With over 6.5 million people displaced within Syria, and over 5.6 million who have fled to other countries, the outlook for recovery now extends beyond a decade. NEF believes that now is the time to aid in the recovery and rebuilding of Syria’s agricultural and trade operations by addressing major issues that are currently confronting farmers, processors, and other value chains actors.
NEF’s current work in Syria builds upon NEF’s long commitment to Syria’s development, which dates back to its earliest days when NEF helped to resettle and provide relief to at least a million Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek refugees and orphans after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. As the humanitarian crisis abated, NEF continued to work in Syria for many decades to follow, pioneering innovative economic and social development activities in agriculture, vocational training, and youth development.
Now, for the first time since 2009, NEF has resumed work in Syria with a focus on advancing livelihoods in the agricultural sector.
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Revolving Credit Fund
Credit-ready entrepreneurs in Syria have little or no access to appropriate loan products. Physical, social, and economic vulnerabilities create insurmountable barriers to access loan products when they do exist.
NEF is piloting a community-based revolving credit fund in Northeast Syria to provide entrepreneurs with access to financial and non-financial services to facilitate growth and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem. In the first phase of the project, nearly 500 entrepreneurs will gain access to capital and training, to improve their businesses and livelihoods.
Advancing Livelihoods through Support to Agricultural Markets
The humanitarian crisis in Syria continues to exact a toll on food security, livelihoods, and economic resilience. An estimated 69% of Syrians are living in extreme poverty, supporting their families on less than 2 USD per day. Moreover, 7 million Syrians are food insecure and up to 9 million are in need of food, agriculture, and livelihoods assistance. While the agriculture sector has experienced huge losses, it remains one of the most significant sectors in the Syrian war-time economy.
NEF is facilitating economic recovery by using a value chain approach to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and food processors in order to enhance gender inclusion and to support resiliency and food security for some of the most vulnerable populations. Another component of this program will be to establish Siraj Centers to offer technical agribusiness assistance and introduce improved technologies to producer and processor groups to improve the quality and quantity of their production.