbul, as well as national and local NGOs.

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