Innovations for women's empowerment

01 Oct 2008


Twelve years of sound and fruitful cooperation between United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Turkey and Southeastern Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration (GAP RDA) has been rejuvenated by a new project, signed on March 2008, named “Innovations for Women’s Empowerment in the GAP Region”.

New Horizons - This is a follow-up to the UNDP-GAP joint project, “Strengthening Regional Development and Reduction of Socio-Economic Disparities in the GAP Region, Phase II”, which was concluded in November 2007.

The new project is a women’s empowerment initiative as well as an institutional capacity intervention that builds on policy analysis conducted by the national and international civil society, as well as local level programming experience. As 2004 National Human Development Report for Turkey states, the gender-based human development ranking of Diyarbakır, Batman, Mardin, Siirt, Gaziantep and Kilis are worse than their human development indicators.

It is also known that Southeastern Anatolia Region suffers from a set of market integration challenges that further constrain the opportunities for women’s advancement. In such an environment, this project pinpoints the Region’s needs and aims at women’s empowerment in Southeast Anatolia in social and economic life through innovative production-marketing related strategies and re-branding. In order to achieve this, it is planned to pursue a multi-dimensional approach focusing on enhancing institutional capacities and women’s labour market participation, branding of the Southeast Anatolia and developing new sales and marketing opportunities.

Fashionably Assisting Women in Nine Cities

“Nine Designers for Nine Cities” sub-project occurs as an exciting example of this multi-dimensional approach, where Fashion Designers Society join hands with disadvantaged women in the Region to provide technical assistance and training support in fashion design. This partnership brings nine prominent fashion designers to nine cities in the Region to work closely with women and develop products to be sold in major fashion outlets.

A significant result of this joint venture shows itself in the 2008 summer collection of renowned fashion designer Arzu Kaprol. Kaprol worked closely with women in Mardin and searched through a wide range of traditional handicrafts, embroidery art and local fabrics. This inspiring and productive experience with women in Mardin led her to design a unique pattern by recreating and modernizing the traditional embroideries, which later became the main figure of her summer collection. Please visit Summer 2008 Collection.

“Innovations for Women’s Empowerment in the GAP Region” is executed by GAP Regional Development Administration with financial support of Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and technical assistance provided by UNDP Turkey.

For further information on the project please visit: