Empowering Women and Children: The Mission of Solidarity for Equality Association

The Solidarity for Equality Association (Eşitlik için Dayanışma Derneği), dedicated to advancing women’s and children’s rights, is receiving grant support from our Regional Recovery Support Program, launched as part of our Kahramanmaras Earthquake Emergency Relief Fund, in collaboration with the Support Foundation for Civil Society (Sivil Toplum için Destek Vakfı). The association is providing training to five civil society organisations that will hold workshops reaching 5,000 children in three provinces with a high number of internally displaced survivors.

Please read the following interview with the association for an insight into their work and the impact of their initiatives.

Can you tell us about your work and your contributions to the field of women’s and children’s rights?

Women and children are among the groups most affected by crises and experience greater inequality. Our association focuses on facilitating their access to rights and services. We aim to improve the quality of the work of organisations working in this field.

You are implementing the “Child-Centred Capacity Building Program for Civil Society Organisations in Provinces Receiving Migration Post-Earthquakes” with our grant support. Can you tell us about the objectives and activities of the project? 

The main objective of our project is to sustain the work and efforts of civil society organisations (CSOs) working with children in the provinces that received migration after the 6 February earthquakes. Child safety, child participation, and non-violent organising can be listed as sub-headings related to this objective. To build capacity in these areas, we are currently collaborating with five CSOs in Bursa, Izmir, and Mardin. Using a rights-based and non-violent approach, we conducted a five-day program on child safety and individual empowerment with the aim of revitalising child-related initiatives in these provinces.

We support the establishment of a functioning child safety policy and mechanism.

We appoint mentors for those CSOs with whom we will be working for a long time. We work in areas where they need it, primarily on child safety policy. At the end of this process, we support them in establishing a functioning child safety policy and mechanisms.

What can be done to ensure the sustainability of the project? 

One of the main objectives here is to answer the question “Can this program be a model and can it be replicated?”. This is why we have an independent impact assessment expert. The expert conducts field visits with the team and prepares participatory observation reports. In this way, we will have seen the long-term impact of the project and its activities.

What are the future goals and activities of your organisation, and how has the current project influenced your plans?

Since its inception, the Solidarity for Equality Association has aimed to improve both its own capacity and to support other organisations in the field. The earthquakes required us to take action quickly, and the project has been an important and guiding contribution to our association in this sense. 

In addition, the project allowed us to identify existing gaps in the field and to create content, models, and mechanisms to fill these gaps, which is another goal of our association. It’s also possible to say that it has contributed to us personally. We found the opportunity to share new experiences and complement each other’s shortcomings.

This grant support showed us once again how important it is to join forces.

The field of rights-based work and the number of CSOs engaged in this field are shrinking. These CSOs are more insular, more ‘far from the field’. One of our goals for the future is to do research and go deeper into this issue. 

As a new organisation, you have knowledge, intention, and desire, but unfortunately, none of this can be realised without efficient resources. At this point, the grant support we received from the Kahramanmaras Earthquake Emergency Relief Fund showed us once again how important it is to join forces.

About the Solidarity for Equality Association

The Association for Solidarity for Equality was established in Istanbul in 2022 to contribute to the coexistence of individuals and different social groups in a non-discriminatory, violence-free society where resources are fairly distributed. The association collaborates with civil society organisations across Türkiye to enhance equal access to rights and services for disadvantaged individuals and groups, especially women and children.