Al Farah Child and Family Support Centers
The project in brief
The project is implemented by Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM) in Türkiye. It began in February 2016 and ended in June 2023.
Al Farah Centers provides a safe space to children for mainly with child protection services and positive parenting program with a multitude of activities with child protection officers, health educators, disability experts, family consultants, psychologists, case workers, youth workers and mobile teams offer services of at these centers through the support of interpreters.
The main goals of the project include:
- Integrated services to vulnerable refugee children, adolescents and their families to strengthen them emotionally, promote social cohesion, and to enable them to acquire the knowledge and skills that are necessary in daily life via providing support for.
- Vulnerable children to have access to protection services, including PSS, nutrition and basic health, provided by Al Farah and their outreach teams.
- Identification and assistance with services to the vulnerable migrant children and families on the move.
- Out of school refugee children to have an increased access to available formal and non-formal education opportunities through education-focused case management.
Education approach in child protection systems has also evolved from the Temporary Education Centers operating at the beginning of the Syrian crisis to the enrolment to coeducational schools of Ministry of National Education mixed with the local population. ASAM has signed a protocol with Directorate General for Life Long Learning and another program to support the enrolment of out-of-school children started in 2019 with UNICEF partnership. It is important to note that children who are successfully referred to and enrolled in a relevant education programme need to be supported with follow up mechanisms in order to ensure that they continue with their learning. Thus, CFSCs and SSE teams continue to intensify efforts to build and expand upon partnerships and collaboration with national and local child protection and education actors including schools/universities, MoNE, Provincial Directorates for Migration Management (PMMs) and Provincial Directorates of Family and Social Services.
Main activities of the Good Practice
The Al Farah project includes an extensive activity range:
- child protection (case management and referrals);
- positive parenting programs;
- legal counselling;
- psychosocial support;
- nutrition, health, disability counselling;
- awareness raising activities;
- vaccination promotion;
- social cohesion activities;
- and children choir are implemented regularly throughout the project.
Additionally, since it is crucial to implement a multi-sectoral response and recovery plan that includes education and the provision of life skills, recreation, and learning as well as safety, shelter, hygiene are met with various activities.
Along with the long-term case management process and referral mechanism for durable solutions, children and families are also provided with emergency cash assistance and kit distributions including hygiene, family, baby-mother and/or stationary kits to meet their basic needs.
Also, training on psychosocial support in emergencies, and training on child protection mechanisms to local actors such as municipality staff is conducted.
Apprehensions/rescues and emergency interventions by ASAM Border Field Offices continue and ASAM identify and support the children on the move and/or apprehended/rescued who are identified as at risk by means of collaboration between our field offices and government counterparts such as Turkish Coast Guard, Gendarmerie and Provincial Directorates of Migration Management. Furthermore, capacity-building activities of the program to the shareholders in the field including state institutions, associations and other NGOs are conducted.
What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?
- Recent effects of population density reduction policy and address investigation regulations show itself with the rising amount of rents at districts open to registration. Besides the high rental costs, rising discriminative and marginalizing approach towards the refugee population makes it difficult to find accommodation; and all these registration problems lead to non-access to rights for children such as enrolment to school.
- Especially within single-parent headed families, the child gets exposed to neglect - even if it is unintended- as the parent leaves the children behind when he/she goes to work. The children of single parents - particularly girls - also get exposed to abuse due to getting included in domestic labor as they have to take care of their siblings.
- Children enrolled to school, on the other hand, confront with bullying not only at school but also in their neighbourhood and verbal abuse turns into systematical physical violence and assault with the rising social tensions. This phenomenon not only pushes children to drop out but also causes psychological side effects such as speech impairment, enuresis, anxiety disorder, anger management problems and even drug addictions at adolescent groups. Child protection concerns including peer bullying, getting out of school and child labor deepened with the effect of disaster and emergencies such as the pandemic and earthquake.
- The February 6, 2023 earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş deepened the protection needs of children, including needs of shelter, WASH and basic needs and increased the risk of turning towards negative coping mechanisms such as child, early and forced marriages, and child labor. Additionally, health material equipment and medical treatment needs has risen due to the earthquake. Vaccination promotion targeting 0-35 week old babies, was already facing challenges due to the lack of understanding of health risks and public health concerns. This make more of a challenge with the high mobility and the multitude of basic needs that the parents have to cover.
- The continuity to school was already a problem that was tackled by the project with follow up, awareness raising on importance of education and awareness raising against bullying, but with the damaged schools and high mobility the continuity to education is an issue that the project foresees to be a challenge in the near future with the end of summer holidays regarding also the negative coping mechanisms.
- Separated and unaccompanied children increased after the earthquake affecting the target number and target population gap.
How they were overcome
Prevention and response services are conducted in Al Farah Child and Family Support Centers to overcome the abovementioned challenges.
- In order to overcome accommodation and access to right problems due to discrimination, activities to support social cohesion such as PSS activities at schools were held in coordination with local dynamics such as municipalities, local NGOs, community leaders.
- To prevent negative coping mechanisms and to support the self-reliance of the adult beneficiaries, and for them to meet their basic needs, ASAM Al Farah Centers have been increasing livelihood activities since pandemic and currently with the disaster.
- Community is included in decision-making process with committees for youth, women, LGBTQI+ and persons with disabilities to gather information on challenges and if the protection intervention is providing a holistic and sustainable solutions and necessary further steps.
- For earthquake response to basic needs and separated children, the family hygiene kits delivered in the field. Vehicle support was provided for the evacuation of a total of 800 children under institutional care in the earthquake-affected areas to other provinces with the coordination of the Ministry of Family and Social Services, General Directorate of Child Services. Staff support was provided for both “Needs Assessment Teams" that was formed in the earthquake zone in order to monitor the current status and respond to the needs of the beneficiaries and also for the teams of Provincial Directorate of Family and Social Services staff in Osmaniye, Gaziantep, and Hatay.
Results of the Good Practice
- 840,227 individuals accessed to services provided, 500,050 of those were children
- 170,340 women and children benefitted from health and nutrition services
- 200,368 children referred to specialized services
- 179,648 children attended to PSS programmes, 38,261 children attended to social cohesion activities
- 83,059 individuals supported by legal aid/assistance
- 59,776 families and 227,791 individuals benefited from the family and children hygiene kits
- 17,702 households 73,152 individuals benefited from SNF (Emergency Cash Assistance)
In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
The project strongly responses to enhance refugee self-reliance by including empowerment; enabling access to rights, services, and information; and by supporting self-resilience.
- The project is expected to be continued with the identification of people of concern and newcomers.
- Increasing the number of sustained and structured PSS activities.
- Strengthening cooperation with local authorities.
- Capacity building of ASAM personnel and stakeholders to provide increased quality of service to each challenge and intervention.
Are there areas in which support would be required to continue and/or scale up your good practice?
Strengthening the capacity of both the project itself and stakeholders within the child protection systems to reach vulnerable populations.