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Turkey: Mavi Kalem


Project Update

"We want women to say: I read a book and it changed my life." -  Mavi Kalem.

And they are well on their way to success.

The Turkish adaptation of Our Bodies, Ourselves, entitled Bedenlerimiz Biziz, explores the social norms, laws, traditional practices and religious edicts that make it difficult for Turkish women and girls to exercise their rights. Peer review of the manuscript has incorporated feedback from doctors, nurses and NGO representatives; and our partner Mavi Kalem selected a prestigious publishing partner that has nationwide distribution capacity and a reputation for successfully introducing important works pertaining to women to the general public. Mavi Kalem and Metis published the Turkish adaption in late 2011.

Outreach is at the heart of what Mavi Kalem does.

The graphic above is a badge they created as part of a campaign to reach young women. Badges are distributed with pamphlets outlining the following human rights:

  • I am the one who make my own decisions.
  • I am entitled to climb a tree, ride bicycle and do whatever sport I want.
  • I am the one who decide on what I wear.
  • I have right to access to medical information and health service.
  • I am the one who decide on my weight.
  • I am the only one to have a say on my sexuality and fertility.
  • I have right to live my own sexual identity.
  • I am entitled to enjoy the public sphere.

    Other examples of their impact?

    A “consulting room” for poor and low literacy women seeking information on their health rights; collaborative outreach workshops for across the country; a free monthly health magazine called Zuhre that carries excerpts from the adaptation; train-the-trainer modules and programs based on the book; and a CD with English subtitles documenting the adaptation process. 


    They are also busy promoting the forthcoming resource at different venues. Examples include: the Civilian Voices Festival, which brings together NGOs from around the country; sessions with students and NGO representatives at Istanbul’s Kadir Has University; presentations for 250 NGO representatives at the Women Shelter Assembly in Adana; interviews with Hayat Television, Dicle News Agency (a primary source for news in the east and southeast region of Turkey) and Aktüel Magazine (a politics and culture magazine distributed throughout the country).

    Our partner is also using their long established website – www.bedenimveben.org – to publicize and increase access to their resource in Turkey and Cyprus. This site is already a popular networking and lobbying tool.

    Mavi Kalem has further positioned it as
    a platform for the country’s growing women’s health network by introducing an online moderated discussion forum. Content posted from the new Turkish adaptation is providing reliable material on key issues for network discussions and collective action on women’s health rights.

    To find out more, see Mavi Kalem Expects Turkish “Our Bodies, Ourselves” to Spark Reform by Gamze Karadađ, the project coordinator.

    If you would like more information about this project and explore ways you might get involved, please contact the OBOS Global Initiative staff at office@bhwbc.org

    Meet Our Partner

    Mavi Kalem was founded in 2000, on the heels of a massive earthquake, by a group of individuals who believe that a spirit of volunteerism and free flow of information is central to positive social transformation.

    The organization brings together different professionals, including doctors, health educators, mental health specialists, and sociologists, to promote the rights of women and girls through, among other things, educational and skills building workshops.

    An active member of Turkey’s growing activist circle, Mavi Kalem has successfully positioned their website as a collaborative and lobbying tool for health and rights groups across the country and collaborated with 14 groups on a Turkish adaptation of Our Bodies, Ourselves.

    Some of their partners include the Ankara Association for Union and Solidarity of Women, Bartin Association for Solidarity of Women, Capa Center for Education and Research on Women's and Children's Health, Diyarbakir Center for Women Foundation, Diyarbakir Women's Problems Research and Enforcement Center, Gazi University-Hospital's Faculty of Medicine, Foundation for Human Health and Education, Women Entrepreneurs Association, Women's Human Rights, Kirk Oruk Women's Cooperative, Sabanci University, Turkish Women's Union in Besiktas, and Van Women's Foundation.

    For more information, please contact either the OBOS Global Initiative or the organization directly. 

    Contact Person:
    Filiz Ayla / Gamze Karadag
    Address: Tahta Minare mah.Yildirim cad. No:24 Fener-Fatih, Istanbul, Turkey
    Email: filizayla@mavikalem.org / mavikalem@mavikalem.org
    Phone: 90-212-534-41-33
    Fax: 90-212-534-41-90
    Website: http://www.mavikalem.org/ / www.bedenimveben.org  

    Looking for a Copy?

    For information on how to obtain copies, please contact Mavi Kalem at filizayla@mavikalem.org / mavikalem@mavikalem.org.



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