Strengthening the role of Syrian civil society is a primary concern for humanitarian organisations working in and around Syria. Over the course of two days on 6th & 7th December 2015, The Humanitarian Forum held a consultative conference with INGOs and NGOs in these regions to discuss education, livelihood and coordination specifically. These elements of humanitarian responses and recovery lead to longer term stability and the development of civil society. This in turn encourages lasting improvements in the lives of Syrian refugees and internally displaced people.

We were able to provide a forum for over 70 organisations to have frank, transparent dialogue and allow the exchange of experiences and coordination of future programs. Key to this were discussions identifying the successes or programmes that have been in place of the last five years.

Recommendations: Activating and engaging civil society organisations

The recommendations proposed by participants reflect an intention to encourage Syrian NGOs to collectively define their complementary roles in order to:

  • Improve skills of NGOS staff and volunteers engaged in the provision of education and livelihood programming.
  •  Explore strategic approaches and synergy between education and livelihood sectors.
  • Support NGOs to provide quality service that preserves the fabric, cultural and heritage identity of Syrian society in the middle of this humanitarian crisis. This will lead to:
    • Increased trust in Syrian NGOs.
    • Enhanced funding opportunities.
    • Increased outreach to communities in need.
    • Improved effectiveness within the most disadvantaged communities.
    • Support of new community leaders

Click here for the ‘Strengthening the Role of Syrian Civil Society in the context of Education and Livelihood Sectors’  report.
[For more background on Syrian civil society in the pre-war years, see Activism in Difficult Times. ]

Following this conference, The Humanitarian Forum organised another meeting of INGOs and NGOs working in and around Syria ahead of the Syria Pledging Conference in February 2016. Our meeting took place on 2nd February 2016, please click here for details.