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Our New Report on the Livelihoods and Vulnerabilities of Refugees in Turkey during the Pandemic is Published

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© IFRC Türkiye.

September 2022

The report, “Evaluative Learning Study for Phase III of the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) Assistance for Refugees in Turkey”, prepared for The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), documents the livelihoods and vulnerabilities of refugees in Turkey and focuses on the period between October 2018 and December 2021.


The study relies on a rich set of qualitative and quantitative data sources, including i) a desk review of related sources, ii) quantitative data analysis using several microdata sets (DHS 2018 Syrian sample, IVS1, PDM7, 8, 10, 11 and 12), iii) qualitative data analysis of related FGDs collected by IFRC and TRC and iv) qualitative data analysis of web-scraped data from the public Facebook page of Kizilaykart. Different sources of data for the study overall cover the period between October 2018 and December 2021. The report is divided into three main parts taking into account the timeline with respect to the Pandemic. These parts are (i) Livelihoods and Coping Prior to the Pandemic, (ii) Livelihoods and Coping through the Pandemic and (iii) Emerging through the Pandemic and Changes in Income and Livelihoods. 

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The study overall points out the importance of being able to rely on labour income and the protective and complementary impact of the ESSN in decreasing the vulnerability of refugees in Turkey. On average, households with labour income as the household’s main source of income had lower levels of consumption coping and livelihood coping in the pre-COVID and COVID periods. Regarding the ESSN transfer, the results show that the Pandemic had a diverging impact on ESSN beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries in terms of vulnerabilities and the use of negative coping strategies in the earlier stages of the Pandemic possibly due to ESSN’s COVID top-up amounting to 1,000TL. Yet through time, in the later stages of the Pandemic, ESSN beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries ended up with similar vulnerability levels eventually.


Turkey has been going through a record high inflation phase that started by the end of 2021, and ESSN’s protective impact remains highly important in this context. While the COVID pandemic has not entirely ended, COVID-related negative impact on households has decreased considerably in the second half of 2021; however, now the deteriorating economic conditions are further expected to increase the vulnerability of refugees, both beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries. A challenge for the ESSN programme in 2022 will be to improve the coverage of the vulnerable non-beneficiary population while also increasing the per beneficiary transfer level in TL terms in order to remain relevant in the consumption basket of beneficiaries in the face of increasing inflation.


The report can be downloaded at the following link.