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jeunes filles, classe, PUI
Since 2014, AFD has been helping the countries neighboring Syria and Iraq address the repercussions of the wars and the arrival of refugee populations. In 2017, the Sawa (“Together” in Arabic) Initiative mobilized EUR 86m of grants.

Syria and Iraq are the scene of a protracted crisis which has forced several million people to flee their homes. In neighboring countries, the settlement of refugees (3.6 million in Turkey, 1 million in Lebanon, 0.7 million in Jordan) puts essential public services under substantial pressure, which undermines social cohesion between local populations and refugees. 

In the context of the commitments of the London and Brussels conferences, the Sawa Initiative for the Middle East supports refugee populations from Syria and Iraq, but also the most vulnerable women and men in the host countries in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. Sawa supports national and local institutions, which are the first concerned by the management of the crisis.

Thanks to the Minka Peace and Resilience Fund and funds delegated by the European Commission (Madad Fund, a facility for refugees in Turkey), the Sawa Initiative makes it possible to operate through grants in middle-income countries, which are traditionally beneficiaries of loans. 

The philosophy

The Sawa Initiative finances development projects that:

  • Improve living conditions and access to essential services (water, healthcare...)
  • Ensure economic, social and political integration via education, vocational training and employment
  • Support the recovery of territories liberated from the Islamic State Group in Iraq (infrastructure, economic sectors, social ties).

The Sawa Initiative has been designed for five years (2017-2021) and aims in a crosscutting manner to:

  • Provide a medium and long-term response to the essential needs of populations
  • Safeguard social cohesion between refugees and host populations 
  • Strengthen civil society actors and public hosting policies 
  • Increase partnerships between local, French, European and international actors.

In line with the commitments made by France at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in 2016, Sawa supports projects that are coordinated with the humanitarian diplomatic and defence actions, to support France’s political vision for the crisis recovery. It promotes projects inspired by the research community, which can be adjusted during implementation and have strong monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

Find out more

The projects

In Iraq: 
In Jordan: 
In Lebanon:
EUR 86m
mobilized in grants in 2017