Within the framework of IB’s project “3 Million Syrians- 3 Million Trees” reforestation activities are currently carried out by Syrian refugees in Gaziantep, the city at the Syrian-Turkish border that shelters one of the largest communities of Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The IB - together with its local partners IBETH and Darülacze foundation - implements this important project (budget 6 Mio EUR) which was commissioned by GIZ as part of the “cash-for-work activities” by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The project started in Istanbul in February 2017 (phase 1) and will end in Gaziantep (phase 2) in May 2018.
The project itself is unique as it combines social and ecological objectives. Through the reforestation activities a sustainable improvement of the soil and a protection against erosion damage is ensured whereas at the same time the project strengthens the social recognition of the refugees in their respective Turkish host communities. Istanbul and Gaziantep have been selected for the project as they face huge challenges by migration while they can provide appropriate areas for tree plantation.
800 Syrian refugees and 200 Turkish workers are currently registered and temporarily employed with a salary corresponding to the local minimum wage, among them 20% female beneficiaries. The second phase of the project addresses also language problems by adding the value of two-hours daily Turkish language lessons for the Syrian employees. Aside from all other outcomes, this will enhance the integration of Syrian refugees into the Turkish society and enable them to better access the Turkish labor market.