Three Million Trees – Refugee Employment Initiative in Turkey

CLIENT: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
PROJECT DURATION: 04.02.2017 – 07.08.2017
OVERALL PROJECT VALUE:  2,928,054.25 €   


More than 4.8 million Syrians have fled from their home countries due to the war - most of them to the neighboring countries, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

Syrians have little or no money when they come to Turkey, so they need to find a source of income to make a living. A number of arrangements were made in the employment law to improve the current situation in the economy and to facilitate the work of registered refugees. Current Turkish labour laws make it very difficult for refugees to obtain work permits and seek employment in the formal economy. Often they find themselves working below minimum wage in the grey economy.

Against this background the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supports the refugees in the region through job opportunities and income. The Federal Government has therefore initiated a job campaign for the region which started with the Syria conference on 4 February 2016. The “cash-for-work activities” include registered and paid employment measures that can achieve a fast income for refugees and residents of the host communities.


The Turkish government has declared that they intend to plant two trees for each felled tree. Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications’ Ahmet Arslan’, said that the number of trees to be planted is 9 million for the area of both projects ‘3rd airport project and 3rd bridge project’.

The focus of the project lies on two main areas:

1. to eliminate the environmental damage occurred during the construction of the airport and bridge in Istanbul, by replanting trees. This is the duty of the participants in this measure.

2. to allow around 80 Turkish workers and 320 Syrians to generate a monthly income that corresponds to the local minimum wage through registered employment. Refugees can start work for this project immediately after a short training and they will support the reforestation of the mentioned areas.

Type of Services Provided

  • Project management and financial administration
  • Coordination with all stakeholders and project partners
  • M&E and reporting to client
  • Awareness raising and focus group meetings
  • Approximately 4 Mio trees have been planted in the course of the project.
  • Conduction of Orientation Training (expectation, rules, etc.): The project started with orientation training in the city halls (Sarıyer Belediyesi Yaşar Kemal Kültür Merkezi) provided by the municipalities. The orientation program included a proper introduction to the project (project partners, project goal, project duration, etc.), what’s expected and where they would fit in to the overall goals.
  • Conduction of Job Safety Training: Team leaders provided a Job Safety Training to all beneficiaries working on the workplaces related to gardening and the usage of tools and PPE (personal protective equipment).

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