Press Release

Official kick-off of new UN Women – EU project aiming to support civil society in Turkey

05 October 2021

 A new three-year project to support the capacity development and new partnership opportunities for civil society organizations (CSOs) kicks off in an event that brings together the representatives of the European Union Delegation to Turkey, UN Women, civil society, government representatives and other stakeholders on 5 October 2021 in Ankara, Turkey.

The project “Strengthening Civil Society Capacities and Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships to Advance Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Turkey”, implemented by UN Women, will continue until March 2024. It will receive a EUR 4,5 million funding from the European Union. The European Union is financing this project under the “Civil Society Facility and Media Programme”.

The project will help women’s rights CSOs and groups as well as women-led CSOs improve their capacity to influence national and local women’s rights and gender equality agendas.

“This comprehensive project’s multi-stakeholder approach and its thematic diversity will not only help advance women’s rights and the gender equality agenda in Turkey but also reinforce the ‘leaving no one behind’ principle of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Asya Varbanova, UN Women Turkey Country Director.

Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey said on the occasion: “We trust this project will allow civil society organizations be more vocal, more effective, and more united in working on the advancement of women’s rights and gender equality in Turkey. As EUD, we are pleased to work on these goals in partnership with UN Women, who will play a key role in bringing together the relevant stakeholders committed to the empowerment of women and girls.”

EU’s support to UN Women Turkey will provide technical assistance and grants for networking, knowledge and experience sharing, capacity development, data- and evidence-based advocacy.

The aim is to strengthen partnerships among civil society, public institutions, local authorities, and academic institutions in key areas.

The project will also address the challenges and inequalities faced by women, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Giving a keynote speech at the event, Alia El-Yassir, Regional Director for UN Women Europe and Central Asia said, “We need multi-layered, multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary partnerships to accelerate the progress and reverse back the COVID-19 trap that has immensely and disproportionally affected women all around the world.“

“If our mission is to ensure ‘Leaving No One Behind’ on the way to achieving gender equality, we need the partnerships between civil society, organizations, states, and more importantly the youth”, said Selin Özünaldım, HeForShe Advocate.

“The women’s movement in Turkey is really strong. Their voice needs to be heard louder in the international arena. I think that this project is important in terms of supporting civil society organizations working in the field of women’s rights to have their voices heard at the international decision-making mechanisms such as the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW),” said Selma Acuner from Women’s Coalition.

Representatives of civil society organizations also stated that they are hopeful the project will help them strengthen their capacities to advocate for women’s rights and gender equality in Turkey in a more effective and structured way.

Among the key partners and stakeholders of the project are civil society organizations, women’s rights advocates, young women and men, students, media professionals, government institutions, and academia.

Main activities under the project:

  • In partnership with CSOs, UN Women will put in place joint actions for eliminating violence against women and girls, increasing women’s access to justice and human rights mechanisms, and women’s economic empowerment.
  • Up to 30 CSOs will benefit from small-scale grants to strengthen their institutional capacities.
  • UN Women will implement capacity development programs for CSOs and media professionals in technical areas such as gender-responsive data analysis and data literacy.
  • Three comprehensive first-time researches will be conducted on women’s access to justice, needs and priorities of rural women, and women with disabilities
  • Capacity development programs for women’s CSOs and youth will be implemented in the areas of gender-responsive climate action, crises response, and disaster risk reduction.
  • UN Women will facilitate fora and establish networks with young people, support youth associations with knowledge exchange, and create inter-generational platforms that enable dialogue for gender equality.


For more information, please contact

UN Women Turkey | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Official kick-off of new UN Women – EU project aiming to support civil society in Turkey

Ebru Demirel

Ebru Demirel

UN Women
Communications Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

Goals we are supporting through this initiative