Isabel In the Field
Photo Update- Ayvalik, Turkey

Since I’ve been a total delinquent about posting on my blog, I’ve decided to post a lot of my pictures with captions, in order to help convey my experiences on this trip!

Visiting Cop Madam, a small social enterprise in the small sea-side village of Ayvalik, Turkey. The sewers are local, low-income women, and all yhey use trash or excess industrial material to make boutique bags. Very cool! The owner, Tara, let us stay with her in amazing home for the weekend.

Cute neighbor kids in Ayvalik

View of a mosque from the top of Tara’s home. You may be thinking, “Hm, looks like a church to me…” Well, that’s because it was. When the Greeks left Turkey, the Turks then converted their old churches into mosques by simply adding a minaret to the side (the tall skinny tower to the right). So silly! Completely unique to the area, as well.

Scuba adventure! It was our first time and we are DEFINITELY hooked!

Just because you’re scuba diving, doesn’t mean that’s any excuse to not drink some tea. Only in Turkey!


After 23 hours of traveling between a bus, 2 minibuses, and 5 taxis we made it to Tbilisi, Georgia! .. Back pain galore! But the beauty of the road and our amazing Georgian taxi driver made it all worth it!

At the Georgian border, the officers kept looking at my passport, looking at me, and…

Fun pictures from stay in Izmir and day at the beach!

So I’ve been a total slacker on posting to this blog- there have been so many experiences that it’s been tough to keep it up

This past Satuday, Shahd and I left Istanbul and headed down to Izmir for our week of meetings, and took  Sunday to go to the beach at Cesme (pronounced Cheshmay) with our awesome couchsurfing hostess! Here are some pictures:

At dinner with couchsurfing friends at an amazing restaurant on the Izmir boardwalk (called the Kordon).

This is a side of lamb that was so tender he only used a SPOON to pull the meat off the bone:

Harbor in a small town near the beach:

Shahd and I having fun with my underwater camera :)

That’s all for now! Stay tuned on this and the IntheField blog to learn more about my actual work as we along :)

Shahd and I getting some exercise at the public workout park in Sile! Wish we had them in the states, they’re the best ever.

Shahd and I getting some exercise at the public workout park in Sile! Wish we had them in the states, they’re the best ever.

First Workshop in Turkey- Success!

Shahd and I just finished our first workshop about online fundraising in Turkey! We held it at the beautiful new Beyoglu Youth Center in the Sishane District (pronounced Shishanay), Istanbul. After meeting all of these wonderful representatives from Turkish organizations, we are so inspired by all of their work!

We had about 33 participants from a variety of organizations-ranging from youth political mobilizing, to girls education, to fairness in the carpet weaving industry, to combating soil erosion! So much innovation! Most of the organizations are fairly high capacity and are no fools to social media, so we were able to really dig into the issues surrounding online fundraising.

Since Turkey is a modern and developing country, we see the biggest impediment for organizations being successful on GlobalGiving is not being able to use social media, but instead being able to navigate the Turkish policy on fundraising and international donations. We’ve learned from our conversations with non-profit leaders that this issue is vague and can be problematic for some organizations. We hope that this workshop helps spark a conversation about these policies with in the non-profit sector, allowing projects to successfully raise international funds if they want to. We’ve already had one organization start the process of joining the site, so we hope the others will follow!

See the pictures of Shahd (below) and I (second one) presenting at the youth center!

My travel buddy, Shahd, created this map of our route- this is what our trip will look like!

My travel buddy, Shahd, created this map of our route- this is what our trip will look like!

Excited to start!

Hello All!

Welcome to my personal blog that will follow my work in Turkey and Armenia this summer! I come to GlobalGiving as a Masters student of International Development at American University, with concentrations in NGO Management and Program Evaluation. I’ve never been to Armenia, and have been to Turkey only once- I’m excited to have the opportunity to know both countries in more depth and get to know the local civil society leaders!

This blog will be about my reflections on my travels, both work-related and personal! Feel free to comment or ask questions on anything I post, I would be thrilled if my posts sparked any curiosity or debate among us.

Talk to you soon!