Refugees in Turkey: Comprehensive Vulnerability Monitoring Exercise (Round 3) (May 2019)


The conflict in Syria has caused massive displacement of people with an estimated 5.6 million Syrians having fled the country since 2011. Turkey hosts the largest refugee population in the world: around 3.6 million Syrian refugees have been registered as of 27 December 20182 , in addition to 170,000 Afghans, 142,000 Iraqis and 56,400 from Iran, Somali and other nationalities3 ; a total of 4 million registered refugees. While population figures continue to increase incrementally, 2018 figures are used here to align with the period of data collection.

The Comprehensive Vulnerability Monitoring Exercise 3 (CVME3) falls within the scope of the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN).

The ESSN is a multi-purpose cash transfer programme aiming to support vulnerable refugees in Turkey meet their basic needs4 . The ESSN program was launched across Turkey in November 2016. It provides unrestricted, unconditional cash assistance to people living under international or temporary protection in Turkey. The ESSN cash assistance aims to allow beneficiaries to meet their basic needs. By May 2019, the ESSN was providing monthly assistance to over 1.6 million people.

The ESSN is funded by the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). The program is implemented through a partnership between the Ministry of Family Labour and Social Services (MoFLSS), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC), as a complementary program to the national social assistance scheme for Turkish citizens.

The CVME3 is the first vulnerability study representative of refugees across Turkey. The main objective of the CVME3 is to assess the socioeconomic vulnerability of the refugee population in Turkey and estimate the refugees’ needs. This report fills an important gap in information, quantifying needs across many sectors, including providing some detail on the needs of the unregistered population/irregular migrants. The CVME3 also highlights opportunities and challenges associated with the design of the ESSN programme and proposes a set of actions that can improve the programme. This report provides information which can be used by the ESSN stakeholders and many other humanitarian and development actors across Turkey.

Considering the scale of the refugee population in Turkey and the size of the ESSN, the CVME is a vital tool for programme accountability and performance, providing important evidence around refugee needs. CVME3 uses an improved sample size and dataset, drawing on extensive dialogue and interviews with beneficiaries of the ESSN programme as well as those deemed ineligible and those who have not applied (non-applicant). The combined sample is representative of all refugees living in Turkey, regardless of registration or application status. This information gathering aims to understand the socioeconomic vulnerability across the refugee population, not only of ESSN applicants.

The previous CVMEs (1 and 2) have confirmed the relevance of the ESSN and informed programmatic adjustments. Using CVME data in conjunction with other monitoring information, ESSN organisations have:

Increased outreach to refugees aiming to benefit from the ESSN and assisted them to overcome the prerequisites to application (identity registration, address registration, etc.).

Advocated for solutions enabling refugees living in informal housing and seasonal migrants to acquire formal address registration and consequently apply to the ESSN.

Increased protection referrals, ensuring that households/individuals in need of services outside the ESSN (such as education, healthcare or legal services) are referred to the appropriate service providers.

Source: World Food Programme