Coding with EMPACT: Tech training is empowering Syrian refugees and youth in Turkey

The first cohort of EMPACT students in Turkey took part in two entirely virtual coding bootcamps in October and November 2020.

Rebuilding lives in turbulent times

Launching EMPACT in Turkey has been a logical step. The country hosts the world’s largest displaced population and is home to 4 million refugees, including more than 3.6 million who have fled the conflict in Syria.

Untapped talent pool

On the other end of the spectrum, Turkey’s tech industry is facing skills shortages. In line with the government’s 2023 Industry and Technology Strategy, the number of software developers across the country needs to grow from 140,000 to 500,000 to meet the IT sector’s demands.

Fighting hunger with code

The first cohort of EMPACT in Turkey launched in Istanbul with outreach activities aimed at low-income youth and selection criteria designed to promote diversity and inclusion in the tech sector. For example, since women make up only 17% of tech talent in Turkey, at least half of the participants in each group are female. Out of 100 young people selected for the first cohort, almost half of them are Syrian refugees.

Turkey had a greater influx of people fleeing conflict than any other country and hosts more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees. Photo: WFP/Deniz Akkus.

From the Bosphorus to the south

As the future of work evolves rapidly, and the global pandemic re-emphasizes the importance of IT literacy, EMPACT will continue creating new employment pathways for young refugees and youth from host communities in the technology sector.

Read more about EMPACT

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WFP Innovation Accelerator

WFP Innovation Accelerator

Sourcing, supporting and scaling high-impact innovations to disrupt hunger.