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High-level UN official meets Syrian refugees in Turkey

Dominique Burgeon, the Director of FAO’s Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, met with Syrian refugees living within the community in the city of Gaziantep and in the Temporary Accommodation Center at Osmaniye this Monday.

Burgeon, who also is the leader of FAO’s strategic programme for resilience building and is based at FAO’s headquarters in Rome, is seeing firsthand the results of FAO’s projects to assist both refugees and host communities in learning much-needed skills and finding jobs in agriculture.

At a meeting in Ankara yesterday, Burgeon presented the next two years of FAO’s refugee resilience plan to officials from the Government of Turkey and development partner representatives.

Last year, 900 people, both refugees and members of host communities, took part in training programs across five provinces to learn skills needed by the region’s agriculture sector and other parts of the private sector.

“I’m really proud that FAO and the Government of Turkey were able to collaborate and find a very specific answer to one of the big issues facing refugees: earning an income,” Burgeon said.

Burgeon added that he is thrilled that so many of the participants have now found skilled jobs.

“I’ve met some wonderful people who are proud of their new skills, which they can use in Turkey,” he said. “What’s more, employers are getting the skilled workers they need and are seeing increases in their productivity.”

Burgeon said that FAO, under its new Syrian Refugee Resilience Plan, plans to target 45 000 households over two years and expand its successful program into new provinces.

FAO will also work with the Government of Turkey to organize job fairs, helping both Syrian and Turkish people to connect with potential employers.

“So far, this project has been on a small scale, with huge success,” Burgeon said. “We hope that it can be scaled up this year.”

At the Temporary Accommodation Center in Osmaniye, Burgeon met Syrian refugees who have been living there for some years and are largely reliant on food distributions.

In order to increase the variety of foods available, as well as to provide agricultural training, FAO is constructing a greenhouse next to the Temporary Accommodation Center in which residents will be able to grow vegetables for their own consumption and develop their skills in greenhouse vegetable production.

The greenhouse will be completed in mid-May this year.

11 April 2018, Ankara, Turkey

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