Under the title “Support and Strengthen Civil Society” the representatives of several Syrian organizations met with international organizations working on Syrian issues at the Center for Civil Society and Democracy (CCSD) office in Gaziantep, Turkey. The purpose of the March 9th meeting included:
- Networking between the Syrian organizations from multiple geographic areas.
- Networking between the Syrian and international organizations working on Syrian issues.
- Meeting the needs of Syrian organizations.
Out of 38 Syrian organizations, three committees were created which selected nine people to attend the coordination meetings held with international organizations in Urfa, Mersin, and Antioch. The organizations have missions that span several different areas: human rights, education, developmental support, women’s advocacy, youth support, and relief.
The meeting started promptly at ten in the morning and continued until six in the evening. It was split into two parts:
The first part was focused on general assessment of the programs and their needs. The committees and the coordinators of CCSD first divided the organizations in attendance according to their work sectors. There was then a focus on identifying the training and capacity building needs of the organizations, as well as the status of urgent development projects in need of direct financial support from donors. According to their findings, there is an essential need for direct financial support in the arena of urgent development projects. The organizations then separated based on their respective labor sectors.
The working organizations also split into several sectors, focusing on human rights, education, development (small projects), women’s advocacy, youth support,consciousness-raising, and general relief. In determining the administrative and training needs of all the organizations, the groups found an urgent need for “organizational development, drafting and project management, and coaching preparation”.
The second portion of the meeting was between the committees and the international organizations working on Syrian issues: Creative, GIZ, Menapolis, Aktiss, tmkeen, Aman network, and CCSD. The committees explained to the international organizations present the principles behind their formation, the different sectors in which their respective organizations work, and what exactly had been achieved in the previous coordination meetings.
The representatives of the international organizations also defined the nature of their work, their projects, and the sectors of the community that they support. The atmosphere of the meeting was defined by a discussion regarding the projects and programs of the organizations involved. Out of that discussion there came a clarification and crystallization of the role that the Syrian organizations in Turkey play, as well as the sectors of society in which they operate. All of these developments will aid donors in understanding future plans and identifying the needs of the aforementioned organizations.
After thorough discussion and debate, the consensus of the various organizations was that there should be a heavy focus on health and education programs. In order to truly address these issue sectors, those involved agreed that there must be significant capacity building initiatives undertaken to deal with issues such as management, project design and management, and general organizational capacity building. It was also decided that there needs to be a focus on how to best launch projects that revolve around vocational training, integration of Syrian youth into communities, and the building of shared databases to further facilitate the work of all involved.
Some other suggestions, also identified in the meeting included:
*Hold regular meetings with Syrian organizations to discuss the obstacles facing Syrian organizations and assist them in finding solutions.
*Work on the support system for Syrian organizations through CCSD’s programs.
*Guide international organizations and donors toward a deeper interest in the Syrian education sector kjjjjin order to overcome the mounting obstacles.
*Guide the attention of international organizations toward the health sector in order to address the deficit of support in the field, and the high cost of medicine.