Fall 2021

signals of change

Restorations to the Suwar Canal by FURAT+ will bring

running water to more than 360,000 people.

Four years of drought, beginning in 2006, caused 800,000 farmers to lose their livelihoods, according to the Center for Cli- mate & Security. The drought heightened

tensions leading up to the revolution, and in subsequent years agricul- tural operations were hit hard as war spread across the country. Efforts to restore running water and irrigation to the Northeast have been ongoing, with the repair and restoration of the Suwar Canal— which channels water from the Euphrates up to Hasaka, a city of 1 million near the Turkish border—as the cornerstone. ISIS damaged the canal during its retreat from the area, and it’s been out of service for years.

In the first three years of the conflict, sheep in the region declined by 45 percent.

We specifically targeted villages that are hard to reach and that other organizations have not yet gone to or don’t want to.”

-Hind Audsley, Chief of Party for ALSP

ALSP provided vaccines and veterinary care to support farmers with their livestock.

Today, conflict along the northern border regu- larly cuts off the region’s primary water source, AloukWater Station, exacerbating conditions in the al-Hol refugee camp and forcing more Syrians in Hasaka to leave their homes. Partnering with the Executive Council of Ja- zeera Region and the Deir ez-Zor Civil Council, FURAT+ is restoring the canal—section by section. The project is a massive undertaking. Together, they have repaired 50 miles of pipe- lines and infrastructure, reconnected 47 lift stations along the canal to the electrical grid and mended cracks in the base. When complete, more than 360,000 people will have running water. With water from the Suwar Canal, farmers can now irrigate more than 300,000 acres of farmland surrounding Hasaka, revitalizing the agricultural economy and encouraging displaced neighbors to return home. This proj- ect represents a major step forward towards rebuilding a livable society and is an example of a development decision driven by stakeholders on the ground.

Irrigation and agriculture are also a focus of the Agriculture and Livelihoods Stabilization Project (ALSP). Funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, ALSP implements agriculture and livelihoods projects primarily through Syrian civil society organizations in the northeast. By bringing capacity building and funding to these local groups, they have direct- ly impacted more than 20,000 people living in difficult situations. Vaccines and Gardens: Inroads in complex environments Fayez JasimAl-Faris, a livestock owner in a remote village in the northeastern province of Deir ez-Zor, lost half of his flock of sheep when the war in 2011 drove feed and supply prices so high that he could not afford to maintain them. He was forced to sell more than 50 animals to provide for his family. When ISIS moved to his village, he and his family fled, quickly eating through their savings. When they returned, they struggled to make ends meet.

But through a local organization called Sam for Development, Fayez received vaccines and veterinary care for his remaining flock, as well as funds to begin growing his own alfalfa to pro- vide for the animals. Since receiving Sam for Development’s support, his flock has expanded to include six new goats and five more sheep. According to a report from the Food and Agri- cultural Organization, in the first three years of the conflict, sheep in the region declined by 45 percent, goats by 30 percent, cattle by 40 percent and poultry by 55 percent. “After this project, especially due to the tech- nical consultations, my skills and experience improved,” says Fayez. “I now can identify and combat diseases.” Sam for Development, which implements agriculture and livelihood projects primarily through Syrian civil society organizations in the Northeast, is a grantee of ALSP. “We specifically targeted villages that are hard to reach and that other organizations have not yet gone to or don’t want to,” says Hind Audsley,

Photos courtesy of Skip Brown (Audsley); Judy Abdulhakim Ismail (Suwar Canal); ALSP Staff (agriculture photos)

18 | Think Creative | Fall 2021

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