In January, the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) assistance reached over 120,000 vulnerable refugees across Turkey. In total, 153,543 family applications (750,000 people) have been received and are being assessed. The innovative multi-purpose cash ESSN assistance scheme is funded by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) and implemented by WFP, the Ministry of Family and Social Policies (MoFSP) and the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC).
In addition, WFP and TRC continued to assist 216,641 refugees as they transition to the ESSN through application and 143,168 Syrian refugees living in camps.
The nationwide ESSN programme continued in full coordination and partnership with the Ministry of Family and Social Policies (MoFSP) and TRC. In total, WFP field staff have monitored the application process in 276 Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundation (SASF) offices and 14 Service Centre (SCs) where ESSN applications are taken, in 73 provinces out of 81 covering 278 districts.
WFP field teams also monitored beneficiaries while withdrawing their entitlements in cash from the ATM machines, and assisted with translation to facilitate banking transactions where ATMs lacked Arabic interface.
In each location visited, WFP monitoring teams sensitised applicants and staff taking applications about ESSN procedures, providing explanations, distributing brochures and referring people to the free TRC hotline. WFP in coordination with TRC and MoFSP undertook two trainings in Istanbul of 70 staff of SASF. The purpose of the training was to provide guidance, share best practices and lessons learnt and to ensure more consistent practices are undertaken across the SASF offices.
WFP conducted a small post distribution monitoring pilot (face-to-face) covering the first ESSN beneficiaries from Ankara and Sivas who received assistance in December.
In an unprecedented approach, a joint WFP-TRC Management Cell has been set up to optimise collaboration on project management and foster exchange of knowledge. Various functions have been identified and staffed by both organisations. The cell will expedite troubleshooting and decision making related to issues identified during implementation.
WFP and TRC are working at the central and field levels in collaboration with Turkish authorities, including the Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Family and Social Policies, Social Solidarity and Assistance Foundations, the Directorate General of Population and Citizenship and Governor’s offices. WFP also collaborates closely with UN agencies, NGOs and the donor community. An ESSN Task Force co-chaired by WFP and TRC has been set up to ensure coordination with sister UN agencies and NGOs.
Story worth telling
On January 11, WFP hosted a press briefing in Ankara attended by Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, the EU’s Head of Delegation, President of AFAD and Heads of TRC and WFP among other government and partner representatives in addition to refugee families benefitting from ESSN assistance. The event attracted extensive media coverage highlighting the impact and partnership aspect of the EU-funded cash programme. Watch the assisted family life conditions here.
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