WAHA in collaboration with its partner organisations is conducting formative research to develop and test an innovative SMS-based tool to disseminate information about GBV risks and available resources for adolescents and youth in Izmir, Turkey.

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The protracted crisis in Syria has resulted in mass displacement. Turkey is hosting more than 2 million refugees, mostly women and children. During humanitarian crises, women and children are at risk of gender-based violence (GBV). Adolescent and youth refugees experience increased risks of GBV, particularly early marriage and sexual exploitation; however, there are fewer programs targeting adolescents and youth. This study aims to increase evidence on GBV risks among Syrian adolescent and youth refugees in Izmir, Turkey, and develop innovative GBV prevention and response tools for this at-risk population.


Mobile phones are ubiquitous among the displaced Syrian population and are a primary means of communication. Assessments in other countries hosting Syrian refugees have revealed a lack of information, awareness and access to specialized GBV services. Mobile phones may facilitate information sharing and communication about GBV risks for this at-risk refugee population. An innovative mobile tool will be developed and tested using RapidPro, an open source communication platform, to disseminate SMS messages with information about GBV risks and available services for at-risk adolescents and youth refugees in Izmir, Turkey. This tool will aim to increase access to essential information and connect the refugee population to existing GBV prevention and response services.


The qualitative research methods will provide data on mobile phone use and GBV risks for Syrian refugee adolescents and youth. The development and piloting of the mobile phone-based technology will raise awareness of available GBV services for adolescent and youth refugees living in Izmir, Turkey and strengthen referral networks. Upon completion of the research, the evidence base relating to GBV risks in the refugee community will be strengthened and a report with main findings will be disseminated among study partners and key stakeholders. This research aims to inform policy and programming for GBV prevention and response among the Syrian refugee population living in Izmir, Turkey, but may also be relevant for other countries hosting Syrian refugees in the region.

Read the article on the HIF’s website

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