The BATAL Program: Support to Syria Civil Defence
Mayday’s flagship programme is the Batal Programme, which provides support to Syria Civil Defence, the “White Helmets”.
In Syria, 2012, the Syrian conflict became increasingly characterised by heavy artillery bombardment and indiscriminate aerial attacks on civilian areas. With communities unprepared for the onslaught, ordinary citizens rushed to help their families and neighbours, forming ad-hoc volunteer rescue teams. In March 2013, twenty of these community volunteers from northern Syria were trained in urban search and rescue techniques in Turkey. They became the first team of what is now known as Syria Civil Defence (SCD). Since then, SCD has grown into Syria’s largest and most effective civil society organization. With 110 teams across the country and over 2,700 volunteers, they have saved the lives of more than 24,448 people and have become a force for hope and stability in Syria.
The Batal Programme consists of multiple complementary projects that provide support to Syria Civil Defence along four pillars: community engagement, organisational sustainability, training and equipment, and advocacy.
Mayday is currently assessing opportunities for implementation of Civil Defence-based stabilisation programmes in other countries in the Middle East, including Yemen and Iraq.