UNFPA Turkey Country Office in collaboration with Turkish Republic Ministry of Health and Turkish Republic Ministry of Family and Social Policies established eight new Women and Girl Safe Spaces (WGSS) providing clinical and psychosocial services on reproductive health and gender based violence for refugees in Ankara, İstanbul and İzmir with the financial support of EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO). Ministry of Health Provincial Health Directorates have been supporting the execution of the centers at the provincial level.
The opening ceremony of the new “Women and Girls Safe Spaces” took place on 24 March 2016 at İsmail Ulucan Family Health Center in Ankara. Opening remarks were presented by Ministry of Family and Social Policies Deputy Minister Mr. Mehmet Erdoğan, Ministry of Health Department Head Mr. Kanuni Keklik, EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) Representative Jean Christophe Pegon and UNFPA Representative Karl Kulessa.
In the context of the Humanitarian Programme of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Turkey Country Office has been working on resilience based response programming since 2011. The main intervention areas are capacity building and service delivery specifically on the issues of sexual and reproductive health and gender based violence and provision of equipment and supplies in response to over 2.5 million refugees.
About 80% of the refugees are women and children and a quarter of them are women of reproductive age. For this purpose Women and Girl Safe Spaces (WGSS) have emerged as a key strategy for the protection and empowerment of women and girls whom are more vulnerable in emergencies and have specific needs that are often ignored in crises. WGSS is a place where women and girls can receive information and services on reproductive health, women’s rights, psychosocial support, acquire contextually relevant skills and rebuild their social networks in a non-stigmatizing environment.
After the opening of those new centers the total number of WGSS has reached 19 in Adana, Ankara, Antakya, Batman, Gaziantep, İstanbul, İzmir, Konya, Mardin and Sanliurfa. The number of WGSS all around Turkey is planned to be raised to 25 by the end of the year.