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Social Justice

Nurcan Baysal

The latest episode of “Turkey’s Changemakers” features Nurcan Baysal, who left her academic post at Bilkent University to return to her hometown of Diyarbakır to work in civil society.

While working for the UN Development Program, Baysal focused on strengthening women’s organizations in Diyarbakır. She also played a role in the founding of the Southeastern Anatolian Women’s Entrepreneurship Advisory Council. In 2005, she established the Development Centre along three of her friends to focus on issues of forced migration, rural development, and urban poverty. She is also one of the founding members of the Diyarbakır Institute for Political and Economic Research, which was established in 2009. Lately, she concentrated most of her efforts on rural development.

Baysal began working as a Program Coordinator for the Hüsnü M. Özyeğin Foundation in 2006. In 2008, she initiated the Foundation’s Rural Development Program. Nurcan Baysal and her project team conducted research in 35 cities and decided to implement the project in the Kavar River Basin, located in the Tatvan district of the province of Bitlis, which featured the lowest socio-economic indicators in Turkey. The project made a significant impact on the living standards of over 2.000 people through projects on education, employment, health, and social life. Projects focusing on the revival of the local economy included the establishment of a milk collection facility and a greenhouse and supporting beekeeping. Workshops on hygiene, childcare, and mother’s health were offered. Toy libraries, playgrounds, music ensembles, and a women’s theatre club were established. In addition, a school with 10 classrooms was built in Kavar as part of the project.

Nurcan Baysal was awarded the ‘Women’s Creativity in Rural Life Award’ by the Women’s World Summit Foundation for her work in the Kavar River Basin.

 

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