Going beyond temporary measures

Release date: 2017-06

Despite recent peace talks in Geneva in February and March, the conflict in Syria shows no signs of ending soon. Consequently, the refugees’ chances of finding durable solutions remain slim and most Syrian refugees can only try to build a livelihood within Turkey. This Policy Brief by Heidrun Bohnet presents ways of enhancing livelihood programming in Turkey in order to foster self-reliance of refugees and sustain their livelihoods.

The Policy Brief “Going Beyond Temporary Measures-A way forward for refugee livelihood programming in southeastern Turkey” is based on the author’s field research over a two-month period in the autumn and winter of 2016. It focuses on Gaziantep and Hatay in the southeast of Turkey as most refugees live there.

The author in particular recommends:

\ Create more coordinated livelihood programmes

The number of beneficiaries is not an indicator of the quality of programmes. Short-term measures that try to reach large number of people, such as cash assistance, create dependency and cannot enhance sustainable livelihoods. If applied, they need to be embedded within long-term approaches. Different livelihood programmes, from vocational trainings to work programmes, should thus build on, rather than compete with, each other as well as take into account the existing skills of refugees.

\ Provide on-the-job, market-aligned and innovative livelihood trainings

Job opportunity is one of the main reasons, next to security and social ties, why people move to the southeast of Turkey. This suggests that incentives for employers to hire refugees should be increased. The way forward includes measures to build databases on demand and supply, to assist the development and implementation of business plans in collaboration with refugees, and to roll out market-aligned trainings. At least six months on-the-job trainings can, furthermore, establish trust between employer and employee as well as lead to long-term contracts that will stabilize the livelihoods of refugees.

\ Foster outreach activities to raise awareness and transparency

Many refugees, aid agencies and local authorities have no or misleading information about the livelihood activities being offered locally, a situation that causes frustration and mistrust. Fostering more exchange between national and local bureaus of authorities and aid organizations can increase transparency. Livelihood programmes should also extend their reach to non-Syrian refugee groups, local communities and those outside of community centres to prevent resentment between groups.