The European Commission on December 11 announced additional humanitarian aid for two major projects through the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey, that both work by providing monthly transfers on a special debit card.

According to the Commission, €650m goes to the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) which is implemented by the World Food Programme. A further €50m will boost the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE) project implemented by Unicef.

“The EU is an innovator in humanitarian aid and we are stepping up funding for programmes that are bringing real results to over one million people,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. “With €1bn in funding, the Emergency Social Safety Net is improving lives and helping refugees and their host communities in Turkey. This is complemented by a programme encouraging children to go to school, by providing additional money on the same card. Let me commend the generosity of the Turkish people in hosting so many refugees.”

The ESSN programme works by providing monthly transfers to the most vulnerable refugees via a special debit card, allowing them to purchase essential items. It already supports over 1.1m refugees and will continue until the end of January 2019 with this additional funding.

The December 11 announcement brings total funding to the ESSN to €1bn.

Announced earlier this year, the CCTE project supports refugee families who register their children for school and ensure that they attend regularly. The programme, delivered by Unicef, helps cover the costs of education and supports families to send their children to school. The project has now reached the families of over 167,000 children, and aims to help 250,000 refugee children during its first year.

Both programmes are implemented in close partnership with the Turkish Red Crescent, and the Turkish authorities.

According to a European Commission press release, Turkey is host to the largest refugee population in the world – over 3.4mn people. The EU is showing solidarity and support to refugees and host communities in Turkey by providing €3bn in 2016-2017 through the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.