Improving social services of community centres and local initiatives for refugees and host communities in Turkey

Project description

Title: Improving Social Services for Refugees and Host Communities in Turkey by Supporting Community Centres and Local Initiatives – Community Centres and Local Initiatives Project (CLIP)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO)
Countries: Turkey
Lead executing agencies: Vice President’s Office of the Republic of Turkey
Overall term: 2017 to 2021



Almost 4 million refugees live in Turkey, with the majority of them coming from Syria. Many refugees face economic, psycho-social and educational challenges. Language barriers hamper their access to social services and the labour market, as well as social interactions. Moreover, members of the host community also face difficulties as the rising cost of living and high unemployment contribute to tensions with refugees. As the conflict in Syria continues, greater effort must be made to leave no one behind. To address these challenges, community centres and local initiatives have been established throughout Turkey to complement governmental efforts and to provide services for hard-to-reach groups.


Social services, including intercultural exchange, offered by community centres and local initiatives to refugees and the host communities are improved.



The Community Centres and Local Initiatives Project (CLIP) provides technical and financial support to up to 12 community centres and 20 local initiatives across Turkey. The project works in four action fields: 

1.    Support to community centres
2.    Local Initiative Fund in Turkey (LIFT)
3.    Harmonisation of services with governmental standards
4.    Capacity Development 

Action Field 1 provides financial and technical support to community centres across Turkey. Here, refugees and members of the host community exchange. -Regardless of origin, age or gender and based on identified needs, they can access activities in the fields of protection, education and intercultural exchange. With the type of services provided, the centres are a living example of the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.

Action Field 2 through the Local Initiative Fund in Turkey (LIFT), over 20 small and medium sized local and community-based non-governmental organisations are supported, which provide special services such as legal advice, psycho social support or referral to public authorities to particularly vulnerable persons i.e.: persons with disabilities, LGBTI+, gender based violence survivors, single parents, child workers, or seasonal migrants. 

Action Field 3 aims at aligning the services provided with the requirements of state institutions through developing networking structures between implementing partners and state institutions. This ensures a more efficient and effective service provision as well as a sustainable long-term perspective for implementing partners.

Action Field 4 provides specific capacity development measures for community centres, local initiatives and related public institutions at individual and organisational levels that are aimed at enhancing professionalisation and improving service quality. 

Since 2019, thanks to the first-of-its-kind cooperation between the BMZ Transitional Development Assistance and the European Union through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the “Leave No One Behind” Action, which is embedded in the project, allows for an increased focus on supporting and strengthening protection measures and on reaching the most vulnerable persons.


  • Over 211,000* individuals have already benefitted from services provided by community centres and local initiatives including approximately 38,000* persons with special needs and vulnerabilities
  • According to a 2019/2020 GIZ survey, 71 per cent of female and 77 per cent of male beneficiaries are more willing to interact with other nationalities following their participation in one of the activities
  • In 2019, 6,700 children received non-formal education while 5,500 persons (more than 1,500 children) received psychosocial support
  • Over 180 organisations applied for LIFT’s calls for proposal and 20 have been selected receiving a budget of over 6 million Euros. Each month, around 2,000 refugees benefit from the services provided under LIFT. 
  • 26* tailor-made capacity development measures and 97* exchange formats between state and non-state actors have been implemented since 2017 reaching more than 400 individuals. 

 (*figures are as of May 2020)

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