REACH4Health App Meets with NGOs and Refugee Youth and Women in Hatay

Editor's note:

This article was originally published by Columbia Global Centers - Istanbul.

By
Seden Gurlek (Columbia Global Centers - Istanbul)
March 17, 2022

​On February 28, a community-based dissemination event was held at the Taiwan-Reyhanlı Center for World Citizens as part of the Refugees Act and Communicate for Health (REACH)project. The REACH Project aims to increase health literacy and health care access for youth in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan via digital technologies. With this mission, the project team has developed the REACH4Health App, a trilingual app (English, Turkish, and Arabic), which maps healthcare services and provides health information. The event aimed to introduce the app to the refugee youth and women as well as the non-governmental organizations in Hatay and get their support to disseminate the app across the region. 

The event, divided into two parts, started with the opening remarks from Dr.Yanis Ben Amor, Center for Sustainable Development at Earth Institute at Columbia University; H.E. Volkan Chih-Yang Huang, Ambassador of Taipei Economic and Cultural Mission in Ankara; Chen-yu Chiu, Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture at Bilkent University, Director of the Taiwan-Reyhanlı Center for World Citizens; and Damla Ceyhan, REACH Program Assistant at the Youth Approaches to Health Association (SGYD).

The first part of the program, moderated by Selma Karabey, Professor at the Department of Public Health at Istanbul University, discussed how the research findings of the REACH Project fed into the REACH4Health App and the role of youth in the project. In this regard, Dr. Özge Karadağ, Researcher at Earth Institute at Columbia University, introduced the project and summarized research findings of the REACH Project that employs community-based participatory action research with refugees and disadvantaged youth. İnanç Sümbüloğlu from Bir İZ Association talked about the participation of local and refugee youth in the photovoice study, which showed that local and refugee youth share similar problems and difficulties in accessing healthcare services and information. Damla Ceyhan, Program Assistant at Youth Approaches to Health Association, provided insights into how youth played an active and crucial role in the project. Ceyhan highlighted the meetings, workshops, and focus group discussions that took place with young people discussing current problems and challenges of healthcare access in Turkey as well as their contribution to the development of the app. Following that, Dağlar Çilingir, Content and Advocacy Coordinator at Youth Approaches to Health Association, and Gökalp Kırçıl, Volunteer at Community Volunteers Foundation (TOG) shared how their organizations have contributed to the REACH project. Both youth organizations have an institutional presence across the country via their centers and networks, which help the project disseminate the application and find youth willing to participate in the app development processes. Dr. Özge Karadağ concluded the first part of the program by introducing the features of the REACH4Health App. 

The second part of the program was generated with communication and dissemination activities for the  REACH4Health app, which compelled the interactive participation of the audience. Nezih Orhon, Professor at Faculty of Communication Sciences at Anadolu University, facilitated the session with interactive games that made participants better acquainted with the app and its features in a participatory way. With these community-based activities, Prof. Nezih Orhon also conveyed a social message that communication and sharing bring people closer to each other, fostering social cohesion among different communities. 

Learn more about the Reach4Health App

Download the app via Apple Store and Google Play Store