Nebahat Akkoc

Ashoka Fellow
Diyarbakir, Turkey
Fellow Since 2000


This profile was prepared when Nebahat Akkoc was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2000.
The New Idea
In a region where abuses to women have a long history and where change comes slowly, Nebahat has launched KA-MER, an organization that both responds to women's immediate and critical needs and increases awareness by women of their rights as citizens, wives, and mothers. Nebahat works within the local culture and language, addressing the specific needs of women and families, and empowering women to reject their second-class status and believe in themselves. Her center provides women with such services as counseling, daycare, and employment opportunities to help them achieve financial independence and gain self-respect. While focusing on women, Nebahat also works with husbands and families to encourage broad acceptance of women as independent wage-earners and citizens capable of valuable contributions to society.
Other organizations have attempted to address the problems associated with gender inequality and abuses to women in Turkey; however, Nebahat is the first to design and implement a successful strategy in southeastern Turkey. Where other organizations have failed - most notably, in their failure to adopt a locally-based, culturally-sensitive approach - Nebahat has been remarkably successful and is currently working to expand her program to other areas in the region. By eventually reaching many more villages, she hopes to strengthen the democratic systems in a region where poverty, male sovereignty, and on-going political turbulence have long surpressed democratic processes.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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