Within the scope of Social Protection Project conducted in collaboration with WALD and United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), "Social Protection Desks" have been built in cooperation with local governments. These Social Protection Desks aim to provide refugees and locals with social and legal consultancy services. As of 2020, municipalities of Istanbul, such as Avcılar, Bağcılar, Beylikdüzü, Gaziosmanpaşa, Kâğıthane, Küçükçekmece, Pendik, Sancaktepe, Sultangazi, Maltepe, Şişli and Ümraniye Municipalities entered into collaboration within the project. Since 2017, Social Protection Desks have served to more than 350,000 people were provided with psycho-social and legal support.

Within the Social Projection Project, teams of translators, attorneys and social works have been employed to provide services for all refugees and local people visiting the counseling centers, which after all contributes to the coordination between local governments and institutions in the relevant subject matters. The project facilitates the access to information about refugees, and supports the capacity building of local governments.

Since the local governments are the closest government unit to individuals, any society-oriented solutions are shaped by the needs of relevant municipalities. One of the main objectives of Social Protection Project is to expand the local government services to all groups and people possible in order to ensure the access of people of municipalities to the same services and to avoid the creation of any parallel systems.

In this regard, different units of local governments are ensured to participate in all activities and works. Additionally, activities are carried out to improve the social cohesion, such as empowerment of women and enrollment of children to school. In line with our activities, Social Protection Project allows some other activities as per needs, such as protection, social cohesion, training and source of income. Our teams take into account the requests of counselees as well as needs of local governments while developing these projects.

Activities intending for the social cohesion aim to enrich the communication channels between local people and refugees. During the district coordination meetings planned under the supervision of Local Governments, public institutions and organizations like Social Service Centers and District Directorate of National Education come together with the relevant directorates of the local government like Social Support Services as well as other local non-governmental organizations in order to make evaluations of the district and seek cooperation and solutions.

WALD carries out activities in order to make the local government personnel more competent in the field of refugee works. In this regard, we come together with the field teams of local governments, relevant directorates, city councils and opinion leaders of the field activities, and hold various panel discussions, trainings and seminars.

It has helped us improve our activities in the field of source of income and training. In addition, school bus services have been provided for children with the purpose of encouraging them to orient themselves with the school life. As per the activities called Access to Sources of Income and Licensing Informal Businesses, businesses of refugees which will specifically contribute to the social cohesion between refugees and local people are being licensed. In this regard, WALD started to license businesses in cooperation with the relevant directorates of the local governments as of second half of 2018. These activities initially focused on pilot districts, namely Bağcılar, Kağıthane, Pendik and Sultangazi. The aim of the access to sources of income and licensing informal businesses activities is to prevent local people from having any false opinions such as refugees do not pay taxes. Moreover, a perspective has been brought among refugees and local people with regard to the equality before the law and local governments.

Within the scope of Social Protection Project, Social Protection Desks have been providing in collaboration with UNHCR in 11 districts of Istanbul, which are Sultangazi, Avcılar, Bağcılar, Beylikdüzü, Gaziosmanpaşa, Kâğıthane, Küçükçekmece, Maltepe, Pendik, Sancaktepe and Ümraniye Municipalities. 

Additionally, social cohesion events are organized in order to strengthen the social cohesion between refugees and host community. 

Total figures of Social Protection Project conducted in cooperation with UNHCR and Municipalities are as follows:

- 350,000 people were provided with psycho-social and legal support.

-  1000 people attended the Turkish Language Course.

- Licensing and work permit processes of a total of 120 registered workplaces have been completed.

- Since 2017, "True Known Errors Training" has been given to the personnel of 2000 public institutions/organizations.

- 105 refugees participated in city councils.

- 25 District Coordination Meetings were held.

- 100 different mentoring events were held with participants from refugees and local people.

- 350 Social Cohesion Events were organized in which local people and refugees participated.

You can access Social Protection Project Evaluation Survey forms by clicking on the language option below.


Social Protection Project continues nonstop in 2020 as well.