2006-2010 United Nations Joint Program

The “Joint Program to Promote and Protect Human Rights of Women and Girls” (UNJP in short) which involved all of the United Nations agencies in Turkey, the Ministry of Interior, the Sabanci Foundation and Sabanci University was implemented in order to improve the quality and gender focus of local services, to protect women’s rights and increase awareness on the topic.

Information About the Program


  • All UN Agencies in Turkey (Program led by UNFPA)
  • Ministry of Interior
  • Sabanci Foundation
  • Sabanci University


  • Sabanci Foundation
  • UN Agencies in Turkey
  • Embassies/ Bi-lateral Agencies of: Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, England, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and Norway

Cities and Duration

  • Izmir, Kars, Nevsehir, Sanliurfa, Trabzon and Van
  • Duration of the Program: 4 years (Start: December 2005, End: January 2010)

Program Objective

The general objective of the Program is to accelerate the implementation of the commitments to gender equality at the local level and to increase the capacity of local governments and local NGOs that work to promote gender equality in order to contribute to the reinforcement of women’s rights.


  • The UNJP activities which are collected under three major areas (Local Capacity and Policy Development, Sabanci Foundation Grant Program and Sabanci University Purple Certificate Program) are summarized below:


  • Public Opinion Survey: In order for the results of “Joint Program to Promote and Protect Human Rights of Women and Girls” to be effective and realistic, it is very important that the needs, demands and priorities of women are verified. In order to carry out this verification, a public opinion survey among 3.000 women and men in Izmir, Kars, Nevsehir, Sanliurfa, Trabzon and Van was carried out. In this public opinion survey, the aim was to define the general contours of the problems related to family, education, access to local services, civic and political participation. The results of the research both reflected the problems and demands of women living in pilot cities and also facilitated an understanding of the perceptions and opinions of men on these matters.
  • Gender Trainings: Over four years, 3.420 participants from local governments and NGOs attended trainings on gender, gender based budgeting and gender policies.
  • Local Equality Action Plans for Women and Girls: Local Equality Action Plans to promote better services and access to women and girls were developed through a joint platform of local government and NGO representatives. These plans were later adopted by local councils at the Municipal and Governorship levels.
  • Equal Opportunities Commissions and Local Equality Units: Equal Opportunities Commissions established at the Provincial and Municipal Assemblies and Local Equality Units established at Governorships and Municipalities are the institutional structures established for monitoring the implementation of Local Equality Action Plans and delivery of local policies and services from a gender perspective. Such Commissions and Units take initiatives to guarantee the implementation of gender equality objectives, evaluate the decisions from a gender equality perspective, monitor the implementation of such decisions and cooperate with local NGOs.
  • Service Delivery for Women and Girls: Throughout the implementation of the UNJP, several new Women Support Centers, Shelters, Nurseries and Vocational Training programs, better illumination of streets, re-design of public parks according to women’s needs were undertaken thus providing more services to women and girls.
  • A Model for Turkey: Turkish Ministry of Interior Circular to Expand the Program: In line with the UN Millennium Development Goals to promote gender equality, the Ministry of Interior issued a circular to instruct 81 provinces across Turkey to adopt the model developed by UNJP (Local Equality Action Plans development and creation of equality Commissions and Divisions) to promote the rights of women and girls at the local level.


  • Building Capacity for NGOs and Organizations: Sabanci Foundation Grant Program supported 34 projects in program cities reaching over 300.000 people, addressing the critical priority areas of Local Equality Action Plans.
  • Circular to Promote and Protect the Rights of Seasonal Migrant Farmers: As a result of one of the grants supported by the Sabanci Foundation, the Turkish Prime Ministry issued a circular calling for measures to improve the access to services and rights of Seasonal Migrant Farmers in Turkey. One of the main grantees in the Sabanci Foundation Grant Program - Harran University, Dr. Zeynep Simsek - has been leading this work and obtained both financial support and visibility to move this issue to the national agenda.


  • The Purple Certificate Program for Teachers: To date 2.144 teachers and other participants from Western and Eastern Turkey have attended seminars and 206 teachers have received Purple Certificates (certified by the Ministry of Education and considered in service training) after successful completion of a week-long training program at Sabanci University.
  • Gender Equality Commission in the Ministry of Education: The program has played a very important role in the establishment of “Gender Equality Commission” in the Ministry of Education whose main task is to review educational material from a gender perspective.

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