Partnering with Japan to create job opportunities in Turkey for Syrian refugees

Partnering with Japan to create job opportunities in Turkey for Syrian refugees


Two hundred and fifty Syrian refugees and host community members received commemorative certificates from the Ambassador of Japan, Mr Akio Miyajima, during a job fair organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO) in Sanliurfa, Turkey, on 4 December 2018.

The event celebrated the participants’ completion of employment training for Syrian refugees and host community members through a USD 500 000 resilience-building project funded by the Government of Japan. The project aims to enhance livelihood opportunities and strengthen social cohesion for Syrian refugees and host communities.

The job fair was also attended by Mr Ahmet Volkan Gungoren, the Acting Deputy Director General, Directorate General of the European Union and Foreign Relations, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and Dr Viorel Gutu, FAO Representative in Turkey and Subregional Coordinator for Central Asia.

After almost eight years of conflict, Turkey is hosting more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees. Many of them rely on humanitarian support as they do not have formal jobs or regular income sources. This project aims to support their transition from reliance on humanitarian assistance to self-reliant livelihoods by improving their agricultural skills.

“We support this project as it provides participants with opportunities to obtain new jobs and income sources, which is important for self-reliance,” said Mr Akio Miyajima, Ambassador of Japan. “Syrian people who obtain new jobs are able to participate more actively in the local economy and society, and this fosters social cohesion in local communities.”

Thirty-two-year-old Maisa Daas from Syria was one of several refugees who participated in training on beekeeping in Kilis. “This training was very helpful for me, to know how to conduct beekeeping and honey extractions. In the future I aim to start my own beekeeping business,” she said. “I was very happy with the training because in addition to the technical information, I met people from both Syrian and Turkish communities. We are spending fruitful time together learning new information about beekeeping.”

In Sanliurfa, 25 women were trained in a municipality-operated kitchen facility, learning how to prepare healthy and nutritious food for a municipality-operated sales outlet, selling subsidized food in the city centre. Raghad, a 19-year-old participant, works in the kitchen, preparing traditional Turkish food. She said the training was useful for Syrian refugees in general and particularly for woman.

“We have been learning to speak Turkish and principles of hygiene in the kitchen. We came here for four weeks to learn how to cook Turkish food, which is famous in Sanliurfa,” said Raghad. “I hope after this graduation to help and benefit my community and also other vulnerable Syrian refugees because I know the difficulties they have been facing.”

Assistant Representative FAO Turkey, Ms Aysegul Selisik, on a recent visit to support the project’s implementing partner Beltur, highlighted the need for new ways of working to enable a more integrated response to enhance economic opportunities and employment generation.

In partnership with the Japanese non-governmental organization, Association for Aid and Relief, the project also aims to increase knowledge and practice through awareness raising training about the importance of a healthy diet and nutrition for vulnerable people to prevent undernutrition and chronic diseases.

“Life skills, which are important for achieving self-reliant livelihoods, such as those related to nutrition and health, communication and accessing social support is one of the key components of this project,” Mr Keigo Obara, FAO Food Security Officer, said. The FAO-led project also aims to increase private sector engagement to create sustainable livelihoods for people affected by the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic in Turkey.