UN project offers training, jobs for locals, Syrians in Turkey
Bahadır Gültekin - ŞANLIURFA
Within the scope of a U.N. project, employment opportunities for Syrians residing in Turkey will be created by strengthening cooperation and solidarity ties between them and local people in the agricultural field.
Primarily aiming to enhance the potential of around 3,000 Syrians residing in Turkey to stand on their own feet by increasing their employability in the agricultural sector, the project’s recent leg launched in Şanlıurfa, a Turkish border province hosting half a million Syrian refugees.
The project, named “Building Resilience of Syrians under Temporary Protection and Host Communities in Turkey through Supporting Socio-Economic Integration and Creating Livelihood Opportunities,” has been jointly run by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Turkish government and financed by the European Union.
Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News, Viorel Gutu, the FAO representative in Turkey and subregional coordinator for Central Asia, highlighted the importance of the initiative that aims to achieve wide-ranging socio-economic integration of Syrian refugees while drawing attention to the challenges faced by them, especially in the pandemic process.
“The pandemic was very challenging for all of us in different ways. But its impact hit hardest the most vulnerable individuals who work in agriculture, 90 percent of who live in extreme poverty,” Gutu said, noting that 94 percent of Syrian refugees work as seasonal agricultural workers and 64 percent of locals have difficulty finding jobs during the pandemic.
Pointing out that these institutions came together to help rural communities to survive during these difficult times, Gutu stated that the project is working to equip these communities with knowledge, support and link them with employers.
A total of 10 provinces with the highest agricultural potential and the Syrian refugee population were selected for the project, mostly located in Turkey’s south and east.
Within the scope of the initiative, a total of 3,000 people will be given vocational training, while 1,500 people will be introduced to the farmer field school system to support the demand side of the labor market.
The project also provides an opportunity to 1,500 Syrians to gain short-term employment through “cash-for-work-plus” in support of participating farmers and their communities with land development activities, land leveling, soil and water conservation measures and water harvesting.
The latest figures of the initiative look promising. While the average employment rate is 25 percent so far, this rate varies between 60 and 80 percent in some provinces.
Nearly 50 percent of the employed in line with the project are women.