ReROOT Output


Platform Building

Istanbul-Fatih Platform Building

Site-Researcher: Marhabo Saparova
Platform Building Description
Gender-based/intersectional discrimination and violence has played a prominent role in the arrival processes of newcomers in the Fatih district in Istanbul. Thus, the platform building involved the organisation of Wendo self-defense trainings where participants acquire practical tools to empower themselves against different types of violence. Furthermore, this platform aims to a) create a safe space for newcomers to discuss taboo and sensitive topics, and b) initiate community bond/s based on the shared experience of violence.
Intended objectives
Self-defense workshops have several objectives and learning outcomes:

1. To empower women with tools to defend themselves against different types of violence:

  • To disseminate knowledge about the different types of violence against women and young girls.
  • To provide knowledge about the different tips of self-protection to keep in mind in different situations.
  • To showcase and give demo on different self-defense techniques.

2. To create a safe space to discuss a taboo and sensitive topic (i.e. sexual violence, harassment, rape, etc.):

3. To create a community bond based on the shared experience of violence. Many women in the area have different national, ethnic, religious, and educational backgrounds and experiences, compete over the same jobs and opportunities, and have conflicting and hierarchical relationships with each other that do not allow for creating solidarity bonds.

Target groups:
Local/long-term resident and newcomer women in the three localities have been the main target group of the workshops. The workshops aimed to provide participants with knowledge and skills to safeguard themselves against gender and sex-based violence and empower women through building a connection among each other over the shared experience of violence. We kept the workshops open to different groups of women and made them accessible in many ways.
Initial Insights

Managing the roles and expectations

1. During the platform building, the researcher had to navigate different roles: a facilitator, an organizer, and a participant-observer. Sometimes these roles were self-ascribed and separately carried out, in other moments, these roles were overlapping and “imposed”. It was a learning process and one of the main things that she learned was to manage her expectations. In the initial stages, the researcher was very ambitious and set goals that did not take into account bureaucratic/organizational barriers or the conflict of interest of the stakeholders.

2. Being “end-goal” oriented was an inadequate approach since the process brought many changes and challenges. Being flexible and accepting the complexity/the messiness of the process is a more helpful stance.

Ways of being inclusive despite limited resources

1. Collaboration: Collaboration with “experienced” organizations, with newcomers, and with migrant networks is the way to be more inclusive. Involving as many people as we can in platform building can be challenging yet also very enriching.

Inclusivity, interactivity and reflexivity of the platform

Platform building was an interactive and reflexive process in our site. Yet it was less inclusive in terms of what the researcher expected. The aim was to include more women newcomers which was difficult to reach. Starting with realistic expectations and trying to make ‘small’ changes and impact is helpful in this regard.
Made on