Opportunities for Lives Project touched more than 12,000 lives in 5 years

The project achieved significant, replicable, successful examples in refugee entrepreneurship, social adaptation at work, and formal employment.

News | 31 January 2023
ANKARA (ILO News)– “The Opportunities for Lives Project”, which was jointly implemented for 5 years by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Directorate-General for International Labour Force (DG-ILF) of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MoLSS) to economically and socially empower and strengthen the resilience of Syrians under temporary protection and host communities in Türkiye, came to a conclusion.

Financed by the European Union (EU) by a budget of 11.6 million EUR, and officially named “Job Creation and Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Syrians under Temporary Protection and Host Communities in Türkiye”, the Opportunities for Lives Project was implemented between 01 February 2018 and 31 January 2023 in the provinces of Ankara, Istanbul, Bursa, Konya, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Adana, Mersin and Hatay.

Setting out with the motto of “More Opportunities for Better Lives”, the project fielded results-oriented programmes to socio-economically empower Turkish citizens and Syrians under temporary protection. Through responding to human resources needs in the identified sectors under the project, contributions were made to furthering sectoral development and increasing production.

As some project activities were executed by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the Opportunities for Lives Project focused on delivering vocational trainings, labour market skills courses, programmes to promote SMEs, empathy workshops, awareness-raising trainings as well as promoting entrepreneurship through incentives.

Having been implemented by the critical contributions from relevant public entities, municipalities, universities, chambers of commerce and industry, many specialized civil society organizations, the project reached 12,267 persons in the nine project provinces.

Courses responded to personnel needs of various sectors while enabling target groups to access decent work

The vocational trainings and labour market skills courses responded to the human resources needs of various sectors including garment, furniture, automotive, housekeeping etc. and enabled the target groups to access decent work. Under the project, 2,874 persons received technical and vocational training, 4,509 persons participated in informative training on public employment services, and 2,228 persons received basic labour market skills training.

Support was given to referring the youth with limited job experience to apprenticeship trainings so that they could simultaneously continue their education and acquire reputable vocations; hence, 987 young people were referred to vocational training (apprenticeship) centres.

The project achieved significant, replicable, successful examples in refugee entrepreneurship, social adaptation at work, and formal employment

Experienced business people who owned businesses or worked as managers in their countries received KOSGEB’s Applied Entrepreneurship Training so that they could make use of their knowledge in Türkiye. A total 532 persons participated in the entrepreneurship training after which they either started new businesses or scale up their existing businesses. Following the entrepreneurship training, 148 eligible persons were awarded grants.

Training and consultancy support was provided through SCORE programme designed to improve working conditions at SMEs, increase their productivity, and ensure that they stand out in the competition.

Social adaptation was accelerated by matching Turkish and foreign colleagues working in the same workplace with each other under the Workplace Adaptation Programme, which was designed to ensure that Syrian employees learn how to work together first hand and to develop a culture for living together. 813 persons participated in the Workplace Adaptation Mentoring Programme.

Launched to promote formal employment, the Transition to Formality Programme (KIGEP) served 3,144 persons. After KIGEP ended, 97 percent of the businesses that participated in the programme continued to employ all or some of the Syrian employees.

Training programmes and workshops, attended by a total of 1,352 social partners, were held to allow the employees of stakeholder organizations to come together and share experience, exchange views on issues, develop coordination, and strengthen institutional capacities.

Among the events organised to raise awareness under the project were empathy seminars, meetings with members of the media, and trips with national and international members of the press.

Let’s Grow This Business Call

Under the project, IOM implemented an entrepreneurship support programme with the slogan “Let’s Grow This Business” for Turkish citizens and Syrians under temporary protection. Aiming to support SMEs in growing their businesses and access the global markets, the programme provided 99 enterprises with technical support, grants and mentoring for one year to access foreign markets.

Project Closing Event

The closing event of the Opportunities for Lives Project was held online by broad-based participation by representatives of the donor, implementing partners, stakeholders and beneficiaries who shared their assessments and views on the project.

Presenting his assessments, Project Coordinator Emre Dönmez said: “Through the Opportunities for Lives Project, we were able to test innovative solution models to create more and better jobs for Syrians under temporary protection and Turkish citizens who lived in cities that attracted intensive migration. We achieved significant, replicable, successful examples in refugee entrepreneurship, social adaptation at work, and formal employment. Despite the conclusion of this specific project, we as the ILO Office for Türkiye will continue to support migrants.” Click the link to view the project closing video.