Following the big influx of Syrian refugees in European and neighbouring countries, public authorities are facing an unprecedented humanitarian situation. Millions of people are leaving their homes to survive, leaving behind relatives, friends and belongings.

In the long process of seeking asylum, refugees become dependent on associations, NGOs and public bodies in order to meet their basic needs. Moreover, since outdoor refugee camps do not provide suitable access to food or clothes distribution, other systems are also sought to guarantee their basic needs.

Edenred’s Ticket Services®, which had been implemented in Turkey several years ago to give access to staple goods to the most deprived, has quickly become an easily adaptable solution to the needs of refugees and the entities in charge of their protection. The distribution programme is quick and easy to implement: beneficiaries get a card; an amount is uploaded on the account according to the number of beneficiaries (i.e. a single person or a family); beneficiaries can then buy products and goods within an affiliated network of providers.

Therefore, various NGOs managing refugee programmes get to use the solution in Turkey. The various NGOs using this solution in Turkey do not only value the fact that the Ticket Services® is a transparent and flexible solution, but also the management features it embeds. Since the funds supporting the system are public, it is important that the solution provides robust tracking measures to ensure correct and efficient usage. Ticket Services® also enable strong monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in order to improve the programme while also respecting the choice of the beneficiaries. These approaches are after all people-centred. They enable the beneficiary to purchase more food one month, clothes or hygiene products another depending on their specific needs.

Vouchers on smart cards are an alternative to cash and benefits in kind. They are transparent, easy to use and limited in time and geographical space. They combine the advantages of cash regarding flexibility and dignity of the beneficiaries as well as the transparency and traceability of in-kind benefits.

In Turkey in 2016, 32.000 families benefited from the Ticket Services®. The total amounts to approximately 160.000 beneficiaries. The same type of programme exists in Greece where numerous refugees are waiting for their asylum status to be validated.

Edenred will be running a workshop at the European Social Services Conference 2017 which will explore various innovative practices using technology and implemented worldwide by local public authorities. Find out more about the Edenred workshop.

To find out more about Edenred’s Ticket Services and other solutions, visit the exhibition space and project forum at the European Social Services Conference in June where members of their team will be able to provide you with more information.