Nebahat Akkoc

Year founded: 

Working throughout Anatolia, KAMER provides social support for women facing domestic violence.

Focus: Women’s Human Rights, Domestic Violence, Honour Killing, Forced Marriage, Education, Enterprise Development, Children
Geographic Area of Impact: Turkey
Model: Leveraged Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 4,124 (2010)
Annual Budget: US$ 552,648 (2010)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 10.96%
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Turkey, 2008

Gender discrimination is one of Turkey’s most serious problems, with a KAMER survey revealing that 90% of women accepted violence as a natural result of being a woman. The country’s two regions suffering from the highest rates of violence directed towards women, as well as children, are eastern and south-eastern Anatolia. These are regions characterized by a traditional, sexist, tribal social structure and violent civil conflict. Having experienced violence firsthand as a woman, a political detainee and a widow whose husband was murdered in the midst of a civil conflict, Nebahat Akkoc founded KAMER to share her experiences and awareness with other women.

Innovation and Activities
KAMER started its operations in the Anatolian city of Diyarbakir through awareness-raising workshops on human rights for women, and the provision of any support requested by women to end violence in their lives. Today KAMER women's centres are present in 23 provinces in eastern and south-eastern Anatolia, providing psychological, employment and legal counselling to those facing domestic violence. It has also formed emergency intervention teams that include representatives of relevant local government agencies.

Since its inception, KAMER has reached about 300,000 women through awareness-raising activities, and provided psychological, economic and legal support for 20,000 women facing domestic violence. It has offered support to about 750 women facing threats of “honour killings" since 2003.

To provide job opportunities for women in the region where the unemployment rate is particularly high, and to contribute to its own economic sustainability, KAMER launched an entrepreneurship programme. This includes a café in Diyarbakir, a restaurant in Mardin and a guesthouse in Tunceli run by women. KAMER continues to contribute to improving the status of women in Turkey by helping women at the local level, while lobbying and advocating at the state level for better policies and enforcement of legal reforms.

The Entrepreneur
Nebahat Akkoc was a primary school teacher for 22 years. She served on the executive committee of the Human Rights Association of Turkey from 1994 to 1996, and as the head of the Diyarbakir's Branch of Education and Science Labourers Union from 1991 to 1993. She founded KAMER in 1997 and has been leading the organization ever since. Recognized internationally for her work, Akkoc has been awarded the MDG3 Torch (2008), Social Democracy Foundation (SODEV) Human Rights Award (2007), French Legion of Honour medal (2006), Mevlana Kinship and Peace Award (2005), Amnesty International Ginetta Sagan Award (2004) and Time magazine’s Heroes of Our Time award (2003).