Support to Adaptation of Syrian Women Living in Southeast Anatolia to Social and Economic Life

What is the Project About?


This project aims at strengthening the social and economic skills of Syrian women living in selected locations of Southeast Anatolia (GAP) – both in camp and non-camp settings, through a holistic perspective also integrating an approach to eliminate gender based violence. The beneficiaries include the Syrian women as primary beneficiaries as well as the host communities/systems that provide services to Syrian women as indirect beneficiaries.

The project supports empowerment of the Syrian women in the social and economic life in communities they reside. The joint cooperation and action by the Syrian women and the Multi-Purpose Community Centers (CATOMs) as well as with other CSOs in the GAP region can help cope with the challenges they face. Furthermore, economic gains to be generated for women through joint economic/productive activities as well as their sales and marketing. Sales and marketing support is to be provided using various channels including local, national and even international if possible/feasible using Internet and social media as appropriate.

 The project aims to provide technical assistance and support as well as counselling for social development and economic productivity. For this purpose, joint initiatives developed by CATOMs (Multi-Purpose Community Center) and Syrian organizations/platforms are supported. The project also aims at financially supporting joint initiatives of Syrian and Turkish CSOs (more specifically CATOMs) towards socio-economic empowerment and institution building.

What has been the Situation?

The influx of Syrians to Turkey mostly intensified in Southeast Anatolia Region. The latest official figure of Directorate General for Migration Management (released on 26.01.2017), the number of Syrians under the temporary protection of Turkey is 2.880.325 (260.092 of them are accommodated in camps in various provinces of Turkey). Approximately 950.000 Syrians, namely %33 of the total Syrian population in Turkey, are concentrated in four provinces: Kilis, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Mardin.

For the case of Syrian women (in Turkey as well as in other countries hosting Syrians), there is a wide range of incidents of sexual and gender based violence, early marriages and additional trauma due to their family related responsibilities. The assessment conducted by AFAD on Syrian women in Turkey (living in camp and non-camp settings) reveals that ( the age of women is concentrated in 19-54 bracket (with 44 percent in non-camp and 42 percent in camp settings). The same research reveals that almost 21 percent of these women in camp and non-camp setting are illiterate and 35 percent are primary school graduates. While it is acknowledged that this age group has the potential to be involved in productive activities and labor force, the same research suggests that a majority of them do not have a profession or income whereas a majority considers their profession as housewives. They also do not have adequate means to participate in social life, due to social and language barriers. The field work and studies conducted by various parties including other UN Agencies, UNDP and GAP RDA confirm that the Syrian women are in need for social guidance and consultancy to lead their daily lives.

 UNDP consultations at local level also confirm that Syrian women suffer cultural adaptation related problems, concern of future economic difficulties, and live under the risk of sexual and domestic violence, prejudice, early and forced marriages, and all forms of exploitation. During UNDP’s visit to camps, the camp administrators emphasized the need of these women for even the smallest activities to keep them connected to life such as simple income generating activities. It is reported that they prefer to work or engage in some productive activities rather than brooding on tragedies they faced because of the crisis

What is our Mission?

 UNDP’s role can be summarized as providing support for Syrian women to stimulate their both social and economic empowerment and to enable them to engage in the community through strengthening institutional capacities of CATOMs and Syrian organizations by providing these institutions equipment, technical assistance and counselling.

How are we doing this?

 This project builds on UNDP’s experience and partnership in supporting women’s socio-economic empowerment in Southeast Anatolia Region. UNDP and Southeast Anatolia Regional Development Administration (GAP RDA) has been jointly implementing the “Innovations for Women’s Empowerment in Southeast Anatolia Project- Phase 1 and 2” since 2008, with the objective of strengthening the organizational capacities and skills of women’s enterprises in Southeast Anatolia with funding from Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). It applies a comprehensive approach, by combining social empowerment with economic empowerment and aims at strengthening the institutional capacities for women’s economic empowerment, including those managed by CATOMs. This project has been particular in employing a marketing and sale support, by establishing a textile brand and sales connections for producing women. A similar approach has been employed in this project, to strengthen the income opportunities and results for Syrian women in selected locations. Within this project the CATOM are primary structures to reach out to Syrian women living in the GAP region.

How will Turkey Benefit?

 Within the framework of the 3RP (Regional Refugee Resilience Plan) of UNDP for 2016-2017, overall protection and assistance response in Turkey will involve the empowerment of refugees. Moreover, the matter of social cohesion between the host communities and the refugees constitutes as one of the pillar in that sense.

Therefore, "Support to Adaptation of Syrian Women Living in Southeast Anatolia to Social and Economic Life Project” aims to contribute to an easier integration period and a stronger social cohesion in the region. Also, this project will strengthen institutional capacity of civil society to empower women’s status.

What has been achieved until today?

-    Around 4,500 Syrian women and women of host communities were reached through multi-purpose community centers (CATOMs) with various types of empowerment activities.
-    Around 350 Syrian women were engaged in income generation activities through a cooperation with Koton, a garment company based in Turkey.
-    Around 350 Syrian women were engaged in various income generation activities.
--    13 Multi-Purpose Community Centers (ÇATOMs) and 1 women’s cooperative delivering services for Syrian women were supported in 4 provinces:
--    Kilis: 2 ÇATOMs in Kilis city center
--    Gaziantep: 1 ÇATOM in Gaziantep city center
--    Şanlıurfa: 1 ÇATOM in Suruç county, 2 ÇATOMs in Şanlıurfa city center, 1 ÇATOM in Viranşehir county
--    Mardin: 1 ÇATOM in Kızıltepe county, 3 ÇATOMs in Mardin city center, 1 ÇATOM in Ömerli county and 1 ÇATOM in Midyat county
--    In addition, Gaziantep Women’s Cooperative was also supported.

-    Around 50 different activities were realized for empowering women benefiting from ÇATOMs or living in temporary refugee centers. These activities, classified in 4 different types below, have been put into practice as following numbers:  
--    Trainings, courses and seminars: 20
--    Workshops: 9
--    Income generating activities: 9
--    Social activities and trips: 10

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