Effective Early Recovery and Resilience Programming in Syria: Insights from Brussels VII Conference Side Event

Hand in Hand for Aid and Development (HiHFAD) represented by its esteemed country director Mr. Fadi Al-Dairi, had the privilege of attending an official side event to the Brussels VII Conference titled “Achieving Effective Early Recovery and Resilience Programming in Syria.” The event, organized by The Syria Resilience Initiative (SRI) and the United Kingdom’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), brought together key stakeholders and experts to discuss the pressing need for early recovery and resilience programming in Syria. While the significant insights has been shared by Mr. Al-Dairi, the challenges faced in implementing such programmes while shedding light on the importance of sustained commitment to the Syrian people also highlighted.

One of the challenges faced in promoting early recovery efforts in Syria is the perception that supporting local actors on the ground implies support for the Syrian regime. However, it is important to recognize that different authorities control various regions within Syria, making it crucial to consider the diverse context. Additionally, political challenges raised by donors can hinder service provision in early recovery. For instance, despite securing funding for rehabilitating conflict-affected schools, restrictions may only allow the rehabilitation of schools impacted by earthquake, which fails to address the immediate educational needs resulting from conflict. Similarly, addressing issues like early marriage and gender-based violence requires comprehensive approaches that incorporate medical services. Nevertheless, the health sector in Syria faces significant gaps in terms of qualified medical professionals and resources, making long-term programming essential to train nurses and meet the demand for medical services.

These issues cannot be effectively tackled on a short-term basis alone; they require a comprehensive approach that includes medical services to respond to GBV cases. However, the health sector itself is plagued with immense gaps. Syria has not seen the addition of new doctors for a decade or more, there is a shortage of qualified doctors, nurses, and the existing medical professionals are severely overburdened. To effectively combat early marriage, it is crucial to invest in longer-term programming that focuses on training nurses, which typically takes over three years. Despite the challenges, the benefits of such efforts outweigh the difficulties. 

The people of Syria, who face security risks and threats, will ultimately benefit from these interventions. It is also important to explore support from non-traditional donors who are willing to contribute to early recovery and resilience initiatives in the country. said Mr. Al-Dairi.