Say Yes_ Summer 2007

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Say Yes_ Summer 2007 Powered By Docstoc
					In this issue
Measuring progress                                     3-5
During her recent visit to Turkey, UNICEF Executive Director
                                                                    In June we were delighted to receive a visit from UNICEF
                                                                    Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. It was the Execut›ve
Ann M. Veneman took part in a series of high level
meetings and talked to a number of women and children.              Director’s first ever visit to Turkey. On the one hand, the visit
She found that Turkey has been making steady progress               provided us with an opportunity to explain some of the work
towards the Millennium Development Goals, but also                  which we are doing. On the other, it challenged us to consider
highlighted some of the remaining challenges, including             how we fit into the global picture. On the following pages, you
disparities of geography and gender.                                will find a report on Ms. Veneman’s contacts in Istanbul and
                                                                    highlights of some of the issues raised during the visit.
                                                                    Separately, we report on Ms. Veneman’s visit to an education
Parents with know-how                                  5-6          centre in Istanbul’s Bakirkoy district, where she met children
While in Istanbul, Executive Director Ann M. Veneman                and parents taking part in the parenting education programme.
visited an education centre in the Bak›rköy district. Here she      Preschool and parenting education are two ways in which we
learned what parents have been learning on ‘My Family’              can help children from disadvantaged backgrounds to get a
training courses – and saw the difference it has been               better start in life, and improve their chances of benefiting fully
making to their lives and the lives of their children.              from their rights to health, education and protection. Additional
                                                                    benefits include empowering mothers and making it easier for
EDUCATION / MEDIA                                                   them to join the labour market. Look out for the campaign which
Adding classrooms                                    7-11           we are about to launch to increase access to preschool
                                                                    education, and to highlight its importance, with the aid of more
One of the biggest obstacles which the Girls’ Education             mobile schools!
campaign ‘Haydi K›zlar Okula’ has had to overcome is a
shortage of schools and classrooms. Among the initiatives           Supporting efforts to combat child poverty is becoming a major
which have been taken to solve the problem is the addition          focus of the work of UNICEF Turkey. According to the most
of prefabricated classrooms to existing schools. Meet the           recent data, 27% of Turkey’s children are living below the
girls who are most affected, listen to what the experts have
                                                                    poverty line. These children are mostly the sons and daughters
to say, and read the inside story of the star-studded
UNICEF-NTV telethon which raised funds for over a                   of poorly educated parents who are unable to find steady jobs,
hundred more classrooms on April 23.                                but who may have a large number of mouths to feed. A system of
                                                                    child benefit targeting the poorest 20% would go a long way
CHILD POVERTY                                                       towards breaking the poverty cycle. But access to preschool
                                                                    education and the empowerment of women are also critical
The next step                                      12-13            strategies. As catalysts for change and defenders of children’s
UNICEF’s work on child poverty in Turkey bore fruit on May          rights, the full and equal participation of women in the
23 when Minister of Labour and Social Security Murat                household, the workplace, education and the political sphere
Baflesgio¤lu formally announced at a press conference in             has proven to be the ‘grass roots’ solution to child poverty the
Ankara that Turkey is to develop a strategy to reduce and           world over.
eventually eliminate the phenomenon. Poor children
become poor parents of poor families, but intervention on                                        *****
behalf of children has the potential to break down this
continuous cycle of poverty.                                        For more than five years now, Say Yes, the quarterly newsletter
                                                                    of UNICEF Turkey, has been highlighting the issues affecting
ENVIRONMENT                                                         children and women in Turkey, and the efforts being made to
                                                                    improve their well-being. I would like to thank Ray and Rana
A clean slate please                                    14          Mullan for the great work they have done in drafting, designing
Members of the provincial child rights committees,                  and illustrating Say Yes ever since it first appeared. They have
sponsored by ice-cream manufacturer Algida, have called             made the newsletter what it is. Nothing remains the same for
for an end to global warming. The children went public              ever, however, and with this edition, the time has come for a
with their 40-article declaration at a press conference on          slightly different style and image. We will be making every effort
Istanbul’s Fener Pier on June 4 - the eve of World                  to enrich the content of Say Yes and to increase its readability
Environment Day. So what are they recommending?
                                                                    and impact. As ever, all comments and suggestions will be more
                                                                    than welcome.
Child labour falls                                      15
The first statistics on child labour for seven years point to a
continuing decline, reflecting the fall in agricultural
employment and longer years of schooling. But in urban              Edmond McLoughney
areas, child labour is declining less rapidly.
                                                                    UNICEF Representative, Turkey

2                                                            SAY YES: THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF UNICEF TURKEY


                                                                                                          photo by Sedat Suna
When UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman visited Turkey in June,
she had the opportunity to observe at first hand the progress which Turkey
is making towards achieving its Millennium Development Goals targets. At
the same time, she did not fail to underline the challenges which persist if
all Turkey’s children are to enjoy their rights to the full. Efforts to
overcome these challenges require comprehensive and accurate statistics,
the Executive Director emphasised.

UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman left        Economic Cooperation, attended by numerous
Istanbul on June 27 at the end of a four-day visit   regional heads of state and government. The
during which she took part in two international      UNICEF Executive Director later took part in the
conferences, met Prime Minister Recep Tayyip         opening session of the OECD World Forum on
Erdo¤an and other government officials, and held     Measuring and Fostering the Progress of Societies,
candid discussions with Turkish children and         also in Istanbul.
adolescents, parents, academ›cs and
representatives of non-government organisations.     Meeting the Premier
On behalf of the UN, Ms Veneman addressed the        At her meeting with Prime Minister Erdo¤an, Ms
fifteenth anniversary summit of the Black Sea        Veneman expressed her satisfaction at the state of

SAY YES: THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF UNICEF TURKEY                                                    3
                                                                              She expressed satisfaction that Turkey was making
                                                                              good progress towards the achievement of the
                                                                              Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in areas
                                                                              such as reducing under-five mortality by two-thirds
                                                                              by 2015, and raising school enrolment rates.
                                                                              Enrolment rates nevertheless still fell short of the
                                                                              100% target, she noted. Moreover, she continued,
                                                                              ”It’s not just about getting children into school but
                                                                              about the quality of education.” In this context, she
                                                                              underlined that it should be possible for children to
                                                                              succeed in examinations without having to take
                                                                              private lessons. “A public school system should
                                                                              support quality education during school hours,”
                                                                              she said.

                                                                              “Relative to the developing world, Turkey is
                                                                              making good progress overall for its children. The
                                                                              country is not only advancing economically but
                                                                              also making progress with many of the key social
                                                                              indicators,” the Executive Director said. However,
                                                                              she added that it was sometimes necessary to
                                                                              “look a little deeper”. In this context, she stressed
                                                        photo by Sedat Suna   that there were still “important disparities”
                                                                              between geographical areas. She also spoke of the
                                                                              need to improve the quality of education and to
                                                                              keep focusing on child protection issues – an
                                                                              increasing focus of UNICEF’s work in many Middle
                                                                              Income Countries.
relations between UNICEF and the Government of
Turkey. Education figured high on the agenda of                               Dealing with violence
the meeting. The Premier and the visiting                                     Asked by a journalist whether violence against
Executive Director reviewed the efforts of the                                women and children could be overcome by
government to enrol girls in school through the                               education, Ms Veneman referred to the young
Girls’ Education campaign, ‘Haydi Kizlar Okula’.                              mothers and fathers whom she had met at the
The campaign was launched by the Turkish                                      education centre. Some of these, she said, had
Ministry of Education in 2003 with support from                               stopped hitting their children as a result of the
UNICEF. Backed by a policy of conditional cash                                course, and many others had explained how
transfers to parents whose children go to school, it                          learning about better parenting had given them
has resulted in the enrolment of over 300,000                                 new skills and made their households much more
children – mainly girls – who would otherwise                                 peaceful. This showed that education could help to
have been out of school. Mr. Erdogan and Ms                                   reduce and eliminate violence; the challenge was
Veneman also talked about efforts to improve the                              to make such messages widely available.
quality of education and discussed the role of
women in politics and the economy                                             “I think you need education at every level,” the
                                                                              Executive Director went on, pointing out that
One of the highlights of Ms Veneman’s stay in                                 children who experience violence at home or in
Istanbul was a meeting with a group of parents                                school are more likely to practise violence
who have attended parenting education courses at                              themselves in future.
an education centre in Istanbul (See page 5). The
Executive Director later discussed a wide range of
topics with adolescents who are members of some
                                                                              Accurate statistics
of Turkey’s provincial child rights committees. The                           If assessing Turkey’s progress towards the UN
adolescents also organised a surprise birthday                                Millennium Goals was one theme of Ms
party for her.                                                                Veneman’s visit, another related theme was the
                                                                              importance of sound statistical data.
Progress on the MDGs
                                                                              “UNICEF collects a lot of data on children, much of
At a press conference on June 26, Ms Veneman                                  which is included in our annual report The State of
described the visit - her first to Turkey since her                           the World’s Children,” Ms Veneman told
appointment as executive director in 2005 - as                                journalists. For this reason, she said, UNICEF was
“enlightening” and “productive”.

4                                                      SAY YES: THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF UNICEF TURKEY
pleased to have been a part of the OECD Forum in               The UNICEF contribution
Istanbul, addressing the the critical issues of data
for development.                                               UNICEF has been playing a leading role in
                                                               gathering data on children and women for many
Asked about the quality of statistics in Turkey, the           years. The household survey programme known
Executive Director said that there was always                  as Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS),
room for improvement, but that she thought                     which UNICEF developed, is one of the most
statistical systems had been relatively good since             important instruments used to monitor the
the mid-1990s.                                                 Millennium Development Goals. UNICEF and its
                                                               partners have also been supporting the
                                                               development and use of DevInfo, a user-friendly
In the dark                                                    software program for maintaining, organizing and
Without accurate and detailed statistics, policy-              disseminating key human development statistics.
makers are in the dark. They cannot define their
priorities, they cannot know how best to employ                DevInfo has evolved from a decade of innovations
their resources, and and they cannot assess what               in database systems that support informed
progress they are making.                                      decision making and that promote the use of data
                                                               to advocate for human development. An important
This is all the more true in a complex and                     aspect of DevInfo is that it helps nations track
constantly changing society like Turkey’s, where               national benchmarks on children to support
widely-held assumptions can quickly become out                 evidence-based decisions. It is currently being
of date, where general statistics can hide subtle              adopted in Turkey.
disparities of geography or gender, and where the
range of issues is vast - from honour killings and             “I think statistical systems are a very important
child marriage to the level of preparedness for                part of a country’s infrastructure overall,” Ms
earthquakes or an avian influenza epidemic.                    Veneman concluded.

   Executive Director hears all about educating parents
   UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman’s encounter with participants in the ‘My
   Family’ parents’ education programme produced a torrent of positive feedback.
  “I have brought up two children, and now I am looking       sitting waiting here at the Bakirkoy centre for some
  after my grandchildren. Sometimes I feel really sorry for   time – which had given them the opportunity to try out
  my own children because I brought them up before I          their novel headphones. Another ten minutes had
  came to this course. I think all pregnant women should      elapsed as Ms Veneman was introduced to some of
  attend.”                                                    those who had made this meeting possible – among
                                                              them Bak›rköy Governor Dursun Ali fiahin, Istanbul
  “A relative came from our home town. The children           Deputy Director of Education Abdullah Tan›r, and
  were playing and my child said, ‘Do your parents hit        Bak›rköy Adult Education Centre Director Bahaettin
  you?’ The other one said, ‘Yes they hit me a lot.’ And      Kabahasano¤lu.
  then my child said, ‘Your mother should go to the
  course my mother’s been on.’”                               Now at last it was the parents’ turn to display what they
                                                              had learned. Many had abandoned physical
  “When my elder one came home with his school report,        punishment:
  I gave him a hug. But I also showed affection to my
  other child. I wouldn’t have remembered to do that if I     “I used to beat my kids. Now I have learned to listen to
  hadn’t had this training.”                                  them. My husband has stopped beating them too.”

  Some fifteen young mothers, and one grandmother, sat        “My son was in fifth grade and he was going in for the
  in a circle – in appearance, a typical sample of suburban   state boarding school entrance exam, and he said, ‘Why
  women. There were also three or four fathers, a toddler     are you being so nice to me? Is it because I am going in
  in a push chair and a handful of older children.            for the exam?’ So I explained that it was because of the
  Crammed in at the back, or up against the classroom         course. I said, ‘You are important for me whether you
  door, were officials in ties, men and women with cases,     pass the exam or not’. Then he apologised. And I felt
  cameras and brochures, and the more familiar faces of       really bad because it means I used to treat him badly.”
  course leaders Zeliha Eken and fiükran Evirgen.
                                                              Other parents had different tales to tell:
  All of the parents were participants in the education
  programme, ‘My Family’, developed with UNICEF and            “I work 12 hours a day. When I came home, I used to
  EU support for parents and care-givers of children aged     just look as if I was listening. But since attending the
  0-6, and made available to them at Ministry of National     course, I take them out with me more often and I try to
  Education (MoNE) education centres in Istanbul’s            teach them something. If there is no time, then we find
  Bak›rköy and Küçükcekmece districts. They had been          time later.”

SAY YES: THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF UNICEF TURKEY                                                                        5
 “Both my sons have been successful at school. It has          health. Courses are being developed for parents of older
been a great year. I am happy because I believe I am           children. Nevertheless there is a long way to go before
supporting them.”                                              all disadvantaged families are reached.

“My daughter didn’t want to go to school but she               “I must congratulate you on taking the time to be a part
changed her mind when she saw that I was going to a            of this,” Ms Veneman told the parents.
course too.”

The sun streamed in above the tiled roofs of                                                          photos by Sedat Suna
southwestern Istanbul, adorned by concrete
chimneys, corregated sunshades and all manner of
antenna and minaret. In one direction, seagulls
hovered above the dome of a grander mosque; in
the other stretched the dense seven-storey streets
where many of the parents live.

 “The topics are very relevant,” said a mother of two,
separated from her husband. You feel more attached
to your life again. I wish all mothers could take part
in this programme.”

Peace in the family
‘My Family’ aims especially at poor and
undereducated parents and caregivers. Mothers are
taught about nutrition, health and child development.
They are encouraged to communicate with children
and to treat girls and boys equally. They are also
referred to government health services for check-ups
and immunization. Fathers receive follow-up letters
that summarise the course content.

Apart from improving the physical, emotional and
cognitive well-being of children at a critical stage in
their lives, ‘My Family’ provides young mothers with
a peer group support and often seems to improve
matrimonial relations:

“Fortunately my wife took this course and it brought
peace to the whole family,” a young husband
declared. “80% of the arguments in a family occur
because of the children. Why is she crying? - that
sort of thing.”

“Now my husband looks into my eyes first – to check
if he is right. And then he treats the children
according to that. I am so proud of this,” reported a
migrant woman from Eastern Turkey. “My husband
has started saying to me, ‘If you had carried on at
school you really could have gone far.’”

The Bakirkoy mothers are not short on
recommendations. “If only these courses were
organised in the Southeast where I come from,”
remarked one. “Families have ten children there. We
never received any affection from our parents but at
least we know better now.”

“All newly-weds should go to these courses,” added
another mother.

”Now we need to learn how we can help children in the
7-14 age-goup,” a father pointed out.

Parents education is available not only through MoNE
but also via community centres of the Social Services
and Child Protection Agency (SHCEK), municipalities
and NGOs. Closer ties are envisaged with Ministry of
Health programmes on safe motherhood and infant

6                                                         SAY YES: THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF UNICEF TURKEY

Getting the messages
for prefabricated

                                                                                                            photo by U¤ur Gümüfl
A telethon jointly organised by the
television channel NTV, the UNICEF
Country Office and the UNICEF
National Committee in partnership
with the Ministry of the Interior and
the Ministry of National Education
raised over YTL1.6 million for                         day, Cansu Dere and Mehmet Akif Alakurt, stars of
prefabricated classrooms in April.                     the popular soap opera ‘S›la’, filming on location
                                                       in the province, were due to visit the village.
But more schools and classrooms                        What’s more, renowned talk show host Tayfun
are still needed if 100% school                        Talipo¤lu was coming all the way from Istanbul to
enrolment is to be achieved,                           appear large as life in the old school yard. For a
                                                       precious hour or two around noon, the whole
especially among girls.                                community would be in front of the cameras - and
                                                       all of Turkey would be tuning in live.
The village of Eskin woke up early on April 23.
Inside the low, scattered houses, the children were    For Turkey’s children, April 23, celebrated as
the first to wash and dress. Here in the province of   National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, is always
Mardin, 1,000 kilometres from Ankara, rural people     a special occasion. But what made the 2007
see celebrities only on TV. But on this particular     celebrations so exciting for the children of Eskin

SAY YES: THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF UNICEF TURKEY                                                      7
    **********Real life**********
                                                                                               “We resisted but it wasn’t enough. This is the
                                                                                               custom in our village. Girls don’t go to school. They
                                                      A change of fortune                      sit at home, they do the housework, and they wait
                                                      for Zehra?                               for their fortune.”
                                                      It is ten years since Turkey             “How long do they wait?”
    photo by fiehnaz Tan›lkan

                                                      extended compulsory primary              “Some of them get married when they are 14 or 15.
                                                      education from five years to             Some have even got married at 13.”
                                                      eight. But for girls like Zehra,
                                                      from Eskin village, it has yet           According to Zehra, if even one villager had sent
                                                      to make a difference.                    his daughter to the school in town, just ten
                                                                                               kilometres away, her father would have sent her.
                                                     Zehra and her friends - slim,
                                                                                               But families must conform to the social norm.
                                                     nervous young teenagers,
                                                     their long hair tied back - face          “The tradition here is like this. Girls don’t go
                               the television cameras in sweaters and long skirts,             beyond grade 5. Some of them have never been to
                               or even jeans. Presenter Tayfun Talipo¤lu stresses              school at all. For example, my grandmother never
                               that they have not failed to complete their primary             went. It’s a kind of... rule.”
                               education but been prevented from doing so.                     There is no such problem for boys.
                               “I went to school for five years. I haven’t been
                                                                                               “Actually the girls are harder-working than the
                               going since last year,” says Zehra. “My friends and
                                                                                               boys,” Zehra remarks. “The boys sometimes run
                               I couldn’t study any more because there isn’t a
                                                                                               away from school and end up being disciplined”.
                               middle school in our village.”
                               Middle schools are nominally a thing of the past.               There are village boys who have become teachers,
                               But the little village school still only provided               she explains, but most of them want to earn a
                               schooling for grades 1-5. From grade 6 onwards,                 living by driving trucks to and from Iraq.
                               Eskin children had to travel to the nearest eight-              As for herself, she once dreamt of being a doctor.
                               year primary school in the district centre of
                                                                                               “I didn’t want children to die. I didn’t want pregant
                               K›z›ltepe, which straddles the road to Iraq.
                                                                                               woman to lose their babies. I wanted the ill people
                               “We wanted to go but our fathers couldn’t trust                 of my village to come to me and get better.”
                               us,” Zehra explains, speaking on the NTV-UNICEF
                               telethon.                                                       Those dreams just might come true. Now that
                                                                                               Eskin’s school has a row of smart prefabricated
                               “Why didn’t they trust you?” asks Talipo¤lu,                    classrooms, Zehra and her friends can resume their
                               “They said, ‘It’s not that we don’t trust you; it’s the         primary school education without leaving the
                               world that we don’t trust.’”                                    village. In theory, they can look forward to
                               “But there’s no such thing as a five-year education             opportunities which women have been denied for
                                any more.”                                                     countless generations. In practice, time will tell.

was the national telethon jointly organised by                                                been spent constructing, renovating, extending
UNICEF and the television news channel NTV to                                                 and refurbishing extra schools and classrooms.
raise money for prefabricated classrooms. It was,                                             Schools have also been constructed and equipped
in fact, an extraordinary day for boys and girls                                              under the grant-funded EU Support for Basic
throughout the country – and especially for the                                               Education Programme. Private donations have
girls.                                                                                        poured in, benefiting from 100% tax relief under
                                                                                              the 100% Support for Education Campaign.
No room at school
                                                                                              Nevertheless, the problem remains acute. A fifth
The fact is that Turkey does not have enough                                                  of primary school students are still studying in
schools for its 10.8m primary school children, and                                            classes of 50 or more. This is in spite of the fact
the schools do not have enough classrooms.                                                    that some children of primary school age, most of
Despite the decline in the pace of population                                                 them girls, are still not attending school at all!
growth, 1.4m boys and girls reach primary school
age each year. Many existing schools have also
become overburdened as a result of rapid                                                      Barriers to girls
migration from rural to urban areas and from                                                  When the Ministry of National Education launched
poorer provinces to crowded suburbs of major                                                  the girls’ education campaign Haydi K›zlar Okula
cities. The extension of compulsory primary                                                   w›th the support of UNICEF in 2003, there were
education from five years to eight as of 1997                                                 numerous obstacles to be overcome. In many
multiplied the demand for school buildings.                                                   parts of the country, communities saw no point in
                                                                                              girls attending school, given the limited roles
Over the past ten years, the Ministry of National                                             envisaged for women in traditional society. Many
Education has mobilised resources. World Bank                                                 conservative families were also unwilling to
loans totalling hundreds of millions of dollars have                                          educate their daughters, particularly beyond the

8                                                                                        SAY YES: THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF UNICEF TURKEY
                                                                             the district centre of
                                                                             K›z›ltepe in order to
                                                                             complete their primary
                                                                             education - the school bus
                                                                             continued to leave without a
                                                                             single girl on board. That,
                                                                             however, was before the
                                                                             construction earlier this year
                                                                             of a row of four new
                                                                             prefabricated classrooms.

                                                                             The prefabricated
                                                                               Who first had the idea of
                                                                               making use of prefabricated
                                                                               buildings to make up for the
                                                                               loss of schoolrooms? The
                                                                               credit has been given to the
                                                                               governors of fi›rnak and
                                                                               Siirt, who noticed that some
                                                                               of the prefabricated shelters
                                                                               used after the 1999
                                                         photo by U¤ur Gümüfl   earthquake in northwest
age of about 11, because they did not want them
to mix with boys and men at school or en route.                              Turkey were no longer being
Some parents were willing to send both their          used, and had the brainwave of recon-struct›ng
daughters and their sons to school, but in cases of   them as schools in their own provinces. More
financial difficulty, sons were given preference      prefabricated classrooms later went up in nearby
over daughters. Daughters were also more likely       fianl›urfa as a result of donations by the private
to be called on to help in the home instead of        sector and the UNICEF National Committee.
attending classes.
                                                      Public authorities were understandably cautious at
Enlisting the support of community leaders, field     first: they did not want to be accused of building
workers went from door to door seeking to             anything less than permanent schools in
overcome these preconceptions. Efforts were           disadvantaged provinces, especially in the
made to meet the needs of children who were           Southeast. But the case for “prefabs” proved
unable to go to school due to poverty. On             compelling. They are quick and easy to procure
condition of ensuring that their children attended    and construct; they come complete with sanitary
school, the poorest families, as determined by        facilities; they can be moved
                                                                                        photo by fiehnaz Tan›lkan
standard systems, were supported with cash
transfers. Within three years, over 220,000 girls
and an unexpected 100,000 boys who had either
never been enrolled or who had been enrolled but
had later dropped out, started to attend school

Missing the bus
Yet ironically, the progress made by the girls’
education campaign only exacerbated the deficit
of physical facilities. Moreover, overcrowded
school facilities provided families, community
leaders and officials still unconvinced about the
benefits of girls’ education with a powerful excuse
for keeping girls at home. Children studying in
such unfavourable circumstances often dropped
out or were unsuccessful.

In villages like Eskin, where the stone schoolhouse
could cater only for grades 1-5 - and where older
children had to make a daily journey of 10km to

SAY YES: THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF UNICEF TURKEY                                                            9
     *******Ask the expert********                                   *******Ask the expert********

                         Yakut Temüro¤lu-Sundur,                                         Ertan Karab›y›k,
                         UNICEF Country Office                                           UNICEF Country Office
                         Education Section:                                              Education Section:
                         Children                                                        Not just a rural
                         can’t wait                                                      problem
                            “When we were working in the                                 “Lack of schools and
                            field for the Girls Education                                classrooms is a big problem in
                            campaign, we frequently came                                 rural areas. But we also come
                            up against the problem of lack                               across the same problem in
      of classrooms, especially in Diyarbak›r, Van, A¤r›              rapidly-growing districts of Istanbul, Izmir and
      and fianl›urfa. We heard that there were classes                 Adana. The unanticipated process of migration
      of 80, 90 or even 100 students. When enrolment                  has caused schools in some places to empty
      started in A¤r›, we had school principals telling us            while schools in other places are full to bursting.
      that all the seats were taken. Some of them were                In Esentepe, Istanbul, we went to a school with
      using every available space in their schools for                5,700 students, and as many as 90 in some
      learning. But still it wasn’t enough. Nor is it                 classes. The teachers could not even take the
      acceptable in our culture to have boys and girls                register properly.
      all squashed together in such classrooms.                       “The impact of lack of classrooms on the girls’
                                                                      education campaign has been twofold. First, the
      “The campaign has had to overcome several                       quality of education drops dramatically when
      obstacles, including parents’ attitudes, child                  classes are very crowded. Secondly, in villages,
      labour, early marriage, problems with the quality               when girls complete grade 5, they then have to
      of education and so on. But a lack of schools has               go to an eight-year primary school, which usually
      been the first or the second obstacle to getting                means either bussing or boarding school. By this
      girls into schools. And the problem is still there.             time the girls are 10 or 11 years old and the
                                                                      parents just don’t send them. There are boarding
      “I strongly believe in providing prefabricated                  schools with 300 boys and only 50 girls; the rest
      classrooms as a solution for this problem. You                  of the girls are out of school.
      cannot persuade parents that education is of
                                                                      “The ‘Haydi K›zlar Okula’ campaign has had a
      value to their children if you do not provide good
                                                                      catalytic effect. fianl›urfa has received a lot of
      conditions. The children cannot afford to wait 2 or
                                                                      funds, second only to Istanbul, as a result of
      3 years for a school. The classrooms we have
                                                                      public spending, private and corporate donations,
      provided so far are a drop in the ocean. We
                                                                      the ‘100% education’ campaign and the efforts of
      cannot stop here. We have to continue talking
                                                                      other organisations and campaigns. And
      about it, to mobilise the private sector, to
                                                                      prefabricated classrooms have become an
      collaborate with other campaigns...”
                                                                      important instrument.”

elsewhere if and when they are no longer needed,                   their education for at least three more years. The
and if properly constructed they are proof against                 visit of the mass media to the village on April 23
earthquakes. Contrary to popular belief, they also                 was not merely a celebration of this event. Its
last for as long as 35 years.                                      main purpose was to assist television viewers to
                                                                   conceptualise what an enormous difference the
In 2006, the National Committee managed to raise                   instant school extension could make to the lives of
US$150,000 for prefabricated classrooms.                           children - and so to encourage millions of Turks to
Agreement was reached whereby the provinces of                     make donations that would permit the
Mardin, Diyarbak›r and K›rflehir, which were                        construction of at least a hundred more
chosen for the initial implementation upon a                       classrooms.
proposal from the Directorate General of
Provincial Administrations of the Ministry of the                  In the event, the poignant interviews conducted by
Interior, would match the donations by allocating                  Talipo¤lu with village girls helped to attract
an equal amount of public funds for the same                       125,000 SMS messages and hundreds of larger
purpose.                                                           donations, and to ensure that the telethon raised
                                                                   over YTL1.6 million - enough to construct 124
Instant success                                                    classrooms. The slogan for the day was
                                                                   “Okul Ekliyoruz” – or “We are adding schools”.
This, to cut a long story short, was how Eskin got                 Decisions are now being taken on where those
its practical new classrooms. It took less than a                  “added schools” are most needed.
month to put them in place. As a result, the girls
of the village are expected to be able to continue

10                                                           SAY YES: THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF UNICEF TURKEY
How to telethon                                                                       shortage of school buildings. But the telethon has
                                                                                      served as one more reminder of an important
The telethon demonstrated the enormous                                                problem. Further donations to the national
potential for cooperation between UNICEF, the                                         authorities, the UNICEF National Committee and
media and the public in the interests of Turkey’s                                     other non-government organisations working in
children. The ministers of National Education and                                     education are expected to follow. The need for
the Interior personally took part in the programme                                    schools and classrooms is set to remain a
by telephone. Besides the live broadcast from                                         prominent national policy issue.
Mardin, with Talipo¤lu and the S›la stars, the NTV
programme for the day included a celebrity
knowledge contest and an unusual live studio
interview with legendary pop singer Sezen Aksu.
Aksu performed one of her new songs for the first
time in public – and asked for money for perhaps
the first time in her life. There was also a one-off
edition of the singing talent contest fiark›
Söylemek Laz›m (normally shown on another
channel), in which a host of musical household
names teamed up with child singers.

The all-star turnout owed much to the efforts of
Talat Halman, President of the UNICEF National
Committee and formerly Turkey’s first Minister of
Culture. It also represented the culmination of a
long-standing ambition and weeks of tireless effort
from UNICEF Country Office and National
Committee staff. While information notes were
prepared for all those taking part in the telethon,
potential corporate donors and partners were
mailed or visited in person. A call-centre was set
up and accords were reached with telephone
operators and banks. An intense communications
campaign was undertaken to ensure maximum
publicity. NTV personnel too were unsparing in
their efforts to make the event a success.

Joining forces
April 23 was chosen for the telethon because it
was the day of the year when citizens were most
                                                        photos by Sema Hosta

likely to show generosity towards children. For the
same reason, two other organisations concerned
           photo by Sema Hosta
                               with the well-being of
                               children chose the
                               same date to stage
                               fund-raising telethons
                               of their own on rival
                               popular channels. This
                               could have meant
                               awkward competition,
                               but in practice there
                               was only friendship
                               and cooperation. There
                               were no losers, and
                                                        photo by Fatma Özdemir Uluç

                               the only winners were
                               Turkey’s children.

                            A hundred classrooms
                            - or even a few
                            hundred – will not
                            even begin to put an
                            end to the national

SAY YES: THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF UNICEF TURKEY                                                                                     11

                       Assault on child
                       poverty comes closer
                       The Ministry of Labour is to take the lead in developing a strategy to counter
                       the scourge of child poverty. The decision to develop the strategy follows on
                       from the Child Poverty Conference held in Ankara in June 2006. It will aim
                       not only to make life incomparably more pleasant for millions of girls and
                       boys, but also to benefit the national economy and reduce violence, crime,
                       child abuse and other social problems.

                                                                                                             (Left to right) Minister of
                                                                                                             Labour and Social Security
                                                                                                             Murat Baflesgio¤lu,
photo by O¤uz Sa¤d›ç

                                                                                                             UNICEF Turkey National
                                                                                                             Committee President
                                                                                                             Professor Talat Halman,
                                                                                                             and UNICEF Turkey
                                                                                                             Representative Edmond

                       Turkey is to develop a strategy to reduce and               The press conference, held at the Social Security
                       eventually eliminate child poverty. The move was            Agency, was also addressed by ‹smail Bar›fl,
                       announced by Minister of Labour and Social                  Director-General of the Prime Ministry Social
                       Security Murat Basesgio¤lu at a press conference            Services and Child Protection Agency (SHÇEK),
                       in Ankara on May 23. The Ministry is now holding            UNICEF Turkey Representative Edmond
                       consultations concerning the design of the                  McLoughney, Gülay Aslantepe, Director of the
                       strategy. Other government agencies, local                  International Labour Organisation Office in Ankara,
                       authorities, civil society, academics, the EU, the          Cafer Y›lmaz, head of the EU Coordination
                       United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), parents            Department at the Ministry, and Seda Ceylan and
                       and children themselves are all expected to be              Canser Karadafl of the Ankara provincial child
                       involved. The strategy is likely to cover the period        rights committee. The speakers were introduced
                       2007-14.                                                    by TV presenter Tayfun Talipo¤lu. Among the

                       12                                                     SAY YES: THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF UNICEF TURKEY
audience were Professor Talat Halman, the
president of the UNICEF Turkey National
Committee, members of staff of the UNICEF
Turkey Country Office, and members of the
national press.

Official figures
According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, over
5.6m - or 27.7% - of under-fifteens were living in
food and non-food poverty in Turkey in 2005. This
means that their parents or caregivers did not
have enough means to feed, clothe, shelter,             ‹smail Bar›fl, Director-General, Social Services and Child
educate and protect them.                               Protection Agency (SHÇEK)

Turkey’s poor children are mostly to be found in
underdeveloped provinces, in rural areas and in
poor districts of major cities, often populated by
recent migrants. In the majority of cases, their
parents have limited education and are not
employed on a regular basis. In rural areas, 40.6%
of all under-fifteens face food and non-food
poverty. Children from large families are much
more likely to live in poverty than children from
smaller families.

                                                        Gülay Aslantepe, Director of the International Labour
Drastic effects                                         Organisation Office in Ankara
Poverty has drastic effects on children’s lives.
Children in poverty are often excluded from the
social, cultural and recreational activities in which
other children take part. Poverty is also the main
reason why children are to be found working in
the fields, in industry, on the street and in the

                                                                                                                         photos by O¤uz Sa¤d›ç
home, and why children have to be cared for in
institutions. Poverty leads to nutritional
deficiencies, stunted growth and all the health and
safety risks associated with overcrowded housing
conditions. Yet poor children are also less likely
than other children either to be fully immunised or
to be able to obtain health care when they need it.     Seda Ceylan and Canser Karadafl of the Ankara provincial
                                                        child rights committee
Poverty also deprives children of educational
opportunities. Parents of poor children may not be      who are a prey to all kinds of exploitation and
able to send them to school regularly due to the        violence, are more likely to engage in criminal or
cost of clothes, transport, meals and stationery.       anti-social behaviour as adolescents and adults.
Girls, especially, may never attend school or drop      But intervention on behalf of children has the
out at an early age – a great loss of human capital     potential to break down this continuous cycle of
for the national economy.                               poverty.

The poverty trap                                        Policy choices
Lacking an adequate education, most poor                So far, efforts to alleviate poverty have centred on
children will become poor adults. Moreover, poor        the “green card” scheme for access to health
girls who miss out on a good education are              services, the assistance provided through the
statistically likely to marry at an early age and       Social Assistance and Solidarity Fund, the
have a large number of pregnancies, threatening         “conditional cash transfer” payments made to
their own well-being, and increasing the risks that     families who send their girls to school or take up
their own children will face a lifetime of              basic health services and the new service model
underachievement, poor health and material              for children working or living on the street.
deprivation.                                            Broadening the conditional cash transfers into a
                                                        conditional benefit available to all children within
Those who experience poverty as children, and           a comprehensive social policy framework will

SAY YES: THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF UNICEF TURKEY                                                                  13

                    Children offer solutions
                    for global warming
                    Members of Turkey’s child rights committees have made a series of
                    recommendations to stop the planet from heating up.

                    Members of the provincial child rights committees,          Coordinated campaign
                    sponsored by ice-cream manufacturer Algida,
                                                                                The child rights committees were first established
                    have called for an end to global warming. The
                                                                                seven years ago to publicise child rights and
                    children went public with their 40-article
                                                                                promote children’s participation in decision-
                    declaration at a press conference on Istanbul’s
                                                                                making. Coordinated by the Social Services and
                    Fener Pier on June 4 - the eve of World
                                                                                Child Protection Agency (SHCEK) and supported
                    Environment Day.
                                                                                by UNICEF, they elect delegates to the annual
                    “People should not only think about themselves,             Children’s Forum.
                    but should bear future generations in mind in the
                    way they act,” the declaration begins. “It should           With the backing of Algida, 25 of the committees
                    be possible to inform all the world about global            are currently taking part in a "Rights of the Child
                    warming and the dangers which await us,” it                 Promotion Campaign" managed entirely by
                    continues, citing the risks of drought, falling life        children themselves. The declaration was drawn
                    expectation, an increase in disease and a                   up in this context, following a series of regional
                    reduction in fresh air.                                     coordination meetings.
                    The declaration, which was read out by Göksu
                    Oktay and Ça¤an Kaleli, goes on to make a series            “Excellent model”
                    of practical recommendations for reducing global            UNICEF Turkey Representative Eddie McLoughney
                    warming, ranging from prescheduled power cuts               praised the children for their concern about the
                    to the manufacture of vehicles which make use of            environment. He also thanked Algida for its
                    solar energy. The children also call on people to           valuable contribution both to children and to the
                    use public transport, turn off taps and lights, use         work of UNICEF. Now two years old, the
                    warm water instead of hot, and recycle waste.               cooperation between Algida and UNICEF, Mr
                                                                                               McLoughney said, constitutes an
                                                                                               excellent model of social

                                                                                               “How fortunate we are that, in spite
                                                                                               of everything, the summer has this
                                                                                               year once again brought with it the
                                                                                               scent of herbs on the ground, salt
                                                                                               along the sea-shore and blossom in
                                                                                               the air,” commented Algida
photo by Excel-PR

                                                                                               Marketing Manager fiükrü Dinçer.
                                                                                               “If we are to continue to enjoy these
                                                                                               pleaures and to be able to pass
                                                                                               them on to our children, then we
                                                                                               must pay attention to the warnings
                                                                                               contained in the declaration which
                    Göksu Oktay and Ça¤an Kaleli read the declaration                          our children have drawn up.”

                    14                                                     SAY YES: THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF UNICEF TURKEY

on the
decline                                                                                                 photo by Özbilen Keskin

Long-awaited figures have                               Household chores
confimed that child labour is                           The above figures do not include children who
                                                        take responsibility for domestic tasks such as
declining, especially in rural areas.                   cooking, washing, cleaning, shopping and the care
Even so, 320,000 6-14 year-olds are                     of younger siblings. According to the 2006 survey,
engaged in economic activities.                         53% of all girls and 33% of all boys aged 6-17
                                                        carried out household chores – higher than the
Figures released by the Turkish Statistical Institute   figures recorded in 1999. As girls grow older they
in April indicate that 958,000 children aged            are more and more likely to find themselves doing
between 6 and 17 were engaged in some form of           housework. Nearly three-quarters of all girls aged
economic activity in 2006 – some 5.9% of the total      15-17 perform domestic chores, both in urban and
number of children in this age group. Among             rural areas.
children aged 6-14, 320,000 – or 2.6% - were
engaged in economic activity. 124,000 of these          Statistics on child labour are published with the
were not attending school.                              support of the International Programme for the
                                                        Elimination of Child Labour, an initiative of the
The first survey on child labour for seven years        International Labour Organisation (ILO).
shows that longer years of schooling and the             Children in work (Age 6-14)
declining importance of agriculture as a source of                        1999                                2006
employment have caused a marked reduction in                         ‘000s   % of cohort              ‘000s     % of cohort
                                                         Total         609       5.1                    320         2.6
child labour. In rural areas, child labour declined      --urban       109       1.6                    116         1.5
by over 50% between 1999 and 2006.                       --rural       500       9.6                    205         4.1
                                                         Girls         269       4.6                    113         1.8
                                                         --urban        28       0.8                     31         0.8
Urban concern                                            --rural       241       9.5                     82         3.3
The total number of children engaged in economic         Boys          340       5.6                    207         3.3
                                                         --urban        81       2.4                     85         2.2
activity in urban areas fell only from 478,000 in        --rural       259       9.7                    123         5.0
1999 to 457,000 in 2006. Among children aged 6-          Source: Turkish Statistical Institute (Turkstat)
14, there was actually an increase, from 109,000 to
                                                         Children in work (Age 15-17)
116,000. The numbers rose for both girls and boys.                        1999                                2006
                                                                     ‘000s   % of cohort              ‘000s     % of cohort
Of the total number of working children in 2006,         Total       1,021      26.3                    638        16.9
392,000 children were engaged in agriculture,            --urban       369      16.2                    341        14.2
                                                         --rural       652      40.7                    297        21.4
271,000 in industry and 294,000 in trade and other       Girls         406      21.2                    213        11.3
services. Just under half of the children concerned      --urban        88       8.1                     89         7.9
worked as unpaid labourers on family farms, in           --rural       318      38.1                    124        16.6
family shops or in other family businesses. Over         Boys          615      31.3                    425        22.3
                                                         --urban       281      23.4                    252        19.9
half earned wages. A few ran micro-businesses of         --rural       334      43.5                    173        27.1
their own.                                               Source: Turkish Statistical Institute (Turkstat)

SAY YES: THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF UNICEF TURKEY                                                                          15
The recent record:                                             Our vision for 2010:
For over fifty years, the United Nations Children’s            Together with its partners, UNICEF has committed
Fund (UNICEF) has been contributing its                        itself to achieving the following results in Turkey
international experience and resources to work                 for 2010:
which benefits children in Turkey.
                                                               • an under-five mortality rate of fewer than 25 per
Some recent developments are as follows:                         1,000 live births, and exclusive breastfeeding for
                                                                 at least 40% of infants aged 0-6 months
• The under-five mortality rate fell from 82 per
  1,000 live births to 29 per 1,000 between 1990               • full immunisation of 90% of children,
  and 2005.                                                      maintenance of polio-free status, elimination of
                                                                 measles, reduction of iodine deficiency
• Pregnancy-related mortality declined steeply to                disorders and iron-deficiency anemia
  38.3 per 100,000 live births over the same
                                                               • pre-school education for 30% of children aged
                                                                 3-6 and widespread adoption of positive child-
• Turkey was declared polio-free by the                          rearing practices by parents and care-givers
  European Regional Commission for the                         • full gender equality in primary school
  Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication in                  enrolment, a 10% reduction in drop-outs and
  2002.                                                          schools which are child-friendly and violence-
• Over 200,000 girls and 100,000 boys who had
  either never been enrolled in school or who                  • fewer children in institutions, on the streets and
  were not attending have started to attend                      in conflict with the law; higher standards of
  school regularly since 2003.                                   residential care; shorter trials, and reduced use
                                                                 of detention in juvenile justice
• Innovative policies have been adopted
  including child rights committees, child                     • adolescents with skills to resolve conflicts,
  protection legislation, training for parents and               protect themselves from violence, exploitation
  adolescents and anti-poverty and anti-violence                 and HIV/AIDS, and participate in decision-
  strategies.                                                    making

How you can help:
Ask UNICEF Turkey for more information about our current programmes and projects and how you can
support them. If you wish to make a donation, please get in touch with the Turkish National Committee
for UNICEF, which can be contacted at:

• Headquarters-Ankara                Tel.: +90 312 290 3390 or +90 312 290 3391             Fax: +90 312 290 3388
                                     E-mail:                          Web:
• Regional office – Istanbul         Tel.: +90 212 252 5222 or +90 212 249 6686             Fax: +90 212 252 9727

Say Yes is published every three months by UNICEF Turkey, Birlik Mahallesi, 2. Cadde, No. 11, 06610 Çankaya, Ankara, Turkey.
Tel.: +90 312 454 1000 Fax: +90 312 496 1461 Email: Web:
Views and opinions expressed in Say Yes do not necessarily reflect those of UNICEF.
Text & Production: Bernard Kennedy
Cover photo : Sedat Suna
Printing: Meteksan

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