HREP PROGRAM PARTNERS
PARTNERSHIPS WITH MUNICIPALITIES AND THE HREP PARTNERSHIP PROTOCOL

Due to political circumstances and developments in the country, WWHR-New Ways shifted its focus on to municipalities as partners for the implementation of HREP especially from 2012 onwards. Four HREP Training of Trainers (TOT) courses were therefore held in 2013, 2016 and 2017, mostly targeting women municipality employees working in the women’s counseling centers or social assistance/service units of municipalities, as a result of which we forged sustainable institutional partnerships with these municipalities. We signed protocols to further formalize some of these partnerships that are still ongoing with over 40 municipalities, most of which are Izmir-based.

In the past two years we have signed HREP Partnership Protocols with a total of 16 municipalities. These municipalities are listed below in alphabetical order:

PARTNERSHIPS WITH WOMEN’S ORGANIZATIONS

WWHR-New Ways makes a special effort to build lasting partnerships with local women’s organizations, which it considers its natural partners, and it prioritizes collaborating with them not only on HREP, but also in national and international women’s networks. Local HREP implementations have proven vastly effective in getting new and independent women’s organizations started – especially in places where none were yet in existence. In addition to this, women from HREP played a major role in the advancement of existing women’s organizations in their localities and in involving them in political mechanisms. In time, these local organizations became institutional partners of WWHR-New Ways and enrolled one or more of their members in HREP Training of Trainers courses to then start implementing the program in their own region. These partnerships formed with dozens of women’s organizations to date, continue contributing to the local empowerment of women on the one hand, and the establishment of new partnerships with other women’s organizations on the other.

As a collaborative effort of WWHR-New Ways and the Muş Women’s Roof Association, we developed a 10-module Training Manual for the Empowerment Program for Young Girls targeting girls aged 15 to 18. Yet, since the Muş Women’s Roof Association was shut down by a statutory decree issued towards the end of 2016, just as the pilot implementation was to begin, the program was never tested on the field. Though a clear plan as to where and with whom the program is to be implemented is still nowhere in sight, it is supposed that the potential impact will be quite high. We intend this pilot implementation to be part of our plans for the upcoming years, depending on future circumstances.

Our partnerships with women’s organizations who have been implementing HREP as part of their own agenda have been growing rapidly, especially since 2016. In addition to the Van Women’s Association and Muş Women’s Roof Association shut down by statutory decree in November 2016, we have been collaborating on project development as an act of solidarity with other feminist organizations such as the Izmir Women’s Solidarity Association, Association for Struggle Against Sexual Violence, East and Southeastern Anatolia Businesswomen’s Association, and the Mor Çatı Women’s Shelter Foundation. Educational activities to be carried out in the upcoming period within the scope of these resulting projects, such as HREP and seminars, will be undertaken in partnership with WWHR-New Ways.

PARTNERSHIP WITH THE INTERNATIONAL LABOR ORGANIZATION (ILO) OFFICE FOR TURKEY

Women’s Human Rights Trainings (WHRT)

As a result of a long-standing collaboration with the International Labor Organization (ILO) Ankara Office, WWHR-New Ways signed an agreement with the ILO in March 2015 for the project “More and Better Jobs for Women: Women’s Empowerment through Decent Work in Turkey”. We were responsible for developing and implementing group activities for a 10-week WHRT program based on HREP and seminars on gender equality as part of the project, which had the Turkish Employment Agency (İŞKUR) as its main beneficiary or key partner. When İŞKUR withdrew from the project in October 2015, revisions were made to the project to include certain municipalities in the pilot provinces as new beneficiaries. 19 municipalities were considered in this regard, as a result of which 7 municipalities signed cooperation agreements with the ILO. These were the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality and Osmangazi Municipality in Bursa, the Maltepe Municipality and Kadıköy Municipality in Istanbul, as well as the Yenimahalle, Altındağ, and Çankaya Municipalities in Ankara. A 10th HREP Training of Trainers (ToT) course was also held for women employees of these aforementioned municipalities. A total of 56 WHRT groups were run from March 2016 up until the completion of the field phase in February 2017, with the partipation of 827 women who had been attending the vocational trainings and hobby/leisure courses offered by the 7 municipalities. A manual comprising the 10 modules listed below and a 10-piece booklet series were developed for the pilot WHRT program, along with various other materials and publications based on the main content and methodology of HREP:

  1. Introduction and Women’s Human Rights
  2. Constitutional Rights
  3. Civil Rights
  4. Gender Equality
  5. Communication
  6. Violence Against Women
  7. Strategies Against Violence
  8. Women and Health
  9. Women’s Economic Rights – Section I
  10. Women’s Economic Rights – Section II
Publications for WHRT

Feedback from WHRT Participants

Women learn to stand on their own two feet. Whether they be housewives or women who have been employed in various jobs, all participants learn how to stand on their own two feet, to be self-confident. Self-confidence is so unbelievably important… And they also learn to listen. Communication is also very important; no matter where you go, even the street market, communication is something you’re confronted with everywhere. How you communicate with your husband, your children, your mother, your father – it all matters so much.

- WHRT Participant, Ankara, 2018

Seeing your own self-worth. Standing on your own two feet no matter what happens. I mean, I would be able to gain my financial independence just by baking bread. It’s what keeps you standing.

- WHRT Participant, Bursa, 2018

I went there thinking ‘what nonsense will they feed us about women this, and women that’. You see because I don’t like that kind of discrimination… But I was just curious, so I still went. I saw (myself) above all that women’s rights babble, so (I thought) I’d go and just quit whenever I wanted, but things couldn’t have turned out more differently. This program helped me get to know myself. It helped me get to know women much better. I (understood) that we need to be a lot more organized to claim our rights. Having emerged at the other end, I now think it’s a program every woman should go through. There’s a serious difference between how I started out and how I ended up.

- WHRT Participant, Ankara, 2018

We have friends who started their own businesses after they did the group. (Because) they gained the necessary self-confidence. Some ran as candidates for neighborhood representative (mukhtar) in the elections. There were those who became politically active, we were all very supportive of them. I, for instance, had worked in the construction sector for 32 years; I had no problems financially, but in our group there was someone who had nothing but a primary school degree and she ran for neighborhood representative in the elections.

- WHRT Participant, Ankara, 2018

Gender Equality Seminars

As part of its project with the ILO, WWHR-New Ways started pilot implementations of seminars focusing on gender equality in 2016, called “I Support Equality” seminars. A total of 1345 people (546 women and 799 men) working in partner municipalities, private companies and labor unions took part in the 18 seminars conducted. In light of this experience, WWHR-New Ways revised the original content according to feedback from the field, organizing it into 4-hour sessions titled “Gender Equality Seminars”, which it then implemented with various NGOs and the employees of 3 partner municipalities that had signed on to the HREP protocol. As of March 2018 we have carried out a total of 11 seminars – 9 for the employees of the Kadıköy Municipality in Istanbul, Çankaya Municipality in Ankara, and Karabağlar Municipality in Izmir, and 2 for NGO volunteers in Istanbul and Izmir – with the participation of 459 people (168 men and 261 women).

Feedback from Seminar Participants

For instance, they (told) those who like blue to step to one side and those who enjoy driving to step to the other. It was as though they wanted us to see that loving your car has nothing to do with being a man, there are women who equally enjoy driving… They also (asked) whether there were those of us who didn’t like taking care of children, calling into question why childcare is considered a woman’s duty after all. It wasn’t like other seminars, it had this dynamism.

- GE Seminar Participant, Istanbul, 2018

Before the seminar, I thought gender equality was all about men and women being equal, but after the seminar I saw there was more to it than that. We (learned) that gender equality is about how the weight of roles attributed to people puts everyone at a disadvantage, and about people being allowed to undertake tasks they are capable of and entitled to positive discrimination for when they can’t.

- GE Seminar Participant, Izmir, 2018

We (learned) why it’s always pink (clothing) for girls and blue for boys, and that it’s actually mothers and fathers who are the first discriminate without even realizing they are doing so. I speak for myself too when I say that we perpetuate that prejudice ourselves, without being aware.

- GE Seminar Participant, Izmir, 2018

I used to think you always had to hire a woman (to do the cleaning), that this was a woman’s job, and there was no way a man could clean windows, it would simply be blasphemous. But (a male participant who said he cleaned windows) described the strong bond of love he had with his wife. That really uprooted the way I had been thinking. I let go of my rigid views. Now I say, ‘men too can do it when need be’.

- GE Seminar Participant, Izmir, 2018

Most participants probably didn’t know the municipality has a Gender Equality Division, because it’s been established pretty recently. Municipal staff are also given numerous trainings on technical issues, but this is the very first training they received on this matter. The entire personnel received it. That’s a good thing.

- GE Seminar Participant, Istanbul, 2018

The entire municipality should be put through this training.

- GE Seminar Participant, Municipal Employee, Woman, Istanbul, 2017

I wish such seminars would be implemented more widely.

- GE Seminar Participant, Municipal Employee, Woman, Istanbul, 2017

The choice of language in the presentation was really good. It’s very important that the concept of gender be explained with examples from life.

- GE Seminar Participant, Municipal Employee, Woman, Ankara, 2017

There were very few men in the seminar, while I think men should be the majority of participants.

- GE Seminar Participant, Municipal Employee, Man, Ankara, 2017

It was interesting to see how the same stereotypes were alive in us even though we thought we were different in terms of our views on equality. It also surprised me to see that divisions between the genders start while yet an infant and continue throughout all areas of life.

- GE Seminar Participant, Municipal Employee, Man, Izmir, 2017