Turkey – Social Cohesion events

Peace-building sapling

Şahinbey Municipality and Şahinbey Association organized a tree planting event to strengthen the bonds between Syrian refugees and Turkish members of the host community. The participants planted hundreds of saplings. The olive trees symbolize peace and are a symbol of the friendship between Turkish and Syrian communities.

Şahinbey Municipality and Şahinbey Association organized a tree planting event to strengthen the bonds between Syrian refugees and Turkish members of the host community. The participants planted hundreds of saplings. The olive trees symbolize peace and are a symbol of the friendship between Turkish and Syrian communities.

Planting trees is a great way to be in nature and contribute to it and create a place of remembrance for the community.

Qudra 2 in Türkiye supports municipalities in strengthening their capacities to deliver services more transparently and inclusively. It brings people from diverse communities together to exchange and engage with each other, contributing to social cohesion.

Score for all

Syrian refugee girls and Turkish girls united to participate in an exhibition football match against a local girls’ team in Adana, Türkiye. This soccer game aimed to promote social cohesion and raise awareness about the challenges refugees face. It provided children with the opportunity to showcase their skills and connect with their peers. The match was a powerful demonstration of the unifying power of sports, bringing girls from diverse backgrounds together to achieve a common goal.

The event was attended by Deputy Mayor Murat Bilal, who highlighted the crucial role of sports in fostering social cohesion. He reiterated the municipality’s commitment to supporting the harmonious integration of communities through sports.

In Türkiye, Qudra 2 supports community support projects that promote social cohesion by bringing people together and facilitating mutual understanding.

A Social Market for the common good

Küçükçekmece Municipality, with the support of Qudra 2, promotes solidarity, sustainability, and equality. The municipality’s Social Market Project aims to strengthen solidarity, promote sustainable consumption habits, and achieve equitable and justice in the city.

Küçükçekmece Municipality Social Market offers a variety of food and hygiene items, and shoppers are provided with credits based on their needs as determined by social workers. The project ensures equitable benefits for all residents.

The social market is a pilot to test alternatives to the food support provided by the municipality. It replaces food baskets with a credit system that enables them to choose their own priorities and shop at the market. This allows the recipients greater choice and allows them to identify their own priorities.

In addition, the Küçükçekmece Municipality continues its Food Bank programme, which has gained strength through community solidarity in recent years. Social service experts review applications and determine which families are eligible to benefit from the Food Bank. The financial status of shoppers is regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that assistance goes to those who need it most. The social market and the food bank are also supported with the refrigerated vehicles for collecting donated food items from the companies or producers.

Qudra 2 supports Küçükçekmece Municipality in its commitment to promoting social solidarity, sustainability, and equality in Küçükçekmece, while providing support to those in need through innovative programs and partnerships.

Providing Employment Support Services to Improve Employment Opportunities for Youth

The Qudra 2 programme supports youth in Jordan to develop the skills that help them improve their access to employment opportunities.

One form of this support is the provision of career guidance and counselling services (CGC) for young jobseekers jointly by Qudra 2 and the German Cooperation project “Qualification Oriented to Employment in the Craft”.

The collaboration was initiated because both projects support vocational training courses, career guidance, and counselling services for Jordanian and Syrian refugee youth. Through close cooperation, the two programmes pool resources and expertise to better support our partners and young people in Jordan.

In a pilot phase, the programmes jointly developed curricula and guidelines for local training providers. These products outline four pillars for career guidance: (i) self-awareness, (ii) opportunity awareness, (iii) developing alternative career paths and (iv) career preparation.

Together with five local partners, pilots were implemented in 13 locations in Jordan, including centres in Amman, Irbid, Karak, Mafraq, Tafileh and Zarqa. Over the last three months, two project partners from the Ministry of Labour, National Employment and the Training Company, Vocational Training Corporation, Luminus Technical College University and Education for Employment – Jordan, have conducted CGC training sessions.

So far, 1,000 beneficiaries have participated in the training sessions, which aim to support the transition from education to the labour market.

Another activity for Qudra 2 includes cooperation with “SkillLab”, a social enterprise that developed the IT-based “SkillLab” application. The application provides job seekers with skills assessments, skills-based matching, access to vacancies, career counselling and job-application support to guide them to turn their skills into careers.

During an onboarding training organised for Qudra 2 partners on 19 October 2022, participants learned to properly use the “SkillLab” application and familiarise themselves with its functions and features. The training participants can now use this IT platform to help jobseekers to match their skills with private sector demands.

Delivery of compactors for garbage collection to six municipalities

In Jordan, the Qudra 2 programme supports six municipalities in the Northern governorate of Mafraq to work alongside civil society to provide transparent and inclusive basic services for all their residents.

As part of Qudra 2’s support to the six municipalities, the programme handed over seven compactors for garbage collection to enhance the municipalities’ effectiveness of their waste management public services.

The handover event took place at the Mercedes facilities in the Zarqa free zone on 15 December 2022 and was attended by HE Miguel de Lucas, Spanish Ambassador to Jordan, who handed over the keys of the waste collection trucks to the mayors of the six municipalities of Rihab, Hosha, Sarhan, Manshyat Bani Hasan, Basiliyeh and Great Mafraq.

“We encourage local administrations to continue working on this sector to build up cleaner cities by allying with citizens to jointly achieve this goal. Involving citizens and organised civil society would be basic elements for the transformation of the municipalities”, said HE Miguel de Lucas, Spanish Ambassador to Jordan, during the delivery event.

Mr. Nasser Al-Khazaleh, Mayor of Great Mafraq expressed, “These compactors will help us to provide a better waste management public service for our communities”.

Food Security Material Support: Composting

Şanlıurfa Municipality supports food security by reusing waste to produce organic fertiliser and hot water. Qudra 2 supports Şanlıurfa Municipality in procuring the necessary machines for local farmers to create organic fertilisers.

Cities must be at the forefront of the fight against climate change. With its new project, Şanlıurfa Municipality will create the infrastructure to produce organic fertiliser and hot water from waste products. Qudra 2 will support the municipality in setting up one industrial and three household-sized composting machines.

The new machines will create organic compost, hot water, and gas for cooking. The compost will be used in one of the municipality’s gardens and greenhouses, where vulnerable community members can grow vegetables and herbs. Approximately 500 older adults, women, persons with disabilities, refugees, and children will benefit from the organic fertiliser and hot water obtained through waste recycling in the 6-month project period. Gas produced during the composting process will be used for cooking and to heat water in the municipal facility’s kitchen.

Efforts to tackle climate change must be rooted in the community. As part of the project, the municipality will raise awareness of climate change and make a case for zero waste and a more circular economy. An awareness-raising programme and booklets will primarily target children and youth. The project will target over 500 children in close coordination between the municipality and the Provincial Directorate of the Ministry of National Education.

Strengthening Food Security

With Qudra 2’s support, Adana Metropolitan Municipality is countering the pressures of rapidly increasing food and agricultural production prices by strengthening the resilience of smallholder farmers and vulnerable households.

The project aims to support farmers to increase productivity while supporting the most vulnerable households to overcome food insecurity by providing food vouchers.

Smallholder farmers’ productivity is increased through guaranteed contracts, increased production, improved post-harvest management of crops (e.g. appropriate storage), market access and resilience for identified food chains. The project will be carried out in cooperation with the Meryem Women’s Cooperative, supported by the municipality.

Thirty vulnerable smallholder farmers who were selected for the project will sign contracts with the Meryem Women’s cooperative. The municipality will provide these farmers with seeds, organic compost, and technical advice. The cooperative will receive training on food sanitation, packaging and processing techniques. The cooperative will buy the identified farmers’ produce and sell it to the market using its established network. The profits from the sales will be used to procure “market cards” for vulnerable households. These are vouchers for families to buy food and essential products from local markets. 300 households will be assessed concerning their food insecurity. Twenty food-insecure and vulnerable households will benefit from food market cards. Host communities and refugees will benefit equally from the measure.

Vertical Agriculture Courses

Qudra 2 supports Seyhan Municipality’s Women Solidarity Centre to provide vertical agriculture courses in which local women learn about innovative agriculture, enabling them to grow, harvest, and sell their products in the market.

Vertical farming resembles greenhouse farming, where metal reflectors and artificial lighting augment natural sunlight. The primary goal of vertical farming is maximising crop output in a limited space. Vertical farming seeks to mitigate the risks faced by conventional agriculture and increase sustainability by preventing land loss, reducing agricultural residues, mitigating seasonal risks, and reducing water and waste problems seen in traditional agriculture. Yields per metre can therefore exceed conventional spaces ten-fold.

In Seyhan Municipality’s project, local women grow crops such as lettuces, peppers, spinach and tomatoes in a vertical greenhouse located on the terrace of a municipality-run community centre.

The products are sought after in the local market: Seyhan Municipality has successfully established cooperation with a local branch of a national supermarket chain, and some local restaurants are buying produce from the vertical garden. The earnings are distributed among the producer women.

Beyond vertical farming, Seyhan Municipality’s Women Solidarity Centre also offers other courses, including handicrafts and ceramics. Participants in the activities have set up their own cooperative, the Seyhan Producing Women Cooperative, to market their products on Turkey’s biggest e-commerce platforms, including Trendyol and Mia Mano.

Suruç Environmental and Zero Wastes Projects

Suruç Municipality is redoubling its efforts to protect the environment and reduce waste. With the support of Qudra 2, a new project aims to develop a waste management system which contributes to minimising waste generation while at the same time promoting efficient recycling.

Since 2020, Suruç Municipality has been working on environmental protection and zero waste with the support of the Qudra 2 programme, including setting up a dedicated unit to address these challenges. The municipality is starting to implement its fourth project phase focusing on youth and progressing towards “zero waste”.

All four projects of the municipality aimed to develop a waste management system which contributes to minimising waste generation and efficient recycling. Awareness raising among the local community in Suruç has been a critical part of the intervention. The projects contribute to a cleaner city and improve residents’ everyday lives. Better and more equal access to services also reduces tensions in the community. Social cohesion is strengthened through tackling common challenges and working together towards a shared, cleaner environment.

The first two projects focused on textile recycling. 15 textile waste collection boxes were placed in the district, and a Municipality laundry room was re-established to clean the collected textile wastes and prepare them for reuse. A second-hand clothing store was established, where those in need could get free clothes. Information sessions and awareness-raising campaigns were carried out to encourage people living in Suruç to use the textile boxes and recycle their textile wastes. Young people and women showed a particular interest in the project. 610 people attended awareness-raising training on recycling, and 2,500 benefited from second-hand clothing support. Although the project ended in April 2021, the laundry and shop continue to operate. So far, 18,000 people have benefited from clothing support.

In its second project, the municipality sought to build on the interest shown by young people and women to tackle the issue of waste. The second project raised awareness of the importance of environmental protection while improving packaging recycling. The municipality organised competitions between youth and adults to encourage waste collection in the district. 260 young people who collected the most waste participated in a breakfast event with the mayor to convey their needs and expectations and benefitted from educational support. Ten adults who collected the most waste benefitted from small-value market vouchers to support their families. In total, 1,760 people were reached through the awareness-raising campaigns.

In addition to collecting packaging waste, stale bread and fruit peels were collected and converted into ethanol. The ethanol was used to produce disinfectant spray in a laboratory set up by the municipality under the project. The first disinfectant was distributed to vulnerable community members to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The keen interest of young people was a welcome surprise for the municipality’s team. Their participation in the project contributes to addressing a critical challenge in Turkey. Research has found that children and youth often feel overlooked and excluded [1]. Effective channels for participation have to be created to counteract this, allowing young people to discover their strengths and feel part of their local communities. The recycling project in Suruç has proven to be one such opportunity.

Suruç’s fourth project cycle will build on the motivation of its young community members. It will focus on actively involving young people to contribute to a sustainable environment. In this project, young people will work together towards common goals, regardless of nationality or gender.

Recycling activities will continue. In addition, the project will promote “upcycling”. Young people will be supported to give “waste” a new lease on life by learning to transform by-products, waste materials, and useless or unwanted products into new materials or products with, for example, artistic or environmental value.

Furthermore, the ethanol production laboratory will host activities for young people interested in cologne and soap-making. The process of turning food waste into alcohol will be explained, and the final products will be distributed among vulnerable households.

Throughout the project, increasing participation and positive social interaction aim to contribute to social cohesion by building relationships among people of different origins and strengthening a sense of belonging in the community and trust in the municipality.

[1] [1] https://rideproject.eu/media/ride-the-principles-approaches-tr.pdf

Comprehensive Support for Agriculture in Iraq

In Iraq, Qudra 2 provides comprehensive support to the agricultural sector ranging from rehabilitating infrastructure to providing training and agricultural inputs and strengthening local farmers’ organisations. 

In Iraq, Qudra 2 contributes to agricultural development by rehabilitating agricultural infrastructure that has been damaged or neglected. The rehabilitation work covers (i) the extension and rehabilitation of irrigation canals, (ii) maintenance of flood gates and sluices, (iii) water pumping stations, (iv) cleaning and laying concrete around water sources to reduce water losses and secure irrigation for more farms and agricultural areas and (v) warehouse renovation and procurement of large-scale processing machines for olive oil production.

“Before the rehabilitation for the warehouse in Tal Afar, our farmers had to travel to Mosul to pick up any pesticides, seeds or fertilizers subsidized by the government or bought in the market. Travels impose extra costs on farmers who barely make ends meet and it might also create difficulties for them at the checkpoints as these items cannot easily be transferred. With the rehabilitation of the warehouse in Tal Afar, the Directorate of Agriculture can once again provide support the people.”
Mr Salim, Head of Directorate of Agriculture, Tal Afar

Agriculture Training and Grants for Increased Income Generation

The rehabilitation of agriculture infrastructure is complemented by additional agriculture training and in-kind support to ensure increased income generation. Intensive training was provided to 796 vulnerable farmers. Over 650 additional persons have received complementary in-kind support to start or expand food production, including irrigation systems, access to rehabilitated greenhouses, livestock, chicken incubators, seeds and fertilisers, which improve food security for rural families and create income opportunities. A model farm exposes local farmers to novel techniques in regenerative agriculture that can make agriculture more sustainable and resilient to climate change.

The support for infrastructure, training and inputs is complemented by support to farmers’ associations to provide better services to their members.

Implementation of Agricultural Training for 80 Small-Scale Farmers by Local NGO Rwanga in KRI

In order to improve food security, rural economic development, and foster more resilient communities in Iraq, small-scale farmers must be equipped with the knowledge to mitigate risks and adapt to the changing economic and environmental challenges.

Iraq is among the top five countries most affected by climate change. Primarily, increased extreme temperature events and changing rain patterns negatively impact farmers. Consequently, agricultural productivity and diversity have significantly decreased in the last decade. In addition, Russia’s war on Ukraine has aggravated the situation and revealed the dependence of Iraq’s agricultural system on imports of crops and chemical inputs.

In order to improve food security, rural economic development, and foster more resilient communities in Iraq, small-scale farmers must be equipped with the knowledge to mitigate risks and adapt to the changing economic and environmental challenges.

The Qudra 2 programme, and the local NGO Rwanga, will provide 80 farmers, from the two governorates of Sulaymaniyah and Halabja, including women, with a 45-day training programme as recommended by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA). Ten days will be practical training, and another ten days will be “Know-About-Business” training.

The training will cover practical solutions to challenges stemming from the current agricultural system and how to adapt to the changing climate while improving productivity.

The training will cover the following topics:

  • Risks associated with the current agricultural system, e.g. monocropping, use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides
  • Improved irrigation methods and rainwater harvesting
  • Small and large animal systems; how to increase productivity and efficiency without the import of external inputs, such as raw materials and automated technological equipment
  • How to improve soil health and soil fertility

In addition, a network between all beneficiaries will be established by conducting practical training on farmland belonging to large landowners.

The training is designed to respond rapidly to the global food crisis. It includes practical and business training sessions to ensure that the theoretical knowledge is understood and can be immediately put into practice, both on the farm and at the market.

When the training is complete, an experienced agriculture expert will follow up with each beneficiary and provide expert guidance to ensure that farmers can overcome any initial challenges.

The training design follows the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA) guidelines and is thus approved for any future education or job opportunities. In addition, the training contents will be closely coordinated with the local Directorates of Agriculture (DoA).

Peer Bullying and Child Rights Seminars

Our partner in Istanbul, Küçükçekmece Municipality, seeks to provide services for all community members to enable a better future for all. A Needs Analysis Report published by the municipality in February 2021 identified bullying as an urgent problem at local schools. The municipality, in cooperation with the national education authorities in the district, organised a series of bullying and child rights seminars to address the issue.

77.3% of Syrians surveyed for the needs analysis conducted by Küçükçekmece Municipality reported that their children were exposed to violence and bullying at the hands of their peers. Based on this fact, the seminars are organised with the participation of psychologists focusing on bullying and child rights. They are held at schools where refugee children receive education in cooperation with district national education authorities.

Küçükçekmece Municipality is also highlighting the issue of bullying in coordination mechanisms with relevant local actors and is developing further projects to tackle the challenge.