Turkish Red Crescent Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN)

When the lockdowns came into force as a measure to Covid-19 pandemic, individuals experienced problems in accessing basic needs and services. Referral and Outreach teams of TRC continued their regular activities by also adapting them to find solutions to the affected individuals’ needs. Referral and Outreach Unit of TRC targeted refugees who are under Temporary Protection, individuals under International Protection and Humanitarian Residence across the country in order to meet their needs especially during the Covid-19 period.

Referral and Outreach Unit of TRC regularly carries out advocacy activities to remove the obstacles faced by individuals who cannot access Kızılaykart programmes for various reasons or cannot start benefiting from the assistance and sensitization activities to prevent possible issues that can arise in the future by increasing awareness of the relevant stakeholders about Kızılaykart programmes and updating their knowledge. The teams also refer the cases they identified in the field to the relevant TRC Units or external services.

When the pandemic hit and lockdowns were introduced, the team carried out analysis by considering the age, disability and the number of individuals in the household through the database owned by R&O unit. With this study, potential households that may face problems in accessing basic needs during the pandemic period were determined and these households were contacted by outbound calls. With these calls, the households were informed about the pandemic and measures, phone numbers that they could reach in case of emergency were shared and their needs were identified and recorded in order to take action or refer them to the relevant service providers. Thousands of households were reached in a short time with the remote issue identification method through massive outbound calls and sensitization & referral activities were carried out during the pandemic period.

In addition, activities have been carried out to support individuals over 65 and under the age of 18 who were affected by the curfew within the scope of Covid-19 measures since they could not receive their Kızılaykarts from the bank branches. In line with this need that emerged during the pandemic period, individuals who were not able to leave their houses were visited and their Kızılaykarts were delivered. During the card delivery visits, different needs of these individuals were identified and the teams aimed to meet their additional needs by ensuring that they were referred to the relevant authorities or services.

As a result of being active in the field and strong bilateral relations with local authorities, support was provided to those in need, even during the Covid-19 restrictions. Innovative working methods have been developed to enhance identification of protection concerns as well as access barriers to cash assistance during curfew. Maintaining a strong network with local and central level authorities is the key to ensure the access of the most vulnerable to cash assistance to help them in meeting their basic needs during emergency periods.