Impact: What is the impact of the work to date?
A social change project, developed and implemented by the Sparks program participants, is the main tool through which Sparks objectives are met. The group in the city of Duzce all of whom were nursing students at Duzce University, prepared a pamphlet on the proper use of prescription drugs. They distributed 3,000 pamphlets in the downtown area and on campus, reaching at least 9,000 people.
The Sparks group in Izmir helped a school for hearing impaired children build a play room with a purpose of creating a fun environment that fosters communication. The play room has impacted a total of 500 people including students, teachers, parents and community members.
Muge Bicimli, a Sparks participant, was one of 40 students chosen from 20,000 applications for summer internship with a major Turkish bank primarily based on her DLD work. She has since been offered a part-time job with the bank.
Barriers: What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
Lack of funds to cover expenses is probably the main possible barrier. We do not want to be overly dependent on fundraising so we are now planning to start offering personal and professional development courses for a fee as a source of revenue. We feel this will also offer an opportunity for community members to engage in a new activity to grow their skills and be exposed to new ideas for community development.
Full Impact Potential: What are the main spread strategies moving forward? (Please consider geographic spread, policy reform, and independent replication/adoption of the idea or other mechanisms.)
We first plan to expand the Sparks program by adding new groups of students in cities where we currently have presence by working with our local partners. For example this year in Izmir we are growing the number of students by adding new groups in collaboration with the Turkish Education Foundation which is our primary partner there. We then would like to expand to new cities by engaging in new local partnerships.