Promoting Social Cohesion and Coexistence between Syrian Refugees and Turkish host communities: Launching a Joint Project with UNDP in Turkey.

In March 2021, REALs (Reach Alternatives) has launched a project with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in five provinces in Turkey; Ankara, Istanbul, Kocaeli, Bursa and Şanlıurfa. The project aims to foster Social Cohesion between Syrian refugees and Turkish host communities and strengthen the resilience of the whole communities, which contributes to prevent the incrementation of the societies and support the peaceful coexistence of people in the target provinces.

Project Target Location

Social cohesion supports sustainable societies where people understand and accept their differences such as ethnicity, culture and values and peacefully live together with keeping themselves at comfortable distances.

In the project, REALs trains 10 Syrian and Turkish youth (15-29 years old) in each location, 50 youth in total, as youth focal points for promoting social cohesion activities. In addition, 10 staff members of each youth center under Provincial Directorate of Ministry of Youth and Sports in 5 locations, 50 staff in total, receive trainings on Social Cohesion and Conflict Prevention provided by REALs.

The youth focal points and youth center staff are supported to plan and conduct Social Cohesion activities on their own initiatives in their respective provinces. In the project, fun activities such as production of songs and drama, music and theatre show, sports events, and cultural exhibitions as social cohesion activities.

Turkey has hosted more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees (*1) since the start of the Syrian uprisings in 2011. Despite of the generous acceptance policy and considerable support by the government of Turkey, tensions between the refugees and the host communities have been seen.

Also, the loss of jobs tends to increase competition over employment opportunities, and economic instabilities lead risks of isolation and drives vulnerable youth to adopt negative coping strategies. Therefore, Social Cohesion is a very important key to support both the refugees and the host communities.

Through this project, 500 youth and their family members, approximately 2,500 in total, are expected to raise their awareness on Social Cohesion by participating the social cohesion activities.

This project is scheduled to be implemented until the end of September 2021.

(*1) Statistics of the Migration Administration, Ministry of Interior, Turkey, March 31, 2021

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