The field visits of the “Young Women Building Their Future” project, which focuses on understanding the challenges faced by approximately 3,5 million young women in neither education nor employment (NEET) in Turkey and developing solutions, have started. The first local stakeholder meeting of the project, supported by the Sabancı Foundation and carried out by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Sabancı Foundation in cooperation with the Ministry of Family and Social Services and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, was held in İzmir, one of the pilot provinces.
At the meeting, a session was held in which the opinions and suggestions of the stakeholders were taken while evaluating the situation regarding young women living in Izmir and neither in education nor in employment.
Representatives from the Ministry of Family and Social Services, Ministry of Labor and Social Security, Sabancı Foundation, UNDP Turkey, public institutions and organizations, chambers of industry and commerce, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and universities attended the meeting.
Güler Özdoğan, Head of Department of the General Directorate of Women's Status at the Ministry of Family and Social Services, said at the meeting, “Young people constitute 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, investments in young people today are very valuable. At this point, it is very important to carry out comprehensive studies by considering the different needs of young women in the NEET population group. I think that the 'Young Women Creating Their Futures Project', which is built with this perspective and includes activities such as capacity building, awareness and vocational training, as well as consultancy and mentoring programs for the empowerment of NEET women, improving their skills and employment opportunities, is an exemplary project that will serve the field. It is of great importance that our project be embraced by all parties for its success. Your presence here today gives us strength in this sense.” she said.
Suat Dede, Head of Department of the General Directorate of Labor of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, said, “Our youth employment strategy; It aims to increase the employment of young people who are neither in education nor in employment, with the concept of future jobs. Our Ministry has also adopted an approach in its work to enable women to access decent jobs that will be valid not only in professions that can be considered as women's occupations, but also in the future. We are happy to be a stakeholder in the Young Women Who Establish Their Future Project, which was put into practice with the aim of making the problems and needs of women neither in education nor in employment visible and meeting these needs as much as possible. İzmir has a favorable potential for young people with its high socio-economic development level, developed industry and trade volume. In this respect, we believe that the works we will carry out in İzmir will shed light on our future works.” He ended his speech with his words.
Sabancı Foundation General Manager Nevgül Bilsel Safkan said, “Today, we are together in İzmir, the first stop of our local launches, to tell you about our project, which we believe will be of great value for our country, to receive your opinions and suggestions on this matter, and to develop cooperation. As Sabancı Foundation, we set out with the dream of realizing a big impact project that will initiate a transformation in Turkey. After two years of research, stakeholder meetings and preliminary preparation process, we decided to focus on the issue of young women who are neither in education nor in employment (NEET), which is an important social problem both in our country and in the world and we believe we can contribute with our experience and knowledge. We implemented our Young Women Who Establish Their Future project in order to raise the issues of young women who are neither in education nor in employment, and to develop mechanisms to address these problems. We will work together, from local to national, to solve this problem with the cooperation of the public, local government, private sector and civil society. We attach great importance to your support in order to reach more young women who are neither in education nor in employment and to create a collective impact in this field. Our local stakeholder meetings, which started in İzmir, will continue in Diyarbakır and Adana, respectively.” he said. Safkan stated that İzmir, which is the first stop, is very open to cooperation and already has very valuable projects in this regard, and emphasized that they aim to progress by taking strength from this stakeholder meeting.
UNDP Turkey Deputy Representative for Programs Seher Alacacı Arıner said, “Unfortunately, one out of every two young women between the ages of 18-29 in our country is neither in education nor in employment. Leaving no one behind is the basis of the Sustainable Development Goals. In this context, I believe that the project will have a great impact on raising awareness of women who are neither in education nor in employment, enabling them to develop themselves and increasing their employability.”
The “Young Women Who Create Their Future” project will be implemented in 11 pilot cities, namely Adana, Ankara, Bursa, Erzurum, Diyarbakır, Istanbul, Konya, Mardin, Trabzon and Van, as well as Izmir. After İzmir, information and consultation meetings will be held in Diyarbakır and Adana. In order to determine the needs and create an action plan, trainings will be organized by analyzing the current situation and needs specific to the provinces in Adana, Diyarbakır and İzmir.
In line with the analyses, capacity building studies, awareness and vocational training as well as consultancy and mentoring programs will be designed and implemented in order to empower young women who are neither in education nor in employment, and improve their skills and employment opportunities.
Within the scope of the study, a digital portal will also be opened that includes the "Map of Opportunities", where training, internship and employment opportunities can be accessed, and mentoring and online training modules. The portal, which will be operational in May, will act as a bridge between the private sector, civil society and public institutions regarding the opportunities for women in neither education nor employment.
In addition, non-governmental organizations working in this field in 11 provinces will be supported with the grant program that will enable the implementation of practices that support activities.