About Us

Friends of the Syrian People e.V is an independent non-profit organization registered in Berlin since 2014. We follow a rights- and education-based approach in order to further the cause of Syrian rights and freedoms. Each of our team members has a track record of activism in human rights movements. Together, we have become an organization of reference for issues concerning both Syria and its citizens.

Our Policies

FDSV works to empower Syrian communities, in particular women and youth, by equipping them with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to achieve agency. We focus on: accountability and human rights, empowerment (education) and awareness, dialogue and advocacy.

Our projects are carried out in trainings and conferences, including networking on the national and international level. We advise and support Syrian CSOs, especially women’s groups, in their establishment phase and organizational development.

In addition, FSDV also offers legal assistance to Syrian citizens across Europe with difficulty in accessing personal documents and property in their homeland. In terms of advocacy, we work to lobby governments, decision makers, INGOs, as well as the wider public to raise awareness for the cause of Syrian rights and freedoms.

Mission Statement

We seek to provide development and benefit to those that work with us. FDSV e.V. is dedicated to building long-term partnerships that create value to our beneficiaries, partners and donors. We empower Syrian communities, in particular women and youth, by equipping them with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to achieve agency. To this work, we apply a deep knowledge about Syrian realities, practices and laws, as well as good business practices. Our projects focuss on: capacity building, advocacy, accountability and human rights, as well as dialogue and awareness. We advise and support Syrian CSOs, particularly women’s groups, in their founding and development. Finally, we lobby governments, decision makers and the wider public to further the cause of Syrian rights and freedoms.

Code of Ethics

The “Friends of the Syrian People e.V.” was built on the foundation of professional conduct, a strong work ethic, and personal honesty. It is our responsibility to protect and expand this legacy, and our work must reflect this responsibility. Maintaining a reputation as a reliable partner requires a constant commitment to truthfulness and compliance. Our Code of Ethics covers the policies below - each of them helps our members and employees to meet the standards and responsibility mentioned above. This code applies to all directors, managers and employees in our organization and our operations. All freelancers, consultants, subcontractors and agents who work on behalf of the FDSV e.V. may be required to confirm their understanding and compliance with relevant provisions. 

  • Courage to do the right thing: Our policies, guidelines and regulations may not cover every possible situation you will encounter in the workplace. Sometimes the correct course of action is not clear. If you are in doubt, always remember to ask before you act. We shall move quickly and appropriately to respond to any wrong communications for which we are responsible.
  • Commitment to honesty: We adhere to highest standards of accuracy and truth to advance the interests of our beneficiaries, partners and donors. We do not pay or provide hidden rewards in exchange for an expectation of favors. We do not mislead partners or colleagues about what can be competently delivered and achieved. We respect and preserve intellectual rights in the marketplace.
  • Commitment to laws: We obey the law, in letter and spirit. All of our employees must respect and obey the laws of the nations, regions, and cities in which we operate. This is the foundation on which our work ethic rests. All employees and free lancers should be aware of situations that may require direct or indirect input from us about the legal requirements that apply to their tasks. We do not accept any act that violates the law, even when such action appears to be in a partner’s best interests.
  • Commitment to professionalism: Personally, we perform on the highest level possible to us. In order to assure good business practices, we adhere to separation of tasks. Key executive functions, such as accounting and administration, cannot not be performed by one and the same person. This principle shall apply independently of quality assurance oversight, and it applies to financial cross-checking in particular. A “four-eyes principle” shall apply to all clearances for salaries, procurement and outsourced services.

Hiring Policy 

We follow ethical hiring practices designed to respect free and open competition. To encourage gender equality, we actively pursue a policy of hiring male and female experts equally. We acquire and responsibly use specialized knowledge and expertise where ever necessary to perform our work. We do not accept employees or consultants that are members of anti-democratic movements or political parties. To maintain the confidentiality of information entrusted to us, everyone must sign a non-disclosure agreement before starting employment with FDSV e.V. Exceptions can be granted only when authorized by the managing director and permitted by local laws or regulations.

Anti-Corruption Policy

We are committed to professionalism, fairness and in all our business relationships and in the promotion of our goals. We take a zero-tolerance approach to corruption and bribery. Any employee who breaches this policy will face disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal or criminal liability charges. Any consultant who breaches this policy may have their contract terminated with immediate effect - this may also be the case if we have reasonable suspicion of corruption. This policy is part of all employee and consultant contracts. It applies to all persons working for us in any capacity or on our behalf, including volunteers or interns.

What is Bribery? Bribery means a financial reward or other inducement for an action that is illegal, unethical, a breach of trust or improper in any way. Bribes can take the form of money, gifts, loans, fees, hospitality, services, discounts, the award of a contract or any other advantage or benefit. Bribery includes offering, promising, giving, accepting or seeking a bribe. All forms of bribery are strictly prohibited. If you are unsure about whether a particular act constitutes bribery, raise it with your manager or u.darrah@fdsv.org

In particular, you must not:

  • give or offer a payment, gift, hospitality or other benefit in the expectation that a business advantage will be received in return, or to reward any business received;
  • accept any offer from a third party that you know or suspect is made with the expectation that we will provide a business advantage for them or anyone else; or
  • give or offer any facilitation payment to a government official in any country to facilitate or speed up a routine or necessary procedure;
  • threaten or retaliate against another person who has refused to offer or accept a bribe or who has raised concerns about possible bribery or corruption.

This policy does not prohibit the giving or accepting of reasonable and appropriate hospitality for legitimate purposes, such as networking or promoting the reputation of FdSV e.V. A gift or hospitality will not be appropriate if it is unduly lavish or extravagant, or could be seen as an inducement or reward for any preferential treatment, especially during a tender process or contract negotiations. Gifts must be of an appropriate type and value - they must not include cash (or vouchers), or be given in secret. Donations and gifts must be given in the name of FdSV, not your own name.

You must declare and keep a written record of all hospitality or gifts given or received. You must also submit all expenses claims relating to hospitality, gifts or payments to third parties in accordance with our expenses policy and record the reason for expenditure. All accounts, invoices, and other records relating to dealings with third parties including suppliers should be prepared with strict accuracy and completeness. Accounts must not be kept “off-book” to facilitate or conceal improper payments.

How to raise a concern?

If you are asked to do or witness something unethical or against the law, you are expected to report your concerns to management as described above. Failure to identify and respond to issues can put you, the firm, and our employees at further risk. If you are aware of illegal or unethical conduct, but fail to report it, you may be subject to disciplinary action. Under some laws you may even be subject to legal action.

You must make every effort to avoid situations where our decisions or actions could be seen as a conflict of interest. This can take different forms, including when a person’s private interests interfere with the interests of FDSV e.V. You are accountable for ensuring your actions live up to our standards and expectations. Employees who violate these policies may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment as allowable by law.

Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Molestation Policy

The FDSV e.V. is committed to providing a workplace that is free from sexual harassment. Such behavior in the workplace can be against the law and will not be tolerated. If we determine that an allegation of sexual harassment is credible, we will take prompt and appropriate corrective action.

What Is Sexual Harassment? Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute harassment when:

  • An employment decision affecting that individual is made because the individual submitted to or rejected the unwelcome conduct; or
  • The unwelcome conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive work environment.

Actions such as the following are inappropriate and, depending on the circumstances, may in and of themselves meet the definition of sexual harassment or contribute to a hostile work environment:

  • Sexual pranks or repeated sexual teasing, jokes, or innuendo, in person or via e-mail;
  • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature;
  • Touching or grabbing of a sexual nature;
  • Repeatedly standing too close to or brushing up against a person;
  • Repeatedly asking a person to socialize during off-duty hours, when the person has said “no” or has indicated he / she is not interested;
  • Giving gifts or leaving objects that are sexually suggestive;
  • Repeatedly making sexually suggestive gestures;
  • Making or posting sexually demeaning or offensive pictures, cartoons or other materials in the workplace;
  • Off-duty, unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that affects the work environment. A victim of sexual harassment can be a man or a woman.

Reporting Procedure FDSV e.V. does not permit or allow any molestation to occur in the workplace or at any activity sponsored by or related to it. This Zero-Tolerance-Policy must be clear to all members, employees, consultants and volunteers. There are mandatory procedures that everyone must follow when they witness or learn of molestation or sexual harassment. All staff members who learn of it being committed must immediately report to our Gender Officer, Daad Josef.

Investigation & Follow Up We take allegations of molestation and sexual harassment seriously. Once an allegation is reported, we will promptly, thoroughly and impartially initiate an investigation to determine whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that a violation has been committed. We reserve the right to place the subject of the investigation on an involuntary leave of absence. To the fullest extent possible, but consistent with our legal obligation to report suspected abuse to appropriate authorities, we will seek to keep the identities of the alleged victims and investigation subject confidential.

Policy on Contracting

All external contracts with a remuneration above 1.000 EUR shall be awarded upon reviewing at least three written applications from viable candidates. Upon receiving viable CVs, we then check the documents for data integrity. Before starting employment with FDSV e.V., all individuals must sign a non-disclosure agreement to maintain the security and confidentiality of information entrusted to them. Exceptions are granted only when authorized by the managing director or permitted by local laws or regulations. FDSV e.V. does not award contracts to persons that are affiliated with anti-democratic movements or political parties.

Policy on Procurements

The project manager of a FDSV project with shall be authorized to independently make procurements up to 500 EUR. Procurements with a value above 500 EUR shall be made with knowledge and written consent of the Managing Director. Procured items with a value above 1.000 EUR shall be selected from three alternative quotations, including a reasonable clarification on why this item was chosen.

Our Team

Dr. Usahma
Raji Abdulsalam
Rahaf M. Salama
Daad Mousa

Executive Manager:

Dr. Usahma Felix Darrah

Programs Director:

Raji Abdel-Salam

Monitoring & Evaluation :

Rahaf Salama

Legal & Gender Officer:

Daad Josef, attorney-at-law

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