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The GAP Administration engaged in a range of projects that integrate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development through strategies for poverty alleviation and that focus on participatory approaches and capacity building for disadvantage groups from a gender perspective. One of the most important studies conducted in this regard, is Multi-Purpose Community Centres (ÇATOM) project.

ÇATOMs came in light from Social Action Plan which was prepared based on the findings of five basic research conducted in the years 1992-94 by GAP and “Women’s Status and Development Process Integration Research in the GAP Region”, which is one of the research, Action Plan was prepared based on the findings.

ÇATOMs, was started in the region since 1995 and currently there are 44 centres in 9 provinces in the GAP region. ÇATOM’s target audience is young girls and women. So far 250,000 people have benefited from the project through direct ÇATOM programs. This number includes those who benefit from the ÇATOM program participants and health care and the number of common studies made at the level of neighbourhood / village was not included to total.

Principles of ÇATOM

The Basic Principle of ÇATOMs is:

To show women not what to do but to show them what they can do under which conditions. The ones who will make the choice among several alternatives or reveal new options are women.

The Objective of the Project

ÇATOMs are community based and participatory centres established at the neighbourhoods of cities mostly inhabited by rural migrants, district centres and centrally located villages. In neighbourhoods where ÇATOMs take place, people work for mostly very low wages/income, in marginal areas and in unregistered, temporary or seasonal jobs while children are employed in order to contribute to the household income. The researches conducted so far show that women and children are adversely affected by poverty. The improvement of the social and economic position of women is directly reflected in household welfare. Therefore, reformative projects of women’s status are a necessity in terms of human rights and important to increase social welfare.

The objective of ÇATOMs is to become aware of women’s issues, identify solutions and create an opportunity to use initiative; to ensure greater participation of women in the public sphere and benefit more from public services; to increase women’s employment and entrepreneurship; to empower women to contribute to the provision of equal opportunities/to start the process of gender balanced development and in this way, to develop replicable model/models based on participatory community development according to local conditions. The basic principle observed in ÇATOMs is not to tell women what to do but demonstrating what can be done under different circumstances. The ones who will make the choice among several alternatives or create new options are women.

Goals of the Project

Goals of ÇATOM Project:

GAP Administration take Southeastern Anatolia Project as a regional sustainable human development project and puts human development into focus. In this context, GAP’s goal is not only economic growth, but also to improve the quality of human life. To achieve this objective, it is required to see GAP as a social transformation project and provide a community participation while performing this transformation and adhering to the principles of equality and fairness in development and human resources development. With this perspective, a number of social projects by the GAP Administration are developed and implemented. The objectives of the ÇATOM Project are as follows:

• Empowering women to contribute to the provision of equal opportunities,
• Ensuring that women participate in the public sphere to increase the level of benefiting from public services,
• Starting the gender balanced development and developing replicable models relevant to local circumstances for participatory community development.

Management and Approach

Local requests are taken into consideration in the establishment ÇATOM and cooperation is maintained with administrative, and technical support is given to the project by Development Foundation of Turkey (TKV). In addition to participation of society in ÇATOMs, inter-organisational cooperation is also emphasised and efforts are made to expand cooperation and launch joint projects with local, national and international organisations. It is aimed to develop a healthy dialogue with ÇATOMs between most needy parts of society to support and governmental, non-governmental organizations; strengthen the foundations of human-centered, peaceful, democratic society.

ÇATOMs are managed by the ÇATOM Committees selected among participants. ÇATOM Committees consist of 5-7 people, a trainer selected by ÇATOM Officer and participants take part in the committees. By ÇATOM Committees, it is aimed to develop the capacity of women in management. In ÇATOMs, neighborly relations are developed by visiting households with members of the committees and households’ needs and priorities are identified. Local circumstances and needs as well as the participation of the target group are taken into consideration in identifying the ÇATOM programs. Integrated and flexible approach is adopted and ongoing participants to ÇATOMs are encouraged to participate in all programs. In parallel to developments, children have been included in the scope of ÇATOM programs, pre-school education programs and reading rooms have been launched. Men are included to programs such as health care and computer literacy even if it is partly. With cultural-social activities and with social support programs, all members of the household are intended to be reached.

“During our visits to homes, the presence of ÇATOM leader, direct interview with household heads and ÇATOM leaders’ involvement in promoting ÇATOM to their relatives and neighbours further enhanced participation. The ÇATOM leadership brought together participants when there was any order and made a division of work, which contributed to productivity.” Şanlıurfa Yakubiye ÇATOM

“The ÇATOM Leadership asked for a lawyer from Siirt Bar to come and inform the audience about women’s rights and the new Turkish Civil Code. The ÇATOM organised the meeting and ensured participation.” Siirt Kurtalan ÇATOM

Within the framework of cooperation established, ÇATOM buildings are provided by the Governorships, District Governorships and Municipalities. Also within te context of the cooperation with the civil administration, trainers are provided by and are charged with the relevant public institutions.

In addition to these contributions, ÇATOM was initiated in neighbourhood of Diyarbakır Bağlar with the cooperation of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, GAP Administration and Governorship of Diyarbakır in 2005. ÇATOMs building and equipment costs were covered by the Directorate of the Grand Assembly and by the Diyarbakır Governorship and the fee and operating expenses were paid by the Governor ÇATOM Officer. Technical support was provided by the GAP Administration.

Similarly, upon Mardin Kızıltepe Governors Office’s request regarding launching a ÇATOM in Kiziltepe district, a project was prepared by GAP and it was presented to Social Risk Mitigation Project (SRAP). With the project approved by the SRAP, funding is provided for Kiziltepe ÇATOMs and in 2004, with the technical support of GAP Administration, ÇATOM was initiated by Kiziltepe Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundation.

In 2009, with the sponsorship of Eureko Insurance, ÇATOM was opened in Cermik district of Diyarbakir province. ÇATOMs fees and court costs of responsible business between the years 2009-2012 were covered by sponsor company and in April 2012 ÇATOM expenses were met by the GAP Administration.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Following the monitoring format designed with respect to specific indicators collectively decided, ÇATOMs use computers to develop their monthly, semi-annual and annual progress reports. These reports are then reviewed and consolidated by the GAP Administration and the Development Foundation of Turkey. Besides these reports, Social Impact Assessment in relation to ÇATOM is carried out biennially. ÇATOMs are treated as case studies by universities and institutions at national and international level and also ÇATOMs are a subject for academic theses.

In every two months, in some provinces, experiences and informations between ÇATOMs are shared and coordination meetings are held in order to organize events. Besides, 2-3 day training programs are organized and ÇATOM responsibles and trainers are encouraged to participate in domestic and international meetings, exhibitions and trainings under the name of “ÇATOM Training and Coordination” meetings twice a year devoted to ÇATOM responsibles, in terms of capacity-building support development, communication, gender equality, preparation of project and social development which is participated occasionally by trainers.

“As ÇATOM workers and managers our most significant experience this year was grasping better the importance of sharing information and including all potential participants in our activities. Recognising the importance and seriousness of reporting, monitoring and evaluation and sharing all these contributed much to our quality of work.” Mardin Ömerli ÇATOM
“In Şırnak Uludere ÇATOMs, ÇATOM employees have been supportive about teaching how to write a petition especially for illiterate women from villages and to move their files at the public institutions. In this way, day by day ÇATOM has been recognized and participation has risen considerably. In the past, people living in the villages did not even know the name of the ÇATOMs, but now it is the first place they visit.” Şırnak Uludere ÇATOM

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