Providing space for fostering social cohesion

BMZ and EU inaugurate two community centres for Syrians and the Turkish host community of Kilis, supported by the Qudra Regional Programme.

by Samira Lindner, September 2018

On 07 June, two new community centres were inaugurated in the Turkish city of Kilis – a mere 5 km from the Syrian border. The buildings were comprehensively rehabilitated and furnished by GIZ and can now be used as places of learning and interaction between Syrian and Turkish women and youth of the city of Kilis.

Among the participants of the inauguration ceremony were EU Ambassador Christan Berger, Head of Development Cooperation at the German Embassy Dr. Manuel Paulus; Qudra Programme Director Dr. Günther Taube; Mayor of Kilis Hasan Kara; two Members of Parliament from Ankara Mustafa Hilmi Dülger and Reşit Polat; two representatives of the Turkish Prime Minister’s Office Akın Ak and Erhan Sırt. Residents of Kilis and personnel of the community centres also took active part, and many media representatives were present.

“This is a great example of how joint efforts of the EU and its Member States together with Turkish central and local institutions deliver quality services and contribute to social cohesion in towns affected by a massive influx of refugees, such as Kilis.”

Christian Berger, EU Ambassador

Welcome to Kilis!

A particular focus of the development cooperation in Turkey is to foster social cohesion between the refugees and local population in the host communities. With more than 3.5 million refugees, Turkey is the country with the highest number of refugees in the world. Accordingly, Module 3 – “Social Cohesion” of the Qudra Programme aims to respond to this situation through activities focused on improving and extending social services in Turkey.

Published on Qudra Matters Magazine 09/2018

The population of the Turkish border city of Kilis has nearly doubled since the beginning of the civil war in Syria; by now there are twice as many Syrians in the city as the Turkish host community. This causes additional pressure on the public infrastructure and services and leads to drastic changes in the adaptability between the two communities. In order to counteract negative dynamics, the municipality of Kilis provides training, counselling and support services for Syrians and disadvantaged groups of the Turkish population in its municipal community centres, and is supported in this through the Qudra Programme’s Module 3 on Social Cohesion.

The historical buildings rehabilitated by Qudra offer skills development trainings, such as Turkish language courses, handicrafts courses, IT-trainings, or cooking classes. In addition, the Qudra Programme supports peacebuilding and intercultural activities, in order to strengthen social cohesion between refugees and host communities. This includes, for example, sport, art, dance or discussion events. Youth are also supported in taking an active role in the community and to become socially engaged both within and outside the community centres.

The German federal government and the EU are working together to support Syria’s neighbouring countries in their efforts to cope with the refugee crisis. Qudra (Arabic word meaning strength, ability or resilience) is a Regional Programme financed primarily through the BMZ and the EU’s Regional Trust Fund Madad and implemented in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Kurdistan Region of Iraq/KRI. The Programme promotes joint European approaches to solving problems in the region by bringing together the knowledge and experience of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the French Agency for International Technical Expertise (Expertise France), Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA), and GIZ as the leading implementing partner. In Turkey, Qudra is implemented by both GIZ and Expertise France.