Whole of Syria Protection Response: Who We Are - March 2017

News and Press Release
Originally published


Across Syria, the Protection Sector is working to improve the protection context of millions of people who face protection threats. In 2017, the protection sector aims to provide 9.7 million services to people all across Syria affected by the conflict. The protection sector welcomes new partners and actors who support programming in Syria to help those in need. The following document introduces briefly who we are and key contacts.

The Whole of Syria response has three main operational response centres, in Amman, Damascus and Gaziantep. Damascus operations support five sub-national response centres. Between these hubs, the specialist areas of protection including child protection, GBV and Mine Action provide assistance to 227 sub-districts in Syria.

The protection sector would welcome you to reach out to sector and hub coordinators to engage in coordination, operational and training support. The sector colleagues are also available to members and external actors to provide briefings, data analysis and visualisation, and formal and informal exchange on the protection response and related advocacy. The Whole of Syria protection sector can be contacted through Jason Hepps ( and Capucine Maus de Rolley (

Whole of Syria Response Hubs

Protection Working Group (PWG) – Amman, Jordan

The Jordan Hub, Protection Working group comprises General Protection, Child Protection, GBV and Mine Action. There are currently 27 active members that meet on a monthly basis alternating between coordination and technical thematic discussions. Currently the WG is in the process setting priorities for the creation of technical working groups (TWiGs) to further the guidance and support to members endeavouring to undertake the delivery of increasingly specialized protection interventions. TWiGs focus on topics such as data sharing and protection, AAP, case management, service mapping and referral pathways, and third party monitoring of protection interventions. A comprehensive service mapping data collection exercise has been completed and the Protection Sector is working closely with the Health Sector to map all protection and related health services to lay the groundwork for a referral pathway. The PWG coordinators are active members of the Inter Sector Working Group, increasing potential for inter-sectoral programming and considerations of protection across other sectors. The PWG coordinators are available to all sectors for consultation on sector-specific protection risk analyses and provision of training tools on protection mainstreaming. For further information or support, the group is led by UNHCR (Julie Steiger), co-Led by IRC (Dennis Ardis) and supported with information management by Matthew Richard and can be reached through the following emails:;; GBV is led by Jennifer Miquel (, Child Protection is led by Susan Andrew ( and Mine Action is led by Matthew Williams (

Protection and Community Services Sector (PCSS) – Damascus, Syria

The Protection and Community Services Sector (PCSS) gathers protection and community services actors inside Syria to ensure an effective response to the protection needs of affected population, by coordinating coverage, avoiding duplication, sharing best practices and developing strategies and joint approaches to address protection challenges. The Sector provides advice to the HC and the HCT on protection advocacy and interventions, and assists other Sectors to mainstream protection principles and standards in their humanitarian response. The PCSS is led by UNHCR and has 21 members who meet on a monthly basis in the Damascus-based Protection Sector Working Group (WG). Members include UN agencies, NNGOs and INGOs. The sector has two AoRs of expertise: Child Protection (CP), led by UNICEF with 17 members, and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) led by UNFPA with 24 members. Several members are active in all AoRs of the Sector. During the course of 2016 and in 2017, the sector is organising its work also at sub-national level, with Protection and CP operational WGs in major areas of operation covered by the Syria hub (Aleppo, Homs, Tartous, Qamishly, Sweida).

During the course of 2016, based on the reports of some 50 Sector partners, the Protection Sector and its AoRs, managed to provide 5,9 million protection services to beneficiaries inside Syria, covering 172 out of sub-272 districts. 36% were General Protection services carried out largely through 74 Community Centres (including awareness raising and capacity building for authorities and partners on protection and legal topics; legal assistance, specifically on civil documentation; material and social assistance for persons with specific needs); 55% were Child Protection services including risk awareness on explosive hazards (31%) (as well as awareness raising and capacity building on Child rights; child protection and psychosocial support; specialised child protection services and case management); 9% were services to prevent and respond to GBV (including awareness raising, case management and referral, comprehensive support to GBV survivors, and capacity building).

In 2017, the Sector intends to consolidate the achievements of the past year, with a geographical expansion of services where gaps are identified, and with increased mobile outreach capacity to respond more effectively to sudden emergencies. The Sector also intends to strengthen standard-setting, harmonisation of practices and procedures, including mapping of services and referrals. Legal assistance focused on civil documentation will remain essential and will need to expand to the field of House Land and Property. Capacity building for authorities, sector partners/protection service providers and humanitarian partners will remain a core engagement. The Sector will retain its role in advocating that the principle of centrality of protection remains a reference for the HCT and humanitarian actors in Syria.

For further information, or support, the sector is coordinated by Elisabetta Brumat who can be reached at The Child Protection AoR is coordinated by Bee Khan ( and Widad Babikir ( coordinates the GBV AoR (

Syria Protection Cluster (Turkey) – Gaziantep, Turkey

The Syria Protection Cluster (Turkey) is made up of the Protection Cluster as well as three Sub-Clusters: Child Protection, GBV and Mine Action. 78 organizations participate in the Cluster and Sub-Clusters: 29 international NGOs, 38 Syrian NGOs, five UN agencies and six coordination bodies. The Cluster meets twice a month, with the Sub-Clusters meeting once a month.

The Gaziantep cluster supports a protection monitoring task force which focuses on harmonizing tools and standards for protection monitoring in support of regular monitoring undertaken by Cluster partners in various locations. The Protection Cluster convenes ad-hoc operational working groups with a geographic focus in order to facilitate sub-national coordination and response. Presently there are two operational working groups meeting regularly: one covering former ISIS-held areas and another focusing on northwest Syria. In 2017, there are work-streams on housing, land and property (HLP) and civil documentation. In addition, the Child Protection Sub-Cluster supports two technical working groups on unaccompanied and separated children, children associated with armed forces or armed group (CAAFAG), and has recently created strategic advisory group for the sub-cluster (SAG).

In 2016, the Protection Cluster and Sub-Clusters provided 821,668 protection services in 63 sub-districts. Activities to support mental health/psychosocial support were the largest, followed by distribution of in-kind materials, psychological first aid and face-to-face information sessions on risk awareness. In 2017, the Cluster plans to expand community-based protection interventions, protection monitoring, enhance coordination and the knowledge base on HLP and civil documentation, and explore further activities related to cash in protection and conflict resolution. The Cluster will continue to enhance its emergency response minimum package, which was applied during the recent evacuation of East Aleppo city.

In 2017, Cluster and its sub-clusters will continue its focus on protection capacity development, expanding current initiatives targeting humanitarian workers and will also roll-out trainings targeting local authorities. In 2016, Protection Cluster partners trained humanitarian workers and community leaders (total of 2,789 people) on protection mainstreaming, community-based protection approaches and IDP guiding principles. The GBV Sub-Cluster’s capacity building initiative includes a training of trainers, learning sessions, and ongoing coaching as well as technical support, involving 13 members of the AOR.

The Cluster continues to support the HLG and ICCG through protection advice and in 2017, will work with these bodies to identify areas for collaboration and support on the following topics: protection mainstreaming, AAP, protection advocacy and protection monitoring.

For further information, please contact the Protection Cluster Lead, Sarah Khan (UNHCR) and Co-Lead, Victoria Shepard (IRC) at and The Child Protection Sub-Cluster is led by Sam Sesay (UNICEF) and Abdikadir Abdi (World Vision International) The GBV Sub-Cluster is led by Margherita Maglietti (UNFPA) and Pamela Di Camillo (Global Communities), and the Mine Action Sub-Cluster is led by Bríd Sheehan (UNMAS)

Whole of Syria Areas of Responsibility (Technical Expertise)

Child Protection Area of Responsibility (AOR)

There are over 60 child protection organisations, including UN, INGO, national NGOs and government departments operating in 13 governorates. The Child Protection Area of Responsibility works to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence against children. As of December 2016, child protection interventions were available in 211 sub-districts and during 2016 reached nearly 660,000 children with psychosocial support and child protection group programmes, almost one million individuals with awareness raising initiatives on child protection issues, and trained 12,500 actors on the foundations of child protection, community-based child protection approaches and specialised service interventions. The Child Protection AOR’s work is in line with the No Lost Generation strategic framework and is driven by two operational priorities: i) strengthening the quality of community-based child protection interventions and (ii) expanding the availability of quality specialised child protection services, including case management. This includes systematising efforts to build a sustainable child protection workforce as a way to scale up reach. Advocacy and evidence generation on child protection concerns underpin these priorities.

Contacts for the AOR are: Turkey Child Protection Coordinators: Sam Sesay ( and Abdikadir Dakane Abdi ( Syria Child Protection Coordinator: Bee Khan (; Jordan and WOS Child Protection Coordinator: Susan Andrew (; WOS Child Protection Information Management Specialist: Muthu Kannusamy (

GBV Area of Responsibility (AOR)

There are 82 organizations responding to GBV needs in Syria: 46 in Gaziantep, 12 in Amman, and 24 in Damascus. As of December 2016, GBV response and prevention services were available in 121 sub-districts with 54,215 beneficiaries having accessed specialised GBV services, 399,002 beneficiaries reached by prevention activities, and 8,988 humanitarian actors were trained on GBV programming and GBV mainstreaming. The number of mobile teams, community centres and women and girls safe spaces increased, with 48,000 women and girls access women and girl safe spaces and 30,000 women and girls participated in empowerment initiatives such as life skills training, livelihood and economic programs. Endorsed SOPs and CMR protocol are now available from Turkey and Damascus. Specific localized referral pathways exist in 6 sub-districts and in 8 governorates.

Contact Information:

Gaziantep GBV Coordinators: Margherita Maglietti (UNFPA); Pamela Di Camello (Global Communities) ; Damascus GBV Coordinators: Widad Babikir (; WOS GBV Coordinator and Amman Hub coordinator: Jennifer Miquel (UNFPA), Rebecca Sonntag (UNFPA)

Mine Action AoR

The overall objective of the Mine Action sector is to reduce the impact of explosive hazards through explosive hazard survey and removal, risk education, victim assistance activities, and advocacy on the elimination of the use of explosive weapons in civilian areas and the use of cluster munitions. UNMAS coordinates the activities of the 24 international and Syrian organisations that make up the Mine Action Sub Cluster under a ‘Whole of Syria’ approach.

Risk education is underway across the country through mine action partners in communities as well as in schools run by the Ministry of Education. Contamination Impact Survey (CIS) (the first step in the process through which explosive hazards and casualties are recorded) is currently conducted in Idleb, Aleppo, Rural Damascus, Dar’a and Hassakeh. The removal of explosive hazards is conducted in Idleb, Hama, and Hassakeh. The absence of qualified humanitarian mine action operators within Syria along with the challenges inherent in the remote management of mine action activities dictates that the sector must take a phased approach and build up its capacity slowly and safely. In 2016, the sector enabled other humanitarian actors to respond safely by removing 2,500 improvised landmines and over 3,300 items of unexploded ordnance including cluster munitions.

Contact Information

For further information, contact WoS coordinator Bríd Sheehan ( and Amman hub coordinator Matthew Williams (