German activities

Cash for work: Job campaign gives people new opportunities

A cash for work programme is used to improve the water supply in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.

Many people leave their home regions due to protracted crises and conflicts or because they do not see a viable future for themselves. This particularly applies to the countries neighbouring Syria. In these countries, there is now a great shortage of job and education opportunities. Some Syrians who had originally found refuge in one of these countries are now moving on to Europe, hoping that opportunities will be better there.

As many as 5.5 million Syrians have left their country in order to escape the war. Most of them are staying in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. In Iraq, some three million people have been internally displaced by the attacks carried out by the terrorist organisation calling itself Islamic State (as at June 2017).

In response to this situation, the BMZ is focusing on the following key tasks in order to make it a viable option for people to stay or return and build a better future for themselves:

  • Supporting refugees directly, reducing acute causes of displacement, strengthening resilience
  • Easing people's immediate living situation by providing education for children, training for young people and temporary work for adults
  • Improving living conditions in a sustainable way via infrastructure development and by promoting the private sector and good governance

Creating quickly available income opportunities

­Beyond meeting the immediate basic needs of refugees (food, water), Germany is helping them by creating employment and income opportunities. To that end, the German government announced at the Syria conference in February 2016 that it would launch an employment drive for the Middle East entitled "Partnership for Prospects". This programme consists of cash-for-work activities to give refugees and local people from host communities quickly available income opportunities.

Cash-for-work measures include

  • local services (simple tasks like collecting waste),
  • labour-intensive infrastructure projects (building homes, schools and roads),
  • the financing of wages (additional teachers and classroom assistants as well as health personnel), and
  • in the long run, also rebuilding liberated areas by repairing municipal infrastructure (buildings and roads).

The employment programme continues

In 2016, the BMZ provided 200 million euros in funding for the cash-for-work activities. By the end of 2016, it had created some 61,000 jobs. This means that, in 2016, the programme helped about 300,000 people (workers and their family members) to provide for themselves while the crisis continued.

Another 230 million euros has been made available for 2017. In the course of this year, the BMZ wants to use this funding to provide employment for at least 65,000 people while simultaneously creating lasting impact in terms of boosting education and training and developing infrastructure. Some 180 million euros has already been set aside for the following years.

Workers receive the local minimum wage, so that they can pay for rent, health care and clothing. In order to foster social peace, all activities are open to both refugees and the inhabitants of host communities.

Spotlight on Jordan: Collecting and recycling waste

In many communities in northern Jordan, the local population has doubled since the beginning of the Syrian crisis. Municipalities are facing major challenges. Waste management in particular is a great problem. Through a cash-for-work project which was financed by the BMZ, 9,000 Syrian refugees and Jordanians were hired in the period up to the end of 2016 to collect and recycle waste. In the period up to mid-2017, jobs were provided again for 9,000 people.

Simultaneously, recycling centres are being set up, creating permanent jobs. Including family members, this BMZ project alone is helping more than 45,000 people in Jordan.

Spotlight on Iraq: Rebuilding municipal infrastructure

In the period up to the end of 2016, some 24,000 people in northern Iraq found a job in the field of municipal infrastructure rehabilitation. In regions where many people displaced by the activities of the so-called "Islamic State" have settled, they repair roofs and patch roads, for example.

By the end of 2016, these activities had provided better opportunities for a total of 120,000 people. In 2017, the programme will be expanded to further regions of Iraq.

Spotlight on Turkey: Employing additional teachers

In order to be able to teach as many Syrian children as possible in Turkish refugee camps and host communities, additional teachers and classroom assistants are needed. The BMZ cash-for-work programme created 8,000 such posts for the 2016/17 school year, and by mid-2017 the number of posts under the programme had risen to 12,000, providing lessons for 240,000 children.


The projects under the Partnership for Prospects programme provided jobs and income for more than 61,000 people in the period up to the end of 2016. In the period up to mid-2017, jobs were provided again for about 50,000 people. Thanks to additional teaching posts, more than 300,000 refugee children can go to school. More than 1,700 housing units were renovated before the beginning of winter. They are currently available for refugees rent-free.

All these activities are making tangible improvements in people's living conditions in the host areas, easing the burden on host towns and communities and reducing tensions.

The increased purchasing power of people who have an income and the improved infrastructure are also strengthening the local economy. Thus, the Partnership for Prospects is in effect a local economic development programme.

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