Complementary Emergency Social Safety Net (C-ESSN)

Cash-Based Interventions (CBIs)

Complementary Emergency Social Safety Net (C-ESSN)

The project in brief

Implemented by

Ministry of Family  and Social Services (MoFSS) -Turkey




December 2020 - Ongoing

The funding of the C-ESSN programme must continue as long as refugee situation continues.


C-ESSN is funded by Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) In addition, it is implemented with a partnership of Turkish Red Crescent to deliver cash assistance to the most vulnerable foreigners living under Temporary and International Protection, international protection applicants and humanitarian residency holders in Turkey. The project budget is 245.000.000 Euro and so far 58.709.671 Euro of the total budget has been expended.

Project aims 

It aims to meet basic humanitarian needs of refugees such as food, shelter, clothes etc. through cash-based assistances

Resources used 

C-ESSN program is implemented under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRIT) mechanism.

Main activities of the Good Practice


  1. Determining the beneficiaries by conducting household visits and by using ISAIS

Implementing both programmes in all districts of Turkey can only be achieved with a strong IT structure and 1003 SASFs are established in each province and district. ISAIS ensures automation, transparency, full control, accountability and simultaneous automatic registration. In order to benefit from the programme, people applied to DGMM, got their foreigner ID cards and declared their current address.

  1. Providing monthly payments to beneficiaries

Kızılaykart can be used in shops, just like a standard debit card. But it is not just a cash card. It’s an acknowledgement that, despite their hardships, refugees should have the right to choose how to manage their lives.

  1. Providing severe disability payment to severe disabled beneficiaries
  2. Strengthening the institutional capacity of local and main institutions
  3. Conducting monitoring and evaluation activities to assess the programmes


  • Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)
  • Turkish Red Crescent (TRC)

Challenges and how they were overcome


The majority of Syrians under temporary protection and other refugees live in relatively less well-off areas of Turkey. In this context, preventing social tension between Syrians and the host communities was one of the major challenges.

In addition, estimates suggest that between 15% and 30% of the current ESSN caseload could be transferred to alternative social assistance programmes with further reductions through the potential adaptation of the targeting criteria. However, this would still leave between 1 and 1.4 million refugees in need of some form of social assistance and/or longer-term socio-economic measures to enhance their self-reliance. That’s why, with a given programme budget, to reach rest of the refugees in need is an issue.

How they were overcome

To address this challenge, C-ESSN has commenced in order to cover the basic needs of most vulnerable ESSN beneficiaries.

In addition, with a view to overcome those challenges, funding of the facility must continue as long as Syrian refugee situation endures. Thus, international assistance is necessary.

Results of the Good Practice 

  • KIZILAYKART gives them access to a fixed amount of money every month. It can be used in shops, just like a normal debit card. Thanks to this card, beneficiaries can use the money to buy whatever they need for their families i.e. food, fuel, rent and bills. In fact, an acknowledgement should have the right to choose how to manage their lives.
  • As of November 2021 number of beneficiaries reached around 359.000 and monthly transfer value of the assistance is 250 TRY per person.

How the project meets the GCR Objectives

Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance

Thanks to C-ESSN, beneficiaries can cover some of their basic needs and that resulted in reducing their negative coping strategies and diminishing the poverty level of beneficiaries.

Next steps 

Funding of the facility must continue as long as Syrian refugee situation endures. Thus, international assistance is necessary.

Further support required for the project to continue or scale up

External funding is a must for the continuation of the project.


Submitted by: 

Rıdvan Kurtipek, Expert - Ministry of Family and Social Services (MoFSS)

[email protected]