Turkey: providing cash assistance to over 1.8 million refugees through EU funding
Turkey is home to the largest refugee population in the world, hosting more than 4 million refugees, many of them from Syria, fleeing a nine-year conflict. Thanks to European Union funding and a partnership between the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Turkish Red Crescent Society, over 1.8 million refugees living in Turkey are receiving humanitarian support through cash assistance.
4 million people
are registered as refugees
3.6 million Syrian refugees
are living in Turkey
Over 98% refugees
are living outside of camps
Funded by the European Union and its Member States under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) programme provides monthly cash assistance via debit cards to the most vulnerable refugees in Turkey.
The ESSN is providing cash assistance to vulnerable refugee families living in Turkey. Every month, each family member receives 120 Turkish Lira (approximately 13 euros), enabling them to decide for themselves how to cover essential needs like rent, transport, bills, food and medicine. The programme offers additional quarterly top-ups based on family size, with special payments to families with members who require specialized care.
The ESSN is the largest humanitarian programme in the history of the EU and the largest programme ever implemented by the IFRC.
97% of all families
receiving ESSN support have managed to maintain an adequately nutritious and diverse diet
50% more families
said they were able to cover their basic needs (such as rent, utilities and food)
in the number of children working to support their families financially – allowing them to go to school
“We lost everything during the war. We came to Turkey and started from zero. The assistance has been crucial for us to pay the rent and bills. Turkish Red Crescent changed our life. I attended courses, became more active, I feel powerful.”
– Kevser took shelter in Turkey with her family to avoid the war in Syria.
The IFRC has been leading large-scale cash programmes for decades in response to a broad spectrum of disasters around the globe. Cash is a very effective, efficient and transparent way to provide humanitarian assistance to those most vulnerable. Providing cash can help humanitarian aid go even further to help more people in need.
Cash gives families the freedom, dignity and independence to take control of their own lives and allows them to engage with and contribute to the communities that are hosting them. Many refugees are unable to reach basic goods and services due to years-long displacement and limited access to the job market. Having access to a fixed amount of money every month gives them the ability to choose and the independence they need to address their families’ needs.
Cash support can have longer-lasting positive impacts than other kinds of aid as it takes into consideration the conditions and needs specific to each person, community and emergency.
This web page covers humanitarian aid activities implemented with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of the European Union, and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.