With this project we aim at strengthening the prospects of youth in refugee and host communities for social and economic inclusion in Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey. The three countries have been affected in different ways by the Syrian crises, and are experiencing tensions between Syrian refugees and host communities due competition to for livelihood opportunities.
In Lebanon, according to UNHCR, Syrian refugees number nearly 1.2 million, almost 25% of the population. With the no-camp policy, refugees are scattered throughout 1,700 different localities and the perceived unfair allocation of aid has led to growing resentment among poor Lebanese and decreased social stability between the two populations. Regional trends highlight that in these areas displaced and host communities are likely to face direct competition to access local labour market and this is a potential source for community divisions.
Iraq was the only country to officially provide residency permits to Syrian refugees, allowing access to livelihood opportunities. Then the recent conflict caused two million Iraqis to become displaced, decreasing the availability of jobs. Women, youth, and those with disabilities are particularly disadvantaged. The recent conflict also impacted social cohesion in north Iraq and the Kurdistan Region (KRG).
In the Southeast Anatolia region of Turkey, over ½ of refugees earn less than minimum wage—250 USD monthly. Job competition and increasing costs of rent and commodities have increased tensions between Syrians and Turkish nationals. Opportunities for refugees are limited in a region that was previously disadvantaged and this is particularly impacting women and youth who are at risk of exploitation, abuse, prostitution. With the 22 existing refugee camps operating at full capacity and more refugees coming in, the increasing needs of both the refugee and host populations overwhelm government services and resources.
Together with the partners, we will combine efforts to support young Syrian refugees, as well as young Lebanese, Turks and Iraqis in the host communities at increasing economic self-reliance and developing more tolerant relationships. We will increase their access to demand-driven livelihood opportunities, conducting a thorough research assessment to map the skills and opportunities in each community and supporting inclusive and harmonized local economic development. Moreover, we will train them through a variety of workshops and apprenticeships, and offer them the opportunity to put their newly acquired skills into practice through the implementation of joint projects.
To support the capacity of young Syrian refugees to cope with the traumas caused by the violence, we will use recreational and arts-based activities as a tool for trauma-healing. Through conflict prevention trainings, dialogue workshops, joint community projects and media tools, we will bring together young leaders of refugee and host communities to gain a better understanding of each other, highlighting commonalities over differences, and uncovering potential areas of collaboration. Through the sub-grants, we will endow local actors to find common solutions to shared problems.
An emerging network of youth will be empowered to act as peace leaders in their communities, sharing the vision of a peaceful, nonviolent future for Syria and the region.