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Creating Change, Adam Smith International

Overseas project of the year: 2015

As other nations launch air strikes on terrorists in Syria and search for a solution to that country’s brutal civil war, Adam Smith International has been helping devastated communities to get back on their feet.

Over the past three years 210,000 people have died. Infrastructure has collapsed, basic services have disappeared and nine million have fled. The violence continues, as differing militia fight for control in one of the most complex conflicts of recent times.

The Tamkeen Al Mubadarat Al Mahalia (Empowering Local Initiatives) project is the first major UK non-humanitarian programme in Syria. Since November 2013, funded by the UK Conflict Pool and the European Union, Adam Smith International has been working in partnership with communities in moderate opposition and contested parts of Syria – Aleppo and Idlib to the north and Dera’a and rural Damascus to the south.

They have no formal governance, limited public services and are plagued with hundreds of armed militia. So how do you build local governance structures in places like these? This was the challenge that the Tamkeen project set out to meet in a fluid, complex and dangerous landscape.

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