WSIS Prizes Contest 2021 Nominee

Light the Dark Campaign

Light the Dark Campaign against Gender Based Violence in Public Spaces


Within the framework of the annual international 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign and United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign (UNiTE campaign), UN Women Turkey launched an online and interactive national campaign, "Light the Dark" to draw attention to gender-based violence in public spaces. The Campaign invited citizens to mark the cities' unsafe spots by pinning a firefly on the interactive Turkey map created on the Campaign's website The Campaign metaphorized fireflies as change agents for creating safer, more inclusive cities for all, especially for women and girls. Fireflies use their blinking light to communicate with each other and light the dark.

Within the campaign period, nearly 15,000 fireflies were collected, with thousands of comments highlighting different forms of violence in public spaces. The sex-disaggregated data retrieved from the map was shared with the local authorities, calling upon local authorities and public institutions to make cities and public spaces safer, healthier, more inclusive, and secure environments for all women and girls. In 2020, several municipalities made improvements in public spaces. Building upon the Campaign, two municipalities developed social risk mapping for the provision of gender-sensitive municipal services. Winning a Silver Effie Award, the Campaign provided a new methodology with local authorities to directly engage with the citizens by using ICT solutions.

Along with the interactive map, Turkey's first lighting exhibition in a public space was opened. The exhibition featured creative use of light, design , and art in an open and accessible public park to raise public awareness on gender-based violence in public spaces. Light the Dark lighting exhibition is currently among the finalists of the international Contemporary art Biennial, BienalSur.

Project website


Action lines related to this project
  • AL C1. The role of governments and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development 2021
Sustainable development goals related to this project
  • Goal 5: Gender equality
  • Goal 10: Reduced inequalities
  • Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

  • Turkey



Start date

25 November 2019

End date


Target beneficiary group(s)
  • Youth
  • Women


Introduced by Light the Dark Campaign, the interactive Turkey map was perceived as a unique and unheard tool for collecting data from the citizens to promote gender responsive cities. Results retrieved from the map were used by several metropolitan and district municipalities. The map has also inspired several municipalities to create their own platforms. Ankara Metropolitan Municipality developed an interactive map called "Purple Map" and Istanbul- Beşiktaş District Municipality initiated a platform where citizens could report their concerns about safety and violence. Some municipalities took independent action to create portals to interact with the citizens, resulting in the Campaign to be replicated several times. The replications were detailly explained under the impact section.


Through the interactive map, citizens' voices directly and anonymously reach the authorities to take the necessary actions. This provides more sustainable, equal, and effective solutions for the problems occurring in cities. The map is available to anyone who has access to the internet (90% of Turkey's population has internet access, where the internet usage is at 85% for men and 74% for women - TÜİK, 2020). It enables the local municipalities to act on and provide solutions to the problems raised directly. The interactive platform can be revised, updated, and replicated, making it a sustainable and reliable tool for both citizens and the authorities to interact with each other and sustain communication.

WSIS values promotion

Women and men live in the same cities and use the same public spaces. However, the living experiences differ. Unsafe public spaces have a direct and massive impact on women and girls' everyday lives – when they are walking on the streets, running errands, using public transport, or using public facilities – and both the threat and experience of violence affect their access to social activities, education, employment, and leadership opportunities. It also negatively impacts their health and well-being. Light the Dark Campaign aims to promote ICT solutions to create safer, fairer, more accessible, and more equal public spaces free from violence for women and girls. The campaign provides a methodology with the local authorities and other relevant public stakeholders, which enables direct engagement between the authorities and citizens through an interactive web platform for creating gender responsive cities and public spaces. The Campaign also encourages local municipalities to develop web platforms to improve their services through data-driven information collected directly from the citizens. This promotes local authorities' digitalization efforts and builds their capacity towards creating an information society.

Entity name

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)

Entity country—type

Turkey International Organization

Entity website


Ankara Metropolitan Municipality - Çankaya District Municipality - // SIDA - // WPP -