Visit to Balikesir 2014/2016

What we learned:

The theme of the training was focused on “Effective approaches of the Empowerment of Females in Muslim Communities.” The training workshops and organisational visits focused on the Development of women’s rights around the world. Here we looked at the historical milestones, the main arguments of diversity in feminist theories and the 2020 Millennium Development Goals for women.

The training also highlighted the development of Women’s Rights in the Muslim world and Turkey; the stereotypes about Muslim women, their history (pre-Ottoman experience), modernizing women (A new era in Turkey). We also looked at the contemporary conflicts and debates on Muslim women in Turkey. How the Turkish was meeting the 2020 Millennium Development Goals for women.

At a training workshop learning about Women Empowerment in Muslim Communities

The workshops on Vocational Training and Educating women were very insightful as we learnt about how the Government is supporting women across the board (Bottom-up) in raising awareness for economic independence, sustainability and supporting social enterprises aimed mainly at empowering Muslim women, especially mothers whose children have left homes (either in further education or in employment) as well as single mothers.

During our training workshops, we explored and shared our general impressions/ observations of women in Turkey, what were the biggest disadvantages of women in Turkey, the differences between women in the EU and Turkey, and how Islam affected the quality of life for Turkish women. This informed our hosts of the level of our understanding and also enabling us to become more informed about our host’s perspective.

Other workshops included, raising awareness for women’s Health and Child care, support systems for women experiencing domestic abuse/violence, counselling and legal services for women as well as visiting women’s shelters.

Discussing with various officials and visiting organisations involved in empowering females in communities across all levels in Balikesir.

Our training also included looking at what is being done in supporting women in prisons, how the rehabilitation and reintegration programme works, challenges, success stories and the way-forward. How political participation for women is encouraged (also looking at the cultural barriers and ways in which these are addressed to encourage more women participation in politics across all levels).

At the end of our visit, we explored future prospects for collaboration and developing new projects aimed at strengthening our partnerships between Balikesir University and Embrace. Some suggestions were made and we look forward to applying for future funding and we hope that developments in the UK’s future relations with the EU will not hinder potential collaborations, considering the overall benefits in the work already done and hope to do by both organisations.

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