Soap Production Atelier of Women

Soap Production Atelier of Women

Turkey
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

An atelier is established to produce soap with local “bittim” oil by women in Mardin. On the other hand, the soap quality is improved by modernizing the traditional production methods and changing the soap content with natural materials. Now 15 women are in the production group and the income is used for the day care centers established in the low-income neighborhoods by our cooperative.

About You
Organization:
İpek Yolu Kadın Çevre ve İşletme Kooperatifi (Silk Road Women Cooperative)
Section 1: About You
First Name

Berna

Last Name

Yagci

Website
Country

, MAR

Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

Organization Name

İpek Yolu Kadın Çevre ve İşletme Kooperatifi (Silk Road Women Cooperative)

Organization Phone

+90 482 213 47 55

Organization Address

Menderes Mahallesi 1.Cadde Tayyar Baba Pasajı karşısı No.:25/A Merkez / Mardin

Organization Country

, MAR

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, MAR

Innovation
What makes your idea unique?

The project is unique because it is the first initiative owned by women in Mardin. And since the business field (soap production-marketing) is innovative, it forms a model for women.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact

The project;
- forms a successful model for low-income women to start their own business. The soap atelier is the first business owned by women in Mardin.
- contributes to the change in the conservative public opinion on women’s participation into the economic life in Mardin,
- supports women in building capacity on the subjects like marketing, entrepreneurship and gaining skills on production,
- enables 15 women to earn income.
Besides; the new women are given trainings to include into the production team regularly. During these activities, additional supportive programs are given to build self-confidence and leadership skills.

Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing

Unemployment, poverty, the lack in investment, education and economic recession are the main problems in Mardin with app. population of 700.000. Unemployment rates are quite high; at least 1 person in 41% of the households is unemployed. And app. 40% of the population is living under the poverty limit. As a result, women are most vulnerable groups against these problems. Women’s lack in vocational skills prevents their participation into the labor market and this situation results with high poverty and social exclusion risks for women.
On the other hand there are many activities aiming to empower women economically. However; these activities are mostly (handicraft) skills trainings and don’t include new business areas, sectors including technology. So these are far from providing a sustainable support for women.
In order to create effective solutions like supporting women in participating into the economic life actively or increasing their entrepreneurship capacity; the activities should have a need-oriented approach for women. Especially in a city like Mardin where women can hardly take part in social and economic life, there is a need for new and successful business models.

Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. What might prevent that success?

The activities needed to provide success of the project are;
- expanding the market,
- increasing the number of the producer women,
And;
- creating new business fields for women,
- supporting other women groups for starting their own business in the other districts of Turkey,
The cooperative also runs a guesthouse and a shop. It is also aimed to improve the capacity of these enterprises.

Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible

In the 1st year, it is aimed to search for new markets, start to work with more marketing channels.
In the 2nd year, it is aimed to raise the production capacity.
In the 3rd year, it is aimed to market the products on international level.

How many people will your project serve annually?

101‐1000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$100 ‐ 1000

Does your innovation seek to have an impact on public policy?

If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?

Approximately 150 words left (1200 characters).

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with businesses?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with government?

Yes

Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your innovation

The partnerships are essential to provide the sustainability of the project. Partnerships with NGOs provide the impacts of the business to disseminate more as a result of experience sharing. By the partnerships with the businesses, more marketing channels are reached.
The cooperative collaborates with the local authorities within the other activities. The cooperative runs 2 day care centers in 2 low-income neighborhoods. The local authorities provide teacher and material for these activities.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

The project is financed by the business itself. The products are being sold in the Cooperative’s shop on local level and in the markets, shops on national level. The profit is divided amongst the women after some percentage is taken for the cooperative.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Unemployment, poverty, the lack in investment, education and economic recession are the main problems in Mardin with app. population of 700.000. Unemployment rates are quite high; at least 1 person in 41% of the households is unemployed. And app. 40% of the population is living under the poverty limit. As a result, women are most vulnerable groups against these problems. Women’s lack in vocational skills prevents their participation into the labor market and this situation results with high poverty and social exclusion risks for women.
On the other hand there are many activities aiming to empower women economically. However; these activities are mostly (handicraft) skills trainings and don’t include new business areas, sectors including technology. So these are far from providing a sustainable support for women.
In order to create effective solutions like supporting women in participating into the economic life actively or increasing their entrepreneurship capacity; the activities should have a need-oriented approach for women. Especially in a city like Mardin where women can hardly take part in social and economic life, there is a need for new and successful business models.

Tell us about the person—the social innovator—behind this idea.

Berna, a native of Mardin and of Arabic heritage, is an extraordinary example of an entrepreneur who refused to be satisfied by the status quo. As early as 18, her strong interest in social concerns led her to risk taking unaccompanied walks to neighboring communities. She has always felt a deep sense of responsibility for the community where she was born, and this feeling fuels her dedication.

Whereas the majority of young women her age and with her level of education were leaving the city for better economic conditions or to get married, Berna stayed in Mardin to continue her education at a vocational school, and she worked part time as a field coordinator for an Istanbul-based CO.

She began taking walks to Kurdish Mardin more frequently in her late teens and early twenties. Her parents knew where she was going when they saw her put on a particular pair of boots she wore for those treks, but unlike more conservative families in Mardin, Berna’s parents were uncommonly accepting about her choices. Her passion was evident early on.

Because of her walks and the many observations and conversations she had, Berna was increasingly convinced that lasting change would have to begin locally, driven by women and for women. Her ability to persuade others to support her initiative—from local authorities to academics to business executives—is evidence of her unyielding will. Today, Berna is a local heroine in Mardin.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Email from Changemakers

If through another source, please provide the information

Sarah Mintz

ICRW
Does your project address any of the following barriers to women’s technology access and use?

Economic or institutional constraints.

If you checked any of the boxes above, please explain how.

The project forms an innovative, successful model for women initiatives. It supports low-income women to earn income while building capacity on production, marketing.

Does your project involve women in one or more of the following stages of the technology lifecycle? Identification of the problem the technology will solve:

Technology design, Technology training, Creation and maintenance of market linkages for women's economic outputs.

If you checked any of the boxes above, please explain how you will ensure women’s involvement in each relevant phase of the technology lifecycle.

The project involves women in various stages of the technology lifecycle. From the establishment to date including the business/ product development periods, women have been a part of the project. They involved in the pilot implementation, taste of the products; they were given trainings on the production methods, usage of the equipment, marketing etc. and now the producers/owners of the business.

If women are a focus of your project, how did this focus evolve?

The project focused on women from its conception..

Which type of women will your project reach directly?

Peri-urban, Low income.

In what ways does your project team/leadership involve women?

The core project team includes women from developing countries..

Has your organization formed any new partnerships in response to this challenge? If so, with what type/s of organization/s?

Non-profit/NGO/community-based organization, For-profit.

Has your project leadership had prior experience with the following?

Working with women.

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