Syria is facing one of the gravest humanitarian crises of the 21st century. Now in its sixth year, the conflict has already resulted in over 250,000 deaths. It is estimated that 6.5 million Syrians are internally displaced, and 4.7 million people are currently living in the neighboring countries including Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. Turkey alone hosts over 2.7 million Syrian refugees.
Because of the complex and volatile operating environment inside Syria, the international community is heavily reliant on Syrian partners – CSOs and SMEs – to deliver humanitarian and development assistance inside the country.
While these partners have been doing remarkable work, several barriers prevent more Syrian organizations and businesses from responding to the crisis. Most commonly, Syrian organizations and businesses have poor visibility within the international community. Furthermore, limited access to training and mentorship opportunities hinders operational improvements. Finally, CSOs and SMEs lack access to information on possible funding/growth opportunities, which is essential to long-term sustainability.
Local organizations and businesses should be at the forefront of supporting recovery and reconstruction efforts inside Syria. This will broaden the humanitarian effort and when conditions permit, will create much needed jobs and catalyze local economic development. Building Markets is launching a program that will facilitate this effort by addressing current barriers and strengthening the capacity of Syrian CSOs and SMEs by:
- building a directory of Syrian CSOs and SMEs that will bring visibility to a larger pool of entities that can implement programs and deliver goods and services;
- providing mentorship to Syrian CSOs and SMEs to ensure they have the tools and resources to effectively deliver services, create jobs, and sustain operations;
- developing an online platform to connect Syrian CSOs and SMEs with Turkish counterparts and the international community, including information on funding and growth opportunities;
- conducting primary research, and making recommendations based on demand and sector specific studies, stakeholder and trend analyses, and mapping the needs, perceptions, capacities, and challenges of Syrian CSOs and SMEs.
Building Markets is currently in the process of registering with the Turkish Authorities, in order to obtain permission to carry out the above-mentioned activities. The organization has also been active in Lebanon and is currently undertaking consultations in Jordan.
For more information, please email Syria@buildingmarkets.org
Project undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.