DEMAC Workshop – Humanitarian Aid and the role of the Syrian diaspora

08/23/2016

Syrians living abroad engage relentlessly and in multiple ways in relief activities to ease the need of their compatriots in Syria and its neighboring states and to counter the effects of the humanitarian crisis. They send remittances and aid, build orphanages, schools and hospitals, provide scholarships for pupils and students and carry out educational measures. Most of the humanitarian engagement of the Syrian diaspora works in parallel to the humanitarian aid delivered through the institutional humanitarian system (i.e. UN organizations and international non-governmental organizations) to the Syrian population.

The Berghof Foundation organized a two-day workshop for representatives of Syrian diaspora organizations based in Germany taking place in Berlin on 6th and 7th August. The main focus of the workshop was to discuss the overarching question of how the coordination between the diaspora and local and international humanitarian actors could be improved in order to enhance the effectiveness of humanitarian delivery for the benefit of the affected population in Syria. The workshop provided space to learn and discuss about the functioning of the international humanitarian system, the humanitarian principles and possible dilemmas of implementing them, as well as the opportunities and challenges for local partnerships. Lastly, the participants talked about the potential role the diaspora could take in the humanitarian system, in Syria's neighboring states, as bridge builders between various actors and in supporting measures towards societal reconciliation.

The event was part of a workshop series of the "Diaspora Emergency Action and Coordinations" initiative (DEMAC), which supports humanitarian diaspora organizations in capacity building and coordination with the international humanitarian system.