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Review of Food for Peace Market-Based Emergency Food Assistance Programs: Jordan/Turkey Case Study Report

January 2018 — By Jeanne Downen, Nancy Mock

Syria regional crisis: The response to the Syria regional crisis exemplifies the challenges and opportunities involved with delivering food assistance in a widespread, largely urban refugee and internally displaced persons (IDP) crisis affecting middle-income countries. This case study focuses on operations managed from two of the six countries supported by the FFP Syria response, Jordan and Turkey. Here banking systems and information technology enabled novel experiments in technology such as the OneCard system in Jordan and the “Kizilay” platform in Turkey managed by World Food Programme (WFP) along with the block chain technology experiment of WFP in Jordan. Highly developed, internationally connected food markets in Jordan and Turkey, the political dynamics of the region, and the agricultural resources in Turkey made this a unique case. The response focused on addressing the needs of refugees hosted by Jordan and Turkey as well as affected households inside Syria. FFP-supported food assistance includes e-vouchers for refugees in Jordan and Turkey, food parcels delivered from Jordan and Turkey to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and needy communities in conflict-affected areas of Syria, and cross-border supply of locally and regionally purchased (LRP) flour to support bakeries in Syria. A novel study comparing modality performance has allowed the piloting of a beneficiary-centered choice strategy where refugees can choose the assistance modality that best meets their needs. This case also illustrates the importance of considering multi-sectoral needs of middle income urban beneficiaries in middle income countries, where rent, not food, is their largest expense. Food assistance was more reliable than other sectors, lessening but not stopping decapitalization of refugee assets over time. The regional political dynamics of refugee hosting countries and the fluidity inside Syria require implementing partners (IPs) to be adaptive, able to adjust their management structures and develop novel approaches to program delivery and accountability within Syria.