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SADA Women’s Development and Solidarity Center’s overall goal is to support the social and economic stabilization of refugee women, and to contribute to their self-reliance and ability to co-exist with women from the host community by creating a women-only center that provides services to Syrian and host community women.
Lead Authority or Organization: Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality and UN Women
Area: Gaziantep, Turkey
Beneficiaries: Syrian and host community women, girls, and children
Timeline: August 2017 – ongoing
Human Resources: Project manager, project associate together with necessary staff in the center (ASAM), trainers (ILO) and women’s empowerment consultants (UN Women).
Funding Amount: $1 million
Source of Funding: Government of Japan
Gaziantep Municipality is one of the Turkish cities most affected by the refugee influx deriving from the Syrian crisis, hosting more than 400,000 refugees. The massive influx of refugees to Turkey has had an enormous impact on local communities. As a consequence, Gaziantep has experienced a huge pressure and demand on municipal services, infrastructures, human resources, and budget. Tensions between Syrian refugees and the host community are increasing, and participation of Syrians in the labor market is low, especially among women, thus resulting in a lack of self-sustainability and the need for external support.
Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality’s Migration Policy has a humanitarian and resilience approach based on gender equality, social justice, and human rights. The Municipality has responded to the Syrian crisis through providing various kinds of support, from ensuring basic needs, to finding creative ways to enhance integration, providing education, employment, health services, social services, and humanitarian aid. Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality puts high emphasis on trying to eliminate the negative socio-economic effects of this global crisis, with both short-term and long-term actions to provide an immediate response.
In this framework, the creation of SADA Women’s Development and Solidarity Center aims to mitigate social tensions in the society, support the social and economic inclusion of refugee women, and contribute to their self-reliance and ability to co-exist with women from the host community.
The women-only center provides women from the Syrian and host community with:
The project went through the following steps:
Evidence and Beneficiary Feedback
The number of beneficiaries entering the center and using its services has far exceeded the original yearly target numbers, with over 1,800 registrations in two months. Women are explicitly sharing their wish to participate in further courses. The registration system in the center provides evidence for the number of women attending courses, their basic needs and vulnerabilities, referrals and participation in activities. Simultaneous monitoring and evaluation is being carried out, to be reported in the end of the project year.
What benefeciaries say:
“Greetings from Syrian women to Turkish women! It is a challenge for Syrian refugees to live in the community here, especially with women’s rights and education. For Sada Women’s Center, I want to say that every woman has dreamed of this center for a long time. I am participating in the patient registration course in the center. In here, I feel like a hopeful woman! I have a lot of fun here, where my Syrian and Turkish friends treat me and each other like sisters. I would like to thank Sada Women’s Center and its employees for their support and cooperation with us.”
Challenges and Risks
Key Ingredients of Success
The project offers courses and trainings tailored to the needs of beneficiaries and to local labor market needs, thus securing its success for the long run.
The project uses the local and international expertise and experience by bringing together the Municipality, UN Women, ASAM, and ILO to join forces in enhancing women empowerment and resilience.
The innovative approach is demonstrated by the creation of a center with a holistic approach for women’s empowerment, integrating diverse services and approaches of socio-economic empowerment, protection, and social cohesion.
The project is implemented by UN Women in partnership with the Gaziantep Municipality, Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM) and International Labor Organization (ILO), with funding from the Japanese Government.
A local network was developed with the relevant local authorities, social service organizations, and the other UN institutions in the region, including UNHCR, IOM, and WFP.
This post is part of a series of case-studies published in the CMI 2018 Refugees' Compendium and featuring host communities experiences in hosting refugees with relation to local economic development. The information in-here was provided by focal points in the relevant institutions, NGOs, local governments, etc