SADA Women’s Cooperative ranks among the top 10 projects at the Paris Peace Forum

Date: Friday, November 29, 2019

SADA Women’s Cooperative actively attends events to introduce items that the women produce. Photo: UN Women
SADA Women’s Cooperative actively attends events to introduce items that the women produce. Photo: UN Women

Founded by Turkish, Syrian and Afghan women, the SADA Women’s Cooperative has been selected as one of the most successful 10 projects out of 100 at the Paris Peace Forum that took place from 11-13 November.

Set up by 50 Turkish, Syrian and Afghan women, the SADA Women’s Cooperative was founded in Gaziantep, Southeast Turkey in March 2019. The Cooperative secured its place at the Paris Peace Forum after it was selected among the first 100 projects out of 1,600 applications and crowned this success by ranking among the top 10 successful-scale up projects. The Cooperative has a diverse portfolio: producing handbags and shoes, providing catering services and manufacturing home textiles. With their motto, ‘stronger together’, the women introduced their democratic and inclusive business model at the Paris Peace Forum. SADA, which means voice in both Turkish and Arabic, makes the women’s voices heard all over the world.

SADA Women’s Cooperative is selected among the top 10 scale-up projects at the Paris Peace Forum. Photo: UN Women
SADA Women’s Cooperative is selected among the top 10 scale-up projects at the Paris Peace Forum. Photo: UN Women

Incubated at the SADA Women’s Empowerment and Solidarity Center, the SADA Women’s Cooperative brings refugee and Turkish women together. Both the SADA Center and the Cooperative are supported under a large-scale project called: Strenghthening the Resilience of Syrian Women and host Communities in Turkey, Iraq and Jordan, which is funded by the European Union and the Government of Japan. Providing gender responsive protection, livelihoods services and social cohesion support to refugee and local women, the project is implemented by UN Women Turkey in partnership with the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, the International Labour Organization and the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants.

Paris Peace Forum

The Paris Peace Forum is an international event on global governance issues and multilateralism, held annually in Paris, France. The Forum pushes forward innovative solutions by inviting public and private organizations around the world to showcase more than 100 projects, that have put in practice specific solutions to governance challenges. (www.parispeaceforum.org)

“My world was as small as a raisin and now it’s as big as a watermelon” 

Nazire Öztürk and Zübeyde Bulut, two of the Turkish members, who represented the Cooperative at the Forum, shared their thoughts with us.

Zübeyde Bulut (left) Nazire Öztürk (Right) are two members of the Cooperative. Photo:UN Women
Zübeyde Bulut (left) Nazire Öztürk (Right) are two members of the Cooperative. Photo:UN Women

Zübeyde Bulut: “Joining forces made us stronger and carried us to the Paris Peace Forum. I am emotionally overwhelmed and find it hard to explain. I explain to my kids: my world was as small as a raisin and suddenly it’s grown into a watermelon. Others appreciating you for what you produce yourself is an indescribable feeling.”

Nazire Öztürk: “We used to stay at home and take care of our children. Then we started taking courses at the SADA Center. We then founded the Cooperative and it took us here to the Forum. We take great pride in our dreams coming true, while all of this was just a dream back at home. To be the voice of the women in Gaziantep, and to represent our Syrian and Afghan friends here is remarkable.”

The Forum will support the Cooperative for a year

The 10 scale-up projects selected at the Paris Peace Forum present the highest potential for development, while tackling crucial global governance issues. As one of the scale-up projects, the SADA Women’s Cooperative will be provided with business opportunities and other support for a year. The Cooperative will join the Forum in Paris again in 2020.