Fall 2021

affect livestock, the project has delivered more than 450,000 dosages of vaccines to livestock owners across Deir ez-Zor. Inflation, the value of the Syrian pound and climate conditions all compound to make farmers and livestock owners vulnerable. “When we help the farmers and support them to continue, we stabilize not only the farmers’ business but the food security of the region,” says Mesud Ahmed. The long road ahead Streetlights, better roads, reliable services and better trained and resourced Internal Security Forces are necessary for Raqqa’s road to recov- ery. In restoring electrical lines and rebuilding roads, for instance, FURAT+ has hired more than 4,500 Syrians, giving some people their first salary in more than five years. By stabilizing the agriculture industry through vaccines, tunnel gardens, advocacy for fair market prices and technical support, farmers now have ground to stand on and room to grow. In all cases, working within the context is the heart of Creative’s approach in Syria. “You have the context in order to help the people,” says Mesud Ahmed. “You all belong to

East Syria’s (SANES) Ministry of Agriculture, the NGOHumanitarian Coordination in Raqqa reached out to ALSP and other INGOs work- ing in the country for aid. Because poultry is a primary source of protein for the region, the need was dire. Audsley’s team then coordinated vaccination mobile clinics for poultry farms. “We targeted commercial poultry farms that if we didn’t support them, then it was going to have a major effect on food security of that community,” she says. For Newcastle and other common diseases that

ALSP works in hard-to-reach regions and places where other organizations have not yet gone.

Water from the Suwar Canal allows farmers to irrigate more than 300,000 acres of farmland surrounding Hasaka, revitalizing the agricultural economy and encouraging displaced neighbors to return home.

Chief of Party for ALSP. “In Deir ez-Zor most of them are returnees, so those villages haven’t yet been engaged.” Many of these villages are still living under threat frommilitant groups like ISIS and distrust any outside presence. ALSP Senior ProgramManager Mesud Ahmed says that bringing aid in the form of vaccines, for in- stance, builds community trust. “Because in some regions we cannot go and start with capacity building and peace build- ing,” he says. “They are just liberated from ISIS, they are afraid… So, you have to provide something material.” Tribal differences and long-standing cultural barriers add another layer of complexity to ALSP’s work in Deir ez-Zor. The region is eth- nically diverse, and ALSP relies on its Syrian staff’s understanding of how to navigate these differences. In this way, vaccines like the ones administered to Fayez’s flock lay the ground- work for future interventions. “We try to understand the tribe’s mentality,” says Mesud Ahmed. “We try to understand the security atmosphere and build rapport there.” ALSP has worked on a range of agricultural activities, from beekeeping to olive planta- tions, and in many places, from refugee camps to remote villages. At the root of its work is a belief that development in a post-conflict zone works best when programs respond to the most immediate needs that the people themselves identify – with an eye to sustainability. For instance, the programmade a major pivot in 2020 to combat the Newcastle virus, a disease quickly spreading through the region’s poultry farms. Overwhelmed and with no funding from the Self-Administration of North Photos by FURAT + Staff (top); ALSP Staff (center, bottom)

At the root of ALSP’s work is a belief that development in a post-conflict zone works best when programs respond to the most immediate needs that the people themselves identify.

them, and they belong to you.” But the situation is rife with reminders that the country’s past is not yet past. FURAT+ has organized and led teams to exhume more than 6,000 bodies from the rubble they cleared, an essential service for people’s mental health. In some cases, removal provides families with closure. And in all cases, it gives deceased a dignified burial. The time needed to heal the wounds of war will vastly exceed the time needed to train women police officers or to purify water sources, but it is a beginning. n

Supporting farmers helps stabilize both their businesses and the region’s food security.

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