Since 1987, FSWW has been working to promote and improve the quality of child care and education services, which are important to women’s participation in economic life. As part of this, it has developed an innovative model both in terms of the organization of these services and educational approach, with neighborhood creches/playrooms implementing alternative education programs supported by neighborhoods and run by women.
The model it has developed provides an important alternative to meet both the childcare and educational needs as well as improve the living conditions of low-income women and their communities, filling a gap in the public sphere. Under this model, the ECE services provided under women’s leadership have proven an important strategy in the elimination of poverty and the empowerment of low-income women.
An academic group from Yildiz University’s Educational Science Department volunteered to evaluate the impact of FSWW work on Women and Children Centers and found it suitable for dissemination. Additionally, the FSWW model, which has been featured in various international publications, was selected for the “best implementation” award in an international early childhood education and development contest (MEDCHILD). In 2007, a team from Vanderbilt University (USA) evaluated the program to acredit it and found that with its high quality education, it could be promoted around the world.
FSWW’s model has attracted interest and visits from similar groups abroad (Kenya, the US, Germany, Canada, India, Greece, the Netherlands etc.). In the same way, FSWW has shared experience with groups from India, Indonesia and Iran to be more informed.
FSWW has the goal of “a day care center in every neighborhood” under this model, and so far has opened 23 Woman and Child Centers in 12 provinces including İstanbul, Sakarya, Kocaeli, Düzce, Diyarbakır, Mardin, assisting more than 2,000 women and children per year.
Under this model, FSWW first brings women in need together. It enables women in the neighborhood to analyse the situation and needs of children between 0 and 6 years of age. In accordance with this, the organization supports the women, who have determined the services to be provided, to mobilize local resources and open a woman and child center. It also supports these women’s groups in founding a cooperative to establish an institutional identity. At these centers, early childhood education and childcare as well as various activities catering to women are provided.
Neighborhood Day Care Center: With the support of social services and municipalities, these centers run by women provide full- or part-day early child care and education. The continuity of these services is supported by FSWW along with families, neighborhood residents, local government and the profits from the business activities of women’s groups.
Neighborhood Mothers: To expand early childhood education beyond the center, this program involves home visits to children between the ages of 0 and 6 and their families by trained mothers.
Playrooms/Play Groups: This program designates space for children 3-8 years in age to learn by playing and develop their creativity under the supervision of mothers.