4 April Apr 2017 1740 04 April 2017

Working for a better present and future in the Middle East Region

The daily AVSI’s experience of meeting more than 15.000 families involved in different projects is offering a clear picture of the challenges to tackle and the opportunity to share some concrete proposals. Our experience to Brussels on April 4th and 5th at the conference on Syria

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The challenges: reaffirming the great achievements of the London Conference, the No lost generation, the RACE 2 strategy and the Jordan Compact on expanding the access to education and livelihood opportunities for people in need, substantial challenges remain and need to be addressed:

1. Limited livelihood initiatives are becoming the major barrier on access to education for the remaining out-of-school children.The several actions taken by host countries and international community to increase education opportunities and minimize protection, legal and learning obstacles have given clear results (opening of second shift schools, language activities, NFE frameworks, retention programs etc…). Nevertheless, many children will stay out of any education or involved in different forms of child labour if the livelihood conditions of the parents/tutors will not change.

2. The return of refugees to some safe zones inside Syria is a reality. If the international community cannot encourage it because the situation is still critical and unstable, the question on what we can do for the people that decide to come back to their homes remains open.

3. Data reliability is crucial to ensure prioritization and correct use of the available resources. Regional and national figures are often not relevant because organizations are not reporting data following the appropriate pathways even if the process to standardize and structure data collection and monitoring tools at governmental/ministerial level is ongoing in all countries.

Our proposals:

• Labour intensive initiatives/cash for work opportunities must be recognized as win-win solutions where workers (from refugee or host community) will benefit from dignified jobs, money to maintain their families and skills for their life. Hosting communities will have better services, rehabilitated spaces and more income. The social cohesion improves and the society in itself.

• Access to vocational opportunities for youth in hosting countries needs to be more analyzed, structured and tackled. Specialized workers are useful now to build resilience and increasing employment opportunities in the host countries and upon return to rebuild Syria.

• It is time to discuss the recognition of the levels/certificates acquired during the transitory period in the host countries. If there is a common understanding of the necessity and rationale of the host countries to maintain and teach national curricula to refugee children, we think that concrete actions are necessary in order to prepare clear pathways.

• The conference must strongly reaffirm the need for every organization to report any project/activity to the appropriate institution in the