Cash for Work

Cash for work: employment drive gives people new opportunities

The challenge: lack of opportunities

Many people leave their home regions due to protracted crises and conflicts or because they do not see a viable future for themselves. More than 4.9 million Syrians have left their country in order to escape the civil war. Most of them are staying in neighbouring countries. However, there are not enough job and education opportunities there. Thus, many Syrians who had originally found refuge in one of these countries are now moving on to Europe.

Our response: creating quickly available income opportunities

In addition to meeting people's immediate basic needs, the German Development Ministry (BMZ) assists people in the regions concerned through programmes offering job and education opportunities and through infrastructure development in order to make it a viable option for people to stay or return and to give them a better future.

At the Syria conference on 4 February 2016, the German government announced that it would launch an employment drive for the Middle East entitled "Partnership for Prospects". This programme consists of cash-for-work activities to provide quickly available income opportunities for refugees and local people from host communities.

Cash-for-work measures include

In 2016, the BMZ provided 200 million euros to get this endeavour started.

Ten projects have been launched

By the end of 2016, employment opportunities had been created for more than 56,000 people. This means that the programme helped up to 280,000 people (workers and their family members) to provide for themselves until the crisis is over.

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, 6,000 Syrian refugees and needy Jordanians were hired in the period up to the end of 2016 to collect and recycle waste. This generates an additional income of about 800 euros per year and per household.

Simultaneously, recycling centres are being set up through which 560 permanent jobs will be created. Including family members, this project alone will reach 30,000 people in Jordan.

"It is fun to work in a team and clean things up."

Armani (last name withheld for security reasons) lives in the Jordanian Department of Wasatieh and has volunteered to join Syrian refugees in a waste collection campaign.

"I left my home country because life was no longer possible in Syria. My friends and I desperately want to work and make money for ourselves and our families. If I can't find work here, I have to go to a place where I can find work."

Mohamed (last name withheld for security reasons) escaped from Syria on his own four years ago and now lives in Wasatieh, Jordan, where he is taking part in the BMZ cash-for-work programme for waste disposal.

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. People may hold such a job for up to 50 days, generating an additional income of 1,100 euros per household. Germany is also providing social cash transfers for widows with children, people injured in the war and senior citizens who cannot do any work. In the period up to the end of 2016, we were able to reach 120,000 people in this way, giving them a better outlook for the future.

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 has funded 8,000 such posts for the 2016/17 school year. This translates into up to 3,000 euros in additional income that a household can generate during a half-year period.

Impact: living conditions have been improved

With the ongoing projects alone, we created more than 56,000 jobs in the period up to the end of 2016, improving the living conditions and prospects of up to 280,000 people.

Thanks to our programme, more than 300,000 children can go to school. More than 5,700 people have so far been able to improve their job prospects through training funded by the BMZ. More than 1,700 housing units were renovated and refugees were able to move in before the beginning of winter.

Through all these activities, we are bringing about tangible improvements in people's living conditions in the refugee areas, easing the burden on host towns and communities and reducing tensions.

People's increased purchasing power and the improved infrastructure are also strengthening the local economy. Thus, the Partnership for Prospects is in effect a local economic development programme.