|Grant Program Experience Exchange Meeting (Trabzon Zorlu Grand Hotel) - 23 October 2008|
Sabanci Foundation organized an “Experience Exchange Meeting” for grantees which are part of the UNJP Sabanci Foundation Grant Program.
The meeting started with a presentation of the outcomes of each grantee’s project in the 2007-2008 phase. Among the key protocol participants were Trabzon Governor Nuri Okutan, Trabzon Major Volkan Canalioglu, The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Sabanci Foundation, Guler Sabanci, Ministry of Interior UNJP National Director, Mustafa Coggun, UNFPA Representative Tunga Tuzer, Vice Governors from the six cities that are involved in the program (Izmir, Nevsehir, Kars, Sanliurfa, Trabzon, Van) and members of local and national press.
Trabzon Mayor Volkan Canalioglu delivered a speech in the opening ceremony stating that they are privileged to be part of the program and place great importance on implementing projects to encourage women’s participation in city life.
The Turkish Republic Ministry of Interior UNJP National Director, Mustafa Coggun stated that the program sets a good example for the participation of civil society organizations and dedication of local governments to promoting and protecting the rights of women and girl children.
The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Sabanci Foundation, Guler Sabanci started her speech by saying: “We are witnessing great progress in the six cities in which the Joint Program is implemented, which is setting a good example for all other cities. Critical structural bodies such as Gender Equality Divisions, the Commission on Gender Equality have been established. An important role of this Project is to raise awareness on the issue. The awareness of society should be raised in a rational, scientific and systematic way. It is an issue and responsibility for all of us to promote and protect human rights of women and girls.”
Trabzon Governor Nuri Okutan indicated that women of Trabzon are pictured as tea collectors or carrying heavy loads - which does not reflect the complete reality. Mr. Okutan said that research shows that women’s rate of participation in society is increasing and that the women of Trabzon can actively participate in all spheres of life with no need for positive approaches.
In the closing speech, the Director of Sabanci Foundation Zerrin Koyunsagan said: "Making grants does not mean just donating money for a cause; it is something much more than that. Making grants mean tracking and evaluating the real impact by conducting site visits, tracking progress and building relationships with the field. When we first proposed developing a joint program we were aware of the fact that local projects have a key role in fostering social development. The impact created in peoples' lives has been the critical indicator of success for us from the beginning and now, when we look at the progress, we see a significant level of change in the project cities."
Following the opening speeches grantees presented their projects and shared their success stories and responded to questions of the press and audience.
Following the presentation, Guler Sabanci visited important sites in Trabzon with the Mayor Volkan Canalioglu and guests from Istanbul.
In the afternoon session grantees that completed their projects in the 2007-2008 period shared their experiences with new projects which started in 2008 and will be completed in 2009. The working groups discussed topics such as; the grant program application process, project management and project implementation experiences, partnerships and relations with other organizations.
The outcome of the discussions- in terms of benefits and suggestions- could be summarized as the following: