US awards $300,000 to four Turkish projects to empower women

January 25, 2011, Tuesday/ 18:29:00/ YONCA POYRAZ DOĞAN

Four Turkish projects aimed at increasing women’s and girls’ access to education and healthcare and combating all forms of violence against women and girls were awarded a total of $300,000 from the US Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues in the implementation of its first small grants initiative program.

Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer, appointed by US President Barrack Obama, spoke at a press conference yesterday in İstanbul. During the announcement of recipients of the grants, she said they had received many valuable project proposals.

“I wish we could have funded even more projects because we had so many project proposals,” Verveer said, adding that 38 countries had been awarded funding for 57 projects.

One of the four Turkish organizations is the Mother and Child Education Foundation (AÇEV), which received approximately $95,000 to implement its “Raising Young Girls” project to benefit 2,550 young girls in İstanbul and Diyarbakır over the next 16 months.

Representing AÇEV, Çiğdem Kağıtçıbaşı said their programs in early education, family education and adult literacy have been exemplary since the organization was founded in 1993.

The Foundation for the Support of Women’s Work (KEDV), established in 1986, was granted $100,000 for its “solar cooker” project. Şengül Akçar from KEDV said they will work with local women’s cooperatives to implement the solar cooker project, which is aimed at reducing dependency on fossil fuels, providing economic advantages to women and providing benefits for those implementing the solar cooking project.

Two more projects received funding from donations to the US State Department by the Avon Foundation. One was the Hüseyin Özyeğin Foundation, which was awarded approximately $50,000 to implement its program “Empowering young women against violence.” Aslı Bekmen from the foundation said the funds will be utilized in the provinces of Diyarbakır, Şanlıurfa, Bitlis and Muş for seminars at six dormitories for girls housing 1,148 students.

The fourth grant was $50,000 for Anadolu University’s (AÜ) education projects for journalism students on the issue of gender. İncilal Cangöz from AÜ said their purpose will be to raise awareness of the language journalists use in their reporting of gender-related topics. She said they plan to educate 40 students from five universities and produce educational DVDs and books on the issue to be distributed at journalism schools.

Verveer’s visit to İstanbul will also include the inauguration of the US State Department sponsored “Invest for the Future: Women Driving Economic Growth Conference” -- a three-year program geared towards improving the economic situation for women across Southern and Eastern Europe and Eurasia. The conference on Jan. 24-26 will bring together 125 women business owners from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece and Turkey in İstanbul to learn about innovative ways women entrepreneurs can grow their businesses. The program is being implemented in partnership with the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGİDER).

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