• Vocational Training and Infrastructure Rehabilitation in Azaz

    As an active member of the Early Recovery Cluster, Roia in partnership with other local NGOs, namely Bonyan, URC and Sons of War is responsible to facilitate two pilot projects in Azaz. The project is part of the UN Syria Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). The innovation dimension introduced by UNDP is to prioritise data collection and analysis. The aim is to provide solid data and information to the Cluster member NGOs to design better livelihood and early recovery projects in the future humanitarian response. Vocational Training Rehabilitation of Community Centres Responding to local needs as defined in a pre-treatment market assessment, this pilot project consists of the design and delivery of locally requested vocational services. Together with a local training institution, Roia is providing vocational training sessions in sewing and tailoring for local beneficiaries in Azaz. Tailoring was mentioned as main gap in the local market most by consumers, with women consumers in particular complaining about tailoring products being low quality. With this vocational training, Roia aims to increase competition between firms in Azaz’s tailoring sector and generate increases in product quality. Responding to a dire need for rehabilitation of basic (social and economic) infrastructure, this pilot project consists of the rehabilitation of two centres. Our project design involves furnishing these buildings and equipping them with solar power facilities and laptops. Roia is rehabilitating two buildings and turn them into functioning community centres: one that was previously a cultural centre located near the city centre; and one located within the Aleppo University campus. The main objective of this rehabilitation project is to improve the capacity of civil society by providing a space for training sessions and workshops. Rehabilitation efforts enable the conference rooms in the buildings to become usable for civil society organisations and the wider community. The costs of the rehabilitation are planned to be covered by the subsequent renting of the facilities, with additional subsequent rent being accrued to the Planning Commission of the Interim Government.


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  • Maharat ICT Academy

    ICT is a powerful tool to improve prospects for people of all ages and backgrounds. Maharat Academies provide ICT vocational education and livelihood opportunities to disadvantaged youth in hard-to-reach communities. Our Academies provide young women and men with competitive ICT skills, guide them towards dignified, inclusive and sustainable employment and prepare them for the freelancing market. The courses focus on mastering computer fundamentals as well as web design, graphic design and data entry. Combined with soft skills in communication, idea incubation and job search we enable young Syrians to earn a living from remote work and become change makers in their communities. This mean an important improvement to their self-reliance and their livelihood situation. Our approach reduces aid-dependency and enables beneficiaries to quickly stop being beneficiaries and start earning a living themselves, in fully dignity and with agency. OUR SOLUTION PROJECT BACKGROUND HELP NEEDED At Roia we make an effort to put beneficiaries at the heart of our program design. Our market assessments have revealed that especially the unemployed have high hopes of office jobs. Community's stakeholders have expressed the desire to get skills in accounting and financial management or marketing, communication and advertising. Keeping this desire in mind, Maharat Academy enables job seekers to gain valuable office, IT and English skills to offer their services locally or on freelance platforms. The Maharat ICT Academy is designed to provide youth with lifelong ICT vocational skills and immediate, improved access to livelihood opportunities in both the local market and globally through work opportunities and online freelancing. Project activities include comprehensive and meaningful ICT training as well English training and direct livelihood opportunities. The courses focus on mastering computer fundamentals as well as web design, graphic design and data entry. Flexibility in training level is provided through three different training tracks to mobilize young and old, novice and geeks to join the Academy. The livelihood component includes an internship program in partnership with IT and non-IT companies and induction to online freelancing platforms, such as the in-house platform Subul.org we developed in partnership with Microsoft. The Academy provides also a safe and fully equipped place to learn, experiment and collaborate. Given the patchy electricity supply and costly mobile data packages, a lab and co-working space is needed for students to practice their newly acquired skills and start their careers. Keeping those needs in mind, Maharat Academy aims to provide beneficiaries with improved access to income-generating opportunities, open paths to satisfy basic needs and reduce economic barriers. While the training component prepares the participants with technical skills training for ICT and freelancing work, the livelihood component offers them the necessary tools to facilitate their entry into the ICT job market. The conflict in Syria has critically deteriorated the state of education. Schools lie in ruins, and those still stand are overcrowded and under resources. An entire generation has grown up knowing nothing but war and left unchecked this could have profound consequences for the future stability and prosperity of the country. Our ICT Academies are delivering training to help prevent the emergence of a "lost generation". Across the whole of Syria, an estimated 69% of people now live in extreme poverty and support themselves on less than US$2 a day. Of these, it is estimated that 35% live in abject poverty, unable to afford the basic goods necessary to survive. Among young people, who make up over half the population, unemployment rates are estimated at 78% with the figure significantly higher among young women. Such figures are reflected across the north of Syria, in Western Aleppo and Idlib regions. The violence in Syria over the last 7 years has severely affected the regular economic cycle of communities . In normal circumstances, there exists a circular economic flow between households and firms. Households provide firms with labour while firms provide wages in exchange. With these wages, households in turn buy goods and services from firms, thus providing firms with the income for wages and other factors of production (e.g. raw materials for goods and services). However, a consequence of the conflict, this circular flow is broken by violence, instability and destruction of communications and infrastructure. Firms have been destroyed or forced to close due to fleeing owners, and fewer firms means fewer jobs. Meanwhile, those firms that have remained open have fewer goods and services to offer due to the inaccessibility and unaffordability of raw materials. With fewer jobs, there is less income in local households to buy goods and services—a problem exacerbated by the now higher cost due to scarcity. With fewer goods and services being bought, firms cannot afford to hire labour and, overall, the flow becomes a negative cycle. The concept of sustainable livelihoods depends heavily on the state of education and, due to the on-going crisis in Syria, the education system faces many challenges in terms of resources and financing. In the north of the country, several communities report being unable to afford basic goods and food. Accordingly, a high risk of negative coping mechanisms has been recorded, with child labour, meal skipping, debt, and high-risk/illegal work being resorted to by many community members in order to survive. Young women and men in Syria urgently need your help! 8 years of war have exhausted the people of Syria. Young women and men are among the most affected. Millions of Syrian youth are deprived of a proper education. They have little hopes of improving their livelihood situation. Their future is plagued by problems such as poverty, recruitment, child marriage and extremism. All they can remember is the war. We provide alternative ICT vocational and education training and livelihoods. This education has changed the lives of hundreds of young women and men in Syria. It provided our beneficiaries with employment opportunities enabling them to improve their livelihood situation and increase their resilience. However, the success of our ICT programs depends on donors. Without the urgently needed funds, we will be forced to suspend our activities in May 2019. Your crucial donations will help hundreds of young Syrian women and men. We at ROIA have the vision that together we can improve lives through ICT education. No matter how much the war has destroyed, we will keep rebuilding from the ashes. The Syrian youth deserves an education, they deserve a future, they deserve your help. With your contributions, we can keep improving hundreds of young lives. Its time to make a change, it’s time to become visionary! Donate or sponsor a student! Our Academy in Atarib Maharat News Roia launches a Fundraising Campaign to support Syrian Youth! Continue reading Maharat ICT Academy Report – Eastern Ghouta Continue reading Roia to set up ICT vocational training in Atarib Continue reading


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  • SpeakLoud Service

    SpeakLoud is a service amplifying the voices of the vulnerable and those who work with them. Activists, non-profits, NGOs and community-based organisations working in human rights, humanitarianism and development are all eligible to receive free webhosting. OUR SOLUTION PROJECT BACKGROUND Over the past few years, an online presence, including social media, has emerged as an important medium of communication for reaching a vast audience on a global scale. Leveraging the power of the Internet, messages, pictures, and stories can be spread in a fraction of a second and be absorbed quickly and easily by people all over the world. For those responding to disasters and emergencies, the ability to reach out can be exceptionally powerful. In the past, crises would pass unnoticed and organizations would struggle in obscurity and isolation to help those in need. The Internet offers the ability to connect to potential donors, recruit volunteers, spread awareness, and inspire action at all levels. Nonetheless, for organizations working to provide vital assistance, the decision to invest in a web presence can be a real dilemma. Even though it can ultimately improve their effectiveness, every cent spent on a website is one less cent spent on helping the vulnerable. SpeakLoud removes this dilemma by offering free web hosting, domains, and online storage to organizations, community groups, and individuals. SpeakLoud is about empowering both those that work with vulnerable people and vulnerable people themselves; as a service, it seeks to give agency to those who have been affected by crisis.In any given crisis there are countless local, regional, and international organizations of all sizes working to save and improve the lives of those who are affected. Yet, in the chaos of disaster and war, the narrative that reaches the world rarely depicts the experiences of these actors, and the voices of the victims—the voices that matter most—are too often lost. An online presence can do so much to improve the effectiveness of organizations providing protection, relief, or development. Websites and social media are valuable tools to spread awareness about abuses or emergencies, galvanize a response, and raise funds for vital activities. However, many of these organizations spring up from the grassroots level and have limited resources, which they must prioritize for those in need. By offering free web hosting, SpeakLoud gives a voice to those who would otherwise have difficulty being heard, helping them make a bigger impact.


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  • Skills Under Siege Platform

    Skills Under Siege is an online platform for crowdfunding the livelihood projects of Syrian communities and sharing their stories with the world. With over half the Syrian population unemployed and 69 percent living in extreme poverty, the destruction of war has left few opportunities to make a living. Despite such hardship, Syrians across the country are engaged in initiatives to improve their lives. From internet cafes to renewable energy production to eco-friendly dairy farms, the resourcefulness of the population knows no bounds. Skills Under Siege is an online hub showcasing these projects, inviting support from the global community. Project Background Our Solution Years of conflict have left Syria's infrastructure ruined, its logistics networks devastated, and its economy crippled. For those living in a country torn apart by warring factions and pounded by aerial bombardment since 2011, everyday life is a struggle. Over half the country has been forced to flee from their homes, while approximately 2.3 million Syrians are living under siege or siege-like conditions, completely cut-off from the rest of the world. In such circumstances, there are few opportunities for Syrians to make a living. Overall, over half the population is unemployed and an estimated 69 per cent of people live in extreme poverty, supporting their families on less than $2 USD per day. Without an adequate income, families cannot afford basic goods and services; food insecurity and lack of access to education, healthcare, and safe water are widespread. Yet even in the worst circumstances, the resilience demonstrated in Syria is profound. Communities are finding ways to adapt, innovate, and make the most of their scarce resources, even in the midst of conflict. It's possible to find Syrians developing alternative construction materials, designing communications technologies, installing renewable energy, and launching new farms and business ventures. Skills Under Siege gives these projects a global platform while offering the world a way to engage and contribute.A crowdfunding platform intent on changing lives, Skills Under Siege connects Syrian grassroots projects with a global audience. Under the guidance of an expert steering committee, livelihood projects from across the country are identified and strictly vetted before being hosted on the platform. Once accepted, the projects receive support to improve their operations and media presence, including a dedicated media team to work with stakeholders to accurately document the project, its activities, and the community it is active in. Projects are unpacked on the site with their objectives, activities, and beneficiaries available for all to see. As the projects develop, regular media updates keep contributors abreast of the impact being made and how lives are being changed for the better. Skills Under Siege allows people all around the world to witness Syrian projects first-hand, giving them an opportunity to contribute to their success and really see how their contribution makes a difference.


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  • BeeNet

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam aliquet nisi vitae lacus euismod, a egestas ipsum porttitor. Nullam a justo dolor. Integer feugiat pretium neque in scelerisque. Curabitur diam mauris, egestas consectetur diam nec, vestibulum bibendum massa. PROJECT BACKGROUND OUR SOLUTION Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla convallis egestas rhoncus. Donec facilisis fermentum sem, ac viverra ante luctus vel. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla convallis egestas rhoncus. Donec facilisis fermentum sem, ac viverra ante luctus vel. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla convallis egestas rhoncus. Donec facilisis fermentum sem, ac viverra ante luctus vel. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam aliquet nisi vitae lacus euismod, a egestas ipsum porttitor. Nullam a justo dolor. Integer feugiat pretium neque in scelerisque. Curabitur diam mauris, egestas consectetur diam nec, vestibulum bibendum massa. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam aliquet nisi vitae lacus euismod, a egestas ipsum porttitor. Nullam a justo dolor. Integer feugiat pretium neque in scelerisque. Curabitur diam mauris, egestas consectetur diam nec, vestibulum bibendum massa.


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  • LALS “Local Administration Linkage System”

    The Local Administration Linkage System is a telecommunications network designed to help local authorities in Eastern Ghouta govern effectively, even among the challenges of country in conflict. With the national telecommunications infrastructure damaged by war and blockaded by government authorities, LALS allows authorities to communicate and coordinate to provide goods and services to Syrians in a free, secure, and effective manner. PROJECT BACKGROUND OUR SOLUTION The conflict that broke out in Syria in 2011 resulted in the retreat of the state in large parts of the country. New civilian governing bodies have emerged to fill the vacuum and provide the goods and services needed for everyday living. Yet, in the chaos of war, these new administrations face incredible challenges in maintaining civil life. Eastern Ghouta has been under siege since 2012 and is subject to regular and indiscriminate attacks from artillery and warplanes. Cut off from the world, there is a critical shortage of basic goods and civilians struggle to access clean water, food, sanitation, and medicine. While the local authorities do their best to meet the needs of constituents, their duties are severely hampered by consistent disruption to telecommunications by government forces. Infrastructure is routinely and deliberately targeted and mobile and Internet networks are closely monitored. Over the last 6 years the government has regularly enforced total communications blackouts, completely shutting down all communications in the region. Without the ability to communicate, the provincial and local councils cannot coordinate and govern effectively. Lacking effective governance, the vulnerability of the region’s people was exacerbated and the legitimacy of the local authorities was being eroded, in turn threatening the stability and resilience of the regions. Roia launched the Local Administration Linkage System (LALS) in Eastern Ghouta in December of 2015 as an alternative telecommunications infrastructure, allowing the local administration to communicate freely, securely, and effectively. A hybrid system combining radio frequency communications with digital wireless technology, LALS provides a crucial alternative to the national communications grid, which has been severely compromised by the conflict. LALS is a four-part solution to create a closed, secure, and effective area-wide communications service across Eastern Ghouta. A wireless base station connects the region’s administrative offices together in an intranet, where all staff can communicate through voice, video, text, and regular GSM calls. The intranet operates with tailored software that enables council staff to securely and easily store and share data between offices. A radio system complements the intranet, allowing for instant communication between the council and its partners. Emergency services and civil society organizations keep in contact with councils via radio transmitters and handheld receivers, meaning that services can be coordinated and resources effectively allocated. The LALS network also gives the councils open access to the Internet. With Eastern Ghouta relying heavily on the support of international NGOs, access to the wider world beyond Syria’s borders is vital. Internet access also gives councils a voice, allowing them to share their stories and experiences with the global media and international community.


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  • EMS “Emergency Medical System”

    The Emergency Medical System (EMS) is a communications platform enabling emergency services to respond effectively to distress calls in Eastern Ghouta. A comprehensive and centralised system, EMS gives the public the means to request assistance while simultaneously allowing emergency services to coordinate their response. With EMS, paramedics, ambulances and firefighting teams can work in concert with field hospitals and clinics to ensure that the needs of the community are met. PROJECT BACKGROUND OUR SOLUTION Since conflict broke out in Syria in 2011, telecommunications inside the country have been subject to heavy disruption and surveillance. For regions like Eastern Ghouta, which lie outside government control, communications have effectively been cut. No communication means no coordination, which means that the services needed to sustain the hundreds of thousands of people in these areas simply cannot function properly. In Eastern Ghouta, the effect was particularly profound for the medical organizations tending to the extreme needs of a war-stricken community. These organization run multiple field hospitals and clinics, operate dozens of ambulances, and manage hundreds of medical staff. Without a means to organize these resources, their ability to respond to the frequent emergencies of the conflict was limited. At the needless cost of innocent lives, they were unable to report emergencies, direct ambulances, monitor staff levels at clinics, or manage inventory. Medical organizations reluctantly turned to armed groups out of sheer desperation, requesting use of their communications facilities. Not only did this critically undermine their neutrality and independence, but it was also functionally ineffective. The communications facilities were not designed for emergency response, were in short supply, and were always requisitioned by the armed groups in times of heavy fighting—precisely when the medical organizations needed them the most. In September 2012, Roia set out to help remedy this situation. Working in cooperation with several health organizations in Eastern Ghouta, Roia successfully established an area-wide telecommunications system to allow medical services to coordinate and operate effectively. Simple, secure, and reliable, EMS is quite literally providing a lifeline inside Eastern Ghouta.Elegant in its simplicity, EMS is a secure, reliable, and efficient telecommunications service tailored to Eastern Ghouta's medical organizations. As an independent system, it operates free from threat of disruption and surveillance and allows emergency services to coordinate with confidence. Operational since September 2012, EMS currently coordinates the work of 31 field hospitals and clinics, 31 ambulances, and over 400 doctors and paramedics. EMS consists of 3 elements: an emergency dispatch centre, a UHF radio network, and a wireless IP communication system. The dispatch centre is at the heart of the solution and is where emergency calls are received and managed. Here, qualified staff monitor and handle information about each emergency, dispatching the appropriate services according to the severity of the call and the available resources at local medical facilities. The UHF radio network enables instant communication between and among medical professionals, the dispatch centre, and the people of Eastern Ghouta. It is composed of two frequencies: one private frequency for coordinating field staff and one open frequency for receiving emergency calls from the public. The radio network allows Eastern Ghouta's medical teams to respond and adapt to emergencies as they develop. The final component of EMS is the wireless IP system, which functions as a secured intranet and is used by the dispatch centre to connect to the region's clinics and hospitals. Through this intranet the dispatch centre can access shared databases containing information about inventory levels, available specialists, and current staff numbers at Eastern Ghouta's medical facilities.


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  • Maharat ICT Centre

    Maharat Centre empowers Syrian youth through vocational ICT training,  providing them with the tools and opportunities to make a better future for themselves and their communities. PROJECT BACKGROUND OUR SOLUTION The conflict in Syria has completely devastated the country's educational infrastructure and impoverished its people. Over 50% of the Syrian population is unemployed and 4 in 5 people are classified as living in poverty. What exists is a vicious cycle of unemployment, diminishing resources, and increased levels of poverty, forcing overwhelming number of Syrian into negative coping strategies. Missing meals, early marriage, begging, borrowing, and child labour are widespread. The young people of Syria have been disproportionately affected, with youth unemployment at 78%—a figure that is estimated to be significantly higher among young women. For young men and boys, poverty and the desperation to provide for their families and loved ones have been identified as key drivers pushing them into joining armed groups. Trapped in severe poverty, parents and caregivers can no longer consider their children’s education a priority. Even those households able to keep children in school are faced with a decimated educational infrastructure that is overcapacity and under-resourced. Since the war began, the formal education system has lost over 150,000 personnel and one in three schools have been damaged, destroyed, or occupied. A third of Syrian children between the ages of 5 and 17 are out of school, and a further 1.35 million are at immediate risk of dropping out. Many of Syria's children have known nothing but war, and, for most young adults, higher education is completely inaccessible. Consequently, UN agencies, experts, and humanitarian organizations all warn of a “missing generation,” which poses serious negative ramifications for the overall resilience of the country and its future prospects. Image Source: Human Rights Watch The Syrian youth possess incredible talent and drive, but are in desperate need for opportunities to apply these in education and work. The Maharat ICT Centre was established in Syria in early 2016 to supply these opportunities. A Roia initiative, it was completed with the support of UKaid, Expertise France, and the Blossom Hill Foundation. The Centre offers comprehensive vocational courses in competitive ICT skills and English language to equal numbers of young men and women. They are provided with laptops and Internet access and taught such relevant skills as web design, application development, and business management. Taking this work a step further, the Centre matches students with local, regional, and global businesses to provide real work experience and employment opportunities. The Syrian conflict, which has devastated the country since 2011, has placed barriers around the lives of young people. With the country's education infrastructure in ruins, rampant unemployment, and widespread poverty, there are few prospects for young people to make a living. Despite possessing enormous talent, young people struggle to provide for themselves and loved ones and are often forced to turn to negative coping strategies such as begging, theft, or even joining armed groups. In partnership with UKaid and Expertise France, the Maharat Centre gives young Syrian men and women the opportunity to overcome the barriers imposed upon them by war. Students who attend the centre are trained in truly marketable skills and learn digital literacy, software development, IT infrastructure, web design, and English language skills. Roia arranges internships and distributes micro-grants for student-led initiatives to help put these newly acquired skills to work. Most importantly, students learn the tenets of entrepreneurship and are taught how to capitalize on the global ICT freelance economy, which offers a resilient income stream for embattled communities. Complete with fully equipped computer labs and a qualified faculty, the Maharat Centre is a safe space for all students to pursue their futures; this includes vulnerable groups and women who are disproportionately affected by the conflict. Gender quotas and monthly allowances ensure that both young women and men can benefit from the program. This can be especially important for women facing frequent employment discrimination, as ICT work can be a powerful empowerment tool, allowing them to work independently. The community impact of specialized training and income-generating opportunities can be profound. Operating under the Pareto principle, or “80/20 rule,” Maharat works with a relatively small number of youths, but does so with a focus on quality. Positive results with this group results in multiplied benefits across whole communities. For example, added income leads to increased consumer spending, which supports local business and livelihoods. The success stories of Maharat’s students inspire others, and empowered youths hire others to assist them with their freelancing projects.


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