Volunteer teams launch initiatives to create safe community in northern countryside of Aleppo 

Community support volunteers are selecting the contractors of the Marea Park project - 24 May 2020 (Facebook-Tawafoq Initiative)

Community support volunteers are selecting the contractors of the Marea Park project - 24 May 2020 (Facebook-Tawafoq Initiative)


Enab Baladi – Aleppo Countryside 

Volunteer teams have been actively involved in creating a consensual environment between members of the community (both displaced people and residents) and strengthening volunteer teams in areas under the control of opposition factions. The activities of these voluntary teams have varied between awareness campaigns of all kinds, campaigns intended to to help the displaced people, mainly the newly arrived ones as well as diverse training courses. 

“Tawafoq” is an initiative launched by one of those volunteer teams in the city of Marea in the northern countryside of Aleppo in October 2019. The initiative announced the start of its first project last May after conducting dozens of mini-meetings with segments of the community in the city. 

After studying more than 70 requirements and needs of the people in the area, the initiative’s organizers concluded that “creating a safe space for the community members” is the first and most important project, the volunteer Muhammed Hafez told Enab Baladi. The initiative is going to set up a park that has games and activities appropriate for both adults and children. 

To maintain the sustainability of the park project, a committee was formed, consisting of the initiative’s members, the neighborhood mukhtar, members of the neighborhood’s residents, some interested in the project from the city, individuals from governmental organizations and service institutions, to follow up activities which are implemented, and managed in cooperation with other parties that will provide services of cleaning, guarding, paying the rent, and other services. 

The initiative team is composed of various categories of young men and women, residents, and displaced people. The initiative is extended to Hazano and Kafr Takharim regions in the northern countryside of Idlib. It has started its activities in a campaign to introduce the dangers of the coronavirus (COVID-19), according to Muhammed Hafez.

In cooperation with the Syrian Civil Defense (SCD) and Idlib’s health directorate, and coordination with the “health office” and “stabilization support unit” in Marea, the team distributed educational “brochures”, carried out field outreach activities, and sent out community messages via social media sites.

Muhammad Najjar, a resident of the city of Marea, described the initiative’s efforts as “beneficial”, in light of the risks of the COVID’s spread in the region not ready to cope with the pandemic. Speaking with Enab Baladi, the initiative teams talked about the coronavirus protective means, including sterilizing and wearing masks in addition to the importance of following both personal and general protection measures against the COVID-19.

Although northwestern Syria has not recorded any coronavirus cases yet, other volunteer teams, such as “For You, My Country” and “Let’s Be with Them,” worked to provide similar educational services in towns in the northeastern countryside of Aleppo, such as Dabiq, and some camps in the region. 

The volunteer teams enhanced awareness of the health risks of the global pandemic and distributed relief assistance when available. 

In a study carried out by the “REACH” initiative which is partnered with the UN, 12 to 13 percent of the population of the northern and eastern countryside of Aleppo obtain their information about the coronavirus through awareness campaigns, and they consider these campaigns as the most reliable source of information by 51 percent.

This article was prepared in cooperation with the correspondent Abdul Salam Mejaan

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