Local Roundtable Meeting ‘Volunteering for Refugee Protection' in Eskisehir, Turkey (14-15 July 2016)





‘Volunteering for Refugee Protection: Strengthening local refugee assistance services in Turkey’ within the EU-Turkey Civil Society Dialogue programme



Click here to access the full meeting report on local refugee reception in Eskisehir, here to dowload the conference programme and here for a background paper on the city of Eskisehir.

In the framework of the EU Turkey Civil Society Dialogue ‘Refugee Protection and Service Delivery Dialogue’ project, a first local roundtable meeting took place in Eskisehir 14-15 July 2016. The event was organized by ICMC Europe and the Human Resource Development Foundation (HRDF) Istanbul and Eskisehir branches, gathering 40 European and Turkish participants.

Eskisehir counts over 7. 000 refugees of which 1.732 Syrians and 5.552 of other nationalities (primarily Iraqis and Afghans). The DGMM presented policies on how to better engage cities and local actors in the harmonization of Syrians, who under the Regulation of Work Permits of Refugees Provided With Temporary Protection can since this year request a work permit that allows them to legally work in the country.

Representatives from European and Turkish NGOs presented their work on coordinating and supporting volunteers in the field of refugee reception, social services and labour market integration, through local authority civil society partnerships.

Experts from Consorzio Communitas (Italy), Dutch Council for Refugees (DCfR), Portuguese Refugee Council (CPR) and Red Cross Bulgaria, had lively exchanges with their Turkish civil society counterparts including  HRDF, the Red Crescent Eskisehir and Ankara, university representatives and volunteers as well as participants from the city and the Migration management provincial unit (DGMM) on practices to set up volunteering programmes and local service provision to refugees (Click here to access the DGMM's full presentation in Turkish).

The meeting reflected on the first experiences of the volunteer pilot programme at the HRDF Syrian refugee centre in Istanbul, initiated earlier this year under the project. In Eskisehir there are already several promising volunteering programmes initiated by Darvis Baba, HRDF, the Red Crescent or the Tepebaşı Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundation, which have potential to be further expanded and/or duplicated.

The programme featured a site visit to the HRDF Refugee Services Center in Eskisehir, where HRDF provides assistance and psycho-social support to refugees and introduced participants to their work on legal advice and referral at site. As part of the excursion, the delegation was received at the premises of the Red Crescent Eskisehir and introduced to local and national projects involving volunteers.

For more information on the Refugee Service Delivery project contact Project coordinator Magdalena Boehm (ICMC Europe) at boehm@icmc.net.