Empowering Youth in Şanlıurfa

Şanlıurfa has a young population; of the city’s 1.5 million inhabitants, about 215,000 are between the ages of 10 to 19. Above the age of 15, 36.7 per cent of women and 10.7 per cent of men cannot read or write. Some 875 girls have babies as a result of early age marriage (Children’s Foundation statistics for 2010-11).

During the TAP Foundation previous projects, we observed how life is made very difficult for young people in Urfa due to early-age marriages, education right violations, genders barriers and traditional values. Therefore, the project ‘Empowering Youth’  aimed to support young people in Şanlıurfa and to raise awareness amongst decision-makers, school administrators, community leaders and families about young people and their needs.

The project was supported by the Swedish and Netherlands Consulate Generals and run through September 2012 to May 2013.

The project had two main focus areas: education and awareness activities.

The education programme was designed for young people between the ages of 10 and 19 and aimed to reach about 1500 boys and girls in Şanlıurfa. The education programme had five modules under the umbrella of Life Skills:

1.    Self-Confidence and Looking at the Future,

2.    Creativity and Communication Skills,

3.    Human Rights,

4.    Gender,

5.    Body, Health and Development

The education programmes were organised in various centres, such as the municipality, Youth and Sports Authority, Youth Center and Educational Volunteers of Turkey Şanlıurfa. Boys and girls were invited to take the education together, in order to loosen the traditional gender roles and raise awareness of gender issues.

As well as the education programmes, the TAP Foundation trainers gave counselling to young people during the project as needed.

As part of the awareness activities, three workshops were held, which parents, counsellors and local decision-makers joined.

The training of trainers (ToT) programmes for the project were organised during the periods 9-12 and 23-26 November, 2012. The young trainers who took part in these ToT programmes later gave the peer trainings to 1200 young people in Şanlıurfa, by May 2013.