Research report supported by GOAL highlights need for increased humanitarian assistance to nomadic refugee communities in Turkey - GOAL Global Skip to content

Research report supported by GOAL highlights need for increased humanitarian assistance to nomadic refugee communities in Turkey


October 7, 2020 • 3 min read

A new research report published with support from GOAL highlights the need for increased humanitarian assistance for nomadic and semi-nomadic Syrian refugees and migrant seasonal agriculture workers in Turkey.

Published by Development Workshop, the report titled Unseen Lives on Migration Routes recommends several actions and measures to provide support to nomadic refugee communities in Southeastern Turkey who have very limited access to education and formal employment. These vulnerable groups face difficulties seeking temporary protection registration and often live in sub-standard accommodation.

The research was undertaken between December 2019 and April 2020 across 20 neighborhoods in Adana, Gaziantep, and Şanlıurfa and in temporary tent settlements on the Adana Plain. Civil society organisations and other institutions delivering humanitarian assistance to refugees in these areas were also surveyed in order to assess nomadic and semi-nomadic communities’ access to local services.

A man pushes a cart in a neighbourhood of nomadic Syrian refugees in Gaziantep, Turkey in January 2020.

The report reveals a number of issues nomadic and semi-nomadic communities are facing, including:

  • Limited access to assistance or services, particularly for those who do not have temporary protection status;
  • No children are attending preschool, and very few are going to primary and secondary school;
  • Poor accommodation, with the majority of those surveyed living in a single room or tent, on earth or concrete ground.
  • Limited or no access to clean drinking and household-use water and toilets;
  • Families have very low food security, and normal eating patterns are frequently disrupted;
  • There are no safe spaces within settlements for children to play, which makes them vulnerable to accidents, injury, and threats from older children and adults.

Based on the survey findings, the report makes several recommendations, including extending tailored assistance to those in need, developing flexible service models, supporting children’s access to education, and working to combat prejudices against groups from nomadic backgrounds.

The report is published by Development Workshop, an Ankara-based research cooperative which was supported in this study by GOAL within the context of the LINK Project funded by European Union Humanitarian Aid. The Project, which GOAL has implemented in Adana, Ankara, Gaziantep, and Şanlıurfa provinces, has aimed to improve vulnerable nomadic and semi-nomadic refugee groups’ and migrant seasonal agriculture workers’ access to protection, social service, and social assistance programmes that are available in Turkey.

A GOAL LINK information stand at the World Refugee Day Information Fair in Şanlıurfa, Turkey.

Through LINK, GOAL supported around 5,000 vulnerable refugees in Turkey in accessing registration, aid, and social assistance. In addition, it reached more than 25,000 beneficiaries with information and guidance on their rights and obligations. Around 2,200 of the project’s beneficiaries were provided with one-off in-kind or cash-based assistance to help them meet urgent needs, while more than 4,000 refugees participated in psycho-social support sessions.

The second phase of this EU-funded project, LINK II, starts in September 2020, and adds Mersin to the list of provinces where GOAL Turkey will offer tailored humanitarian assistance to refugees from nomadic or semi-nomadic backgrounds, and to migrant seasonal agriculture workers.

Unseen Lives on Migration Routes is accompanied by an Advocacy Strategy aimed at supporting the development of new humanitarian assistance programmes targeting nomadic or semi-nomadic refugees and migrant seasonal agriculture workers. The publication also includes large-scale maps and sketches illustrating the surveyed communities’ places of settlement, and a photo album with images taken during the study’s field research phase.

The research report and accompanying publications are available for download at


This publication 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.