FOUNDATION FOR THE SUPPORT OF WOMEN’S WORK
Foundation for the Support of Women’s Work (FSWW), established in 1986, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization. It aims to support low income women groups to improve the quality of their lives and their communities and their leadership. It has a public interest status and tax exemption
FSWW’s Working Principles
*Recognizes the grassroots women’s expertise and their power in struggling with poverty and building their lives and their communities, and their rights to define and solve their problems.
*Respects grassroots women’s own values and avoids alienating them from themselves and their communities.
*Believes that equal participation of women in social, economic and political decision making process can only be realized at community and local level, seeks cooperation of local governments and other actors in the society.
* Works with grassroots women groups in solidarity as equal partners and its programs are rooted in synergy of women.
FSWW works with grassroots women groups at local level and carries out the following programs through the Women and Children Centers that FSWW establishes as grassroots women’s collective spaces used by thousands of women and children.
Early Child Care and Education Programs
FSWW develop alternative ways in expanding early child care and education services to low-income communities, through the leadership and advocacy role of grassroots women. With an educational approach bringing the children, families, educators and the community together, women cooperatively manage high quality early childcare and education programs. This program is internationally awarded and accredited by Vanderbilt University(USA).
Based on the local needs and the resources, child care and education services are provided through;
Parent-managed Day Care Centers: Community mothers establish and run community based child care and education centers for children of 3-6 years and cooperate with public and other relevant agencies.
Neighborhood Mothers: Experienced mothers are trained to provide child care and education services to 3-4 young children at their own homes.
Play Rooms: Children are provided with collective spaces arranged for learning thoroughly play and creative activities under the control of their mothers.
Individual and Collective Capacity Building Tools
FSWW’s participatory and process oriented approach aims to strengthen grassroots’ women’s capacity and networking to identify and produce solutions to their common problems, develop self-advocacy skills and become active partners in the local decision making process.
Training Programs with participatory sessions to develop skills and knowledge needed by women in issues they are involved.
Study Tours to good practices of similar groups.
Exchange Meetings among grassroots women groups to share their experiences and to learn from each other at local, national and international level.
Leadership and Organizing supports women groups to increase their leadership skills and organize around their strategic needs and turn into independent, registered organizations for partnership building, recognition and access to resources, local governance and integrate into regional and international grassroots women’s movement.
It started a movement of new cooperativizm and supported the establishment of 26 women’s cooperatives.
Dialogue Building Meetings regularly organized with other sectors (municipalities, public agencies, universities and other NGOs) and the women collectives for information sharing, visibility, recognition and accessing to resources. In this framework, the FSWW piloted a Gender Based Local Budget analysis and provided the grassroots women with a tool based on “rights” to negotiate with the local governments for resource allocation to their priorities.
Economic Empowerment Programs
FSWW initiated the following programs in order to increase women’s capacity to involve in economic development process.
Business and Product Development: Training and monitoring support to enable women to develop business ideas by analyzing the existing local economic and market opportunities and their own skills, and new products with market potential are developed and women’s skills are improved accordingly.
Micro Credit: FSWW has established a micro credit institution, MAYA. As the first micro credit program of Turkey, it provides credit to women to start or improve their small businesses, till now distributed more than 6000 credits.
Saving Groups: Hundreds of women are organized in saving groups of 10-15 members where they bring their own savings and create their own funds to borrow for their financial needs.
NAHIL Shop: FSWW established a shop at the ground floor of its building in Istanbul, where various kinds of products (handmade accessories, decorations etc.) produced by women from all around Turkey are sold as well as second hand clothes. The women’s products are also marketed through internet on the shop’s web site and other e-commerce sites.
FSWW also created a regular second hand bazaar under the same name, with local branches run by women initiatives, the profit of which goes to local early child care and education initiatives.
Women and Disaster Program: From Disaster to Development
The FSWW has actively involved in the post disaster efforts after the 17 August 1999 earthquake. It has managed to set up eight Women and Children centers’ in the region, which are run by women themselves. FSWW enabled women to move from being victims of disaster to active participants in transferring their communities from disaster areas to development. They organized in 6 registered independent organizations working in issues like governance, housing and reconstruction, economic initiatives/sustainability and child care and other community services. Additionally, 4 housing cooperatives are established with a participatory planning and housing approach, still continuing to negotiate for land allocation.
Based on its experience, the FSWW developed programs and materials in order to ensure women’s involvement in pre and post disaster efforts and increase their capacity for long term development issues.
Since 1999, FSWW is cooperating with other organizations in India, Iran, Indonesia etc. with similar experiences as a part of global working group on “Women and Disaster”, in order to influence the policies of governments, multinational development and humanitaran agencies to turn a “disaster” into an opportunity for sustainable community development.
The FSWW believes in the importance of global exchanges and participates in the global, regional conferences and peer exchange learning opportunities with similar groups. FSWW continues its international networking as a member of Groots International and the Huairou Commission attached to UNCHS which is founded in order to follow-up the implementation of Habitat II Agenda from women’s perspective.
Where FSWW Operates
The FSWW works with 45 formal and informal grassroots women groups all over Turkey and focuses on low income areas of Istanbul, Marmara earthquake region and east and Southeast part of Turkey.
Foundation for the Support of Women's Work
Bekar Sok. NO:17, Beyoglu/İstanbul/Turkey
Tel:(90)212 292 2672-75
Fax:(90)212 249 15 08