Advocacy Update 1: FIC’s Report and Syrian-led Solutions

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Syria Relief and Development (SRD) recently launched its five advocacy focuses for 2015: 1) targeted medical assistance to vulnerable groups 2) improved humanitarian access 3) investment in Syrian-led solutions 4) support to neighboring states and 5) educational initiatives to support schooling for Syrian children.

Each month we gather information from news articles, research publications, our field-staff, and other sources as part of an effort to stay fully informed on the latest developments as they pertain to these focuses. These updates are an opportunity to share this information with you.

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This month, SRD reiterates its call for investment in Syrian-led solutions by bringing attention to the Feinstein International Center’s (FIC) recent report: “Breaking the Hourglass: Partnerships in Remote Management Settings—The Cases of Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan” (http://fic.tufts.edu/assets/Breaking-the-Hourglass_Syria_Iraqi-Kurdistan.pdf). This report highlights how critical it is for the international aid community to partner with Syrian organizations (both local and internationally-led).

FIC refers to Syria as a “remote management setting” given the extent to which security concerns have prevented international non-governmental organizations (iNGOs) from directly implementing programs on the ground with their own staff. In this context, iNGO partnerships with local Syrian humanitarian organizations represent a critical pathway for the international aid community to reach suffering populations. In addition to the aid access that Syrian organizations possess, the report notes that:

• Local Syrian actors have personal ties to the beneficiaries they assist and thus respond with a unique level of commitment
• Local Syrian actors are the long-term solution to Syria’s crisis as their work will continue after INGOs and international donors someday withdraw
• iNGO partnerships with local Syrian actors build capacity via the transfer of expertise, experience, and legitimacy

SRD is a Syrian diaspora-led organization that operates as a local actor via its extensive network inside Syria through its established programs and and strong ties to the communities it assists. SRD supports local economies by hiring Syrians and procuring from Syrian businesses. Within the framework of SRD’s emergency response, we remember Syria’s future and the challenges that lie ahead. Our call for increased support of Syrian-led solutions stems from the observation that capacitating Syrians to meet needs on the ground now is an investment that will yield high returns in the future.