Enhancing the protection of at-risk marginalized refugees
Submitted by: Caroline Hüglin, Conflict and Displacement Advisor (Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe, Germany, member of ACT Alliance)
Email: [email protected]
Introduction to the project
2018 to June 2020, with a renewal in 2021
Our objective is to assist refugees in accessing the resources and services available to them in order to help them become self-reliant. In order to achieve this, we help the refugees ensure that they are legally and otherwise eligible for services and accompany them to the service providers when necessary.
We have partnered with Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe and Support to Life which provide technical and fundraising support, deliver high quality programs, share best practices, and expand operations to multiple locations around the country.
The aim is to strengthen refugees’ resilience by supporting access to rights and available services, enhancing the refugees’ protection capacities, increasing self-sufficiency for individuals and communities, supporting service providers, and better targeting humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable. The program is designed to reach both urban and rural areas through outreach workers and volunteers. The program also works closely with local authorities, ensuring that the solutions are being reached most efficiently.
Community volunteers, state service providers, and their training as well as a database that stores information about service availability and challenges for analysis to plan future programs.
Main activities of the Good Practice
- First, we hosted the week long International Conference on Good Practices on Refugee Protection in September 2019 in Ankara, Turkey. We gathered 24 panelists and 300 participants from grassroots refugee-led organizations, community organizations, NGOs, think tanks, the UN, the EU, and the government of Turkey. The participants of the conference shared their best practices and learned the best, most innovative models for refugee protection in Turkey.
- Second, we set up community centers in six cities around Turkey which offer a variety of services including legal assistance, case management, outreach and advocacy, psychoeducation, counselling, capacity building for communities and partners, and training for community volunteers. We have reached over 10,000 refugees as a result of this model and were able to connect them to crucial services that provide assistance on health and education. Furthermore, we helped hundreds of refugees register and become eligible for state assistance in the form of cash transfers for basic needs and education.
- Good practice co-funded by: Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Office (ECHO)
- Co-convening partner for the Good Practice Conference: General Directorate of Migration Management, Ministry of Interior, Turkey
- Implementing NGO: Support To Life
Challenges and how they were overcome
- We prioritized including refugees in the teams delivering the project activities but because of government regulations, they could not obtain work permits, which slowed down recruitment and delayed implementation. In response, we sought out dual citizens and created teams that had Turkish and Arabic speaking individuals. This ensures that all services are available to refugees without a language barrier. Additionally, we recruited refugees to be community volunteers and extend the reach of the program activities. Finally, we advocated the importance of granting work permits to humanitarian workers from within the refugee community to the Turkish government, key donors, and other stakeholders.
- Another challenge was the Ministry of Family and Social Policy’s limitations on NGOs conducting house visits and outreach in refugee communities. The project applied and was eventually granted permission for house visits with the condition that we be accompanied for some of the activities by government social workers. We conducted trainings for our government counterparts and built good relationships with both local authorities and social services. As a result, we have a sense of trust between the project team and the authorities during joint house visits.
Results of the Good Practice
- Expanded access to information and services of at-risk and marginalized refugees, increasing their resilience and ability to cope.
- Improved well being and psychosocial resilience of the refugees benefiting from this action.
- Through organization of capacity building, workshops, on the job training sessions, and a multi-stakeholder international conference on protection, we improved the abilities of government and non-government partners to provide services and empowered community members.
- The partnership between Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH) and Support To Life is a prime example of an effective localization effort. The partnership of these two organizations has lasted for over 14 years and has always been based on the principles of equality, mutual support and interdependence. With the unique technical expertise and presence in communities that Support To Life has developed and the supportive technical and fundraising capacity of DKH, this partnership has been able to continuously deliver outstanding high quality programs, contextualize the best practices in protection in Turkey and expand the scope of its operations to multiple locations across the country, delivering key humanitariam assistance to the most vulnerable and at risk refugees.
Due to the big number of refugees present in the country and existing gaps, the importance of continuous support, but also new innovative solutions on how to effectively reach the populations in need, which are not currently being served in crucial. Ongoing service provision, but also advocacy towards the authorities is key in ensuring that the most at-risk and vulnerable are protected.