Sparks Social Change Projects
Social change projects make up core learning event that informs all other parts of the Sparks program. While participants are engaged in hands-on planning and practicing, they are doing something more. They are expanding their horizons about what it means to be a woman in Turkey, developing awareness of their place in the community, country, and world, and taking action to make a positive difference.
Sparks participants form teams to research and identify needs in the local community. Each team agrees on the project to undertake. Then members collaborate to plan and carry out the projects within the eight-month duration of the Sparks academic year.
Here are a few examples of the projects and their outcomes.
The issue: Lack of knowledge in the community about the proper use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Examples of misuse included sharing drugs, incorrect dosages, and disregarding usage dates.
The process: The Düzce team conducted research through study and by interviewing medical professionals. They created an informational pamphlet and obtained a donation for the printing.
The result: Team members distributed 3,000 pamphlets to individuals in downtown Düzce and the Düzce University campus.
The issue: The Gölcük Sparks team wanted to share what they were learning in the Sparks program with women in the community – to enable homemakers to become partners in the financial support of their families.
The process: The team interviewed local women and researched opportunities for commerce in the community. Through research and interviews with entrepreneurs, they learned the steps in starting and growing a small business.
The result: Using their newly acquired knowledge, the Gölcük team developed a training program. They made presentations to groups of local women in their homes and in community centers, encouraging the women to use their skills and to seek out resources to become entrepreneurs.
The issue: Violence against women is well-known, widespread, and exists at every level of society. The Izmir Sparks team decided to create greater awareness of this sometimes taboo subject.
The process: Team members researched the topic and created various scenarios depicting acts of violence faced by women. They recruited a professional photographer to donate her time and talents to capture the scenarios in pictures. They then created a photographic montage.
The result: The photos were then exhibited in a municipal gallery for viewing by the public.