Young Women Building Their Future initiative spread its first seeds in İzmir

Posted April 12, 2022

The first local consultation meeting of the “Young Women Building Their Future” initiative, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Sabancı Foundation in cooperation with the Ministry of Family and Social Services and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, was organized in İzmir.

The first local stakeholder meeting was organized in İzmir in order to receive the opinions and suggestions of the stakeholders regarding the initiative, which focuses on challenges and needs of young women who are not in employment, education or training (NEET).

11 April 2022, İzmir – Field visits of the Young Women Building Their Future project that focuses on understanding and addressing the challenges faced by the estimated 3.5 million young women in Turkey who are not in employment, education or training (NEET), started. The first local consultation meeting with stakeholders was organized in İzmir that is among the pilot provinces. The initiative is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Sabancı Foundation in cooperation with the Ministry of Family and Social Services and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

In the meeting, while the current situation analysis of NEET young women living in İzmir was provided, the opinions and suggestions of the stakeholders were gathered in a discussion session.

Representatives of the Ministry of Family and Social Services, Ministry of Labor and Social Security, Sabancı Foundation, UNDP Turkey, governmental institutions, chambers of industry and commerce, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and universities participated.

Güler Özdoğan, Head of Department of the Directorate General on Status of Women at the Ministry of Family and Social Services said, “Young people represent the most important human resource power of a country. The future of the world and countries will be shaped in the hands of young people, therefore, it’s invaluable to invest in young people from today onward. At this point, it is crucial to carry out comprehensive studies by considering the diverse needs of NEET young women. I think that the Young Women Building Their Future Project, which is developed with this perspective and includes capacity building, awareness raising and vocational training activities, as well as consultancy and mentoring programmes for the empowerment of NEET women, and improvement of their skills and employment opportunities, is a model initiative in this context. For the success of the project, ownership of all parties is of great importance. Your presence here today strengthens our work in this sense.”

Suat Dede, Head of Department of the Directorate General of Labor at Ministry of Labor and Social Security said,Our youth employment strategy aims to increase the employment of young people who are not in employment, education or training, with the perspective of future jobs. Our Ministry has internalized the approach that enables women to access decent jobs not only in professions that can be considered as women's occupations, but also in jobs of the future. We are glad to be a partner in Young Women Building Their Future Project, which is implemented in order to make the problems and needs of NEET women visible and meet their needs as much as possible. İzmir has a potential for young people with its high socio-economic development level, developed industry and trade volume. In this respect, we believe that our activities in İzmir will shed light on our future works.”

Sabancı Foundation General Manager Nevgül Bilsel Safkan said, “Today, we are together in İzmir, the first stop of our local meetings, to present our project, which we believe will be of great value for our country, to receive your opinions and suggestions on this issue, and to develop cooperation. As Sabancı Foundation, we had a dream of a project with a big impact that will initiate a transformation in Turkey. Drawing on two years of research and analysis, we have come to view NEET women as a top-priority social challenge both in the world and in Turkey and we decided to focus on NEET young women whom we can support with our experience and knowledge. We initiated our Young Women Building Their Future project in order to bring up the problems of NEET young women and to develop mechanisms to address these problems. At national and local scale, we will work in cooperation with the public institutions, local governments, private sector and civil society to solve this problem. Your support is vital to reach more NEET young women and to create a collective impact in this field. Our local stakeholder meetings, which started in İzmir, will continue in Diyarbakır and Adana, respectively.”  Safkan stated that İzmir is very open to cooperation and already has very remarkable projects in this regard and emphasized that this stakeholder meeting will accelerate the progress.

Seher Alacacı Arıner, UNDP Turkey Assistant Resident Representative (Programme) said, “Unfortunately, in Turkey one out of every two young women between the ages of 18-29 are not in employment, education or training. Leaving no one behind sets ground for the Sustainable Development Goals. In this context, I believe that the project will have a great impact on raising awareness of women who are not in employment, education or training, improving their skills and increasing their employability.”

The Young Women Building Their Future initiative will be implemented in 11 pilot provinces: Adana, Ankara, Bursa, Erzurum, Diyarbakır, İstanbul, İzmir, Konya, Mardin, Trabzon and Van. To determine the needs and develop an action plan, a baseline study and needs assessment will be carried out in Adana, Diyarbakır and İzmir.

Based on the analysis, capacity building and awareness raising activities will be held and vocational training will be provided to empower NEET women, enable them to improve their skills and employability. Counselling and mentoring will also be provided.

NEET women will also have access to a new digital portal, “Opportunities Map,” where they will find training, internship and employment opportunities, as well as modules on mentoring and online training. The portal will act as a bridge between the private sector, civil society and public institutions on opportunities for NEET women.

Grants will be provided to NGOs in 11 pilot provinces to support project activities.


Further information:

Ahu İlhan, Communication Partner, ahuilhan@cpartner.com.tr, 0536 862 21 47

Eray Kaş, Communication Partner, eraykas@cpartner.com.tr, 0531 651 37 86