Conflict has rendered the vast majority of Syrian men, women, and children vulnerable and in dire need of protection programs.
Syrians rely heavily on aid to meet their basic needs amid the conflict. They also face critical issues that demand addressing: child labor and recruitment, domestic violence, exploitation, forced or early marriage, sexual violence and more. Including protection elements that address these needs and vulnerable individuals’ physical and psychosocial needs within aid programming is essential.
The most vulnerable populations in need of protection are women—who are more likely to undergo sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV)—and children, who are more likely to be targeted for physical or sexual abuse, kidnapping, or have their social and psychosocial needs neglected, as their young minds attempt to cope with the traumas of war.
SRD’s Protection Programs
While rehabilitating shelters for families in Northern Syria, our staff provided protection awareness trainings to recipient families. The trainings involved educating communities about human rights, hygiene and health promotion and the importance of maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships. SRD staff emphasized the need for gender equality, shared decision-making among men and women in families, early marriage prevention, family planning decisions and respect towards oneself and others.
In Idleb, SRD has established comprehensive protection services—including outreach, case management, psychosocial support services and referral pathways—that both incorporate the community and serve the community through the development and implementation of these services. Some of the activities include developing community protection boards that help identify cases of vulnerability, abuse and exploitation, all of which are referred to and assisted in existing facilities. Vulnerable community members who have received empowerment sessions—series of trainings that provide protection knowledge and skills, including training in midwifery, psychological first aid, psychosocial awareness raising and SGBV prevention—have included community women, some of whom have been SGBV survivors in need of psychosocial support.
Protection services have also been integrated into our health network through mobile clinics and reproductive health centers. The healthcare facilities provide protection assistance and psychosocial support, among other essential services, to vulnerable displaced persons in Northern Syria. The reproductive health center staff is trained to support and manage care for SGBV survivors in efforts to prevent further exploitation and help provide coping mechanisms and awareness for survivors and the community.