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BİRLİKTE Institutional Support Program "Assessments on the Impact of COVID-19 on Civil Society and Activism" Report

The coronavirus crisis, which became a topic in the world agenda last December and affected our habits and our works, significantly affected the work of civil society organizations too. During this period, many CSOs had to postpone their activities.

In this process, the beneficiaries of the BİRLİKTE Institutional Support Program, which is supported by the European Union and executed by us, also had to postpone their activities due to the pandemic. During the pandemic while continuing to work with the beneficiary organizations of BİRLİKTE, we also had a series of online meetings to learn about the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on civil society organizations and on activism. We published the results of the meetings we had between 8-10 April 2020 in the report titled "Assessments on the Impact of COVID-19 on Civil Society and Activism".

The meetings were held in 5 sessions in which the organizations are grouped together according to their working areas under 5 different thematic topics. 58 representatives from 39 civil society organizations participated in the 3-day CSO meeting. 

In the meetings, the beneficiary organizations of BİRLİKTE emphasized that the pandemic has affected the disadvantaged groups by deepening the unequal conditions that these groups have. The organizations, which have among their beneficiaries or target groups the people who work daily, for a low pay and without insurance, the Roma community, women, children, disabled groups and their families, Syrian immigrants, LGBTI+ people and the stray animals reported that the difficulties these groups experienced in accessing their basic rights and needs increased during the quarantine process.

Monitoring and advocacy activities are affected by the pandemic

Organizations noted that their work is also heavily affected by the pandemic. They stressed that they had problems in reaching and maintaining communication with their target groups, in maintaining communication with their members and volunteers, in continuing with the administrative and mission activities of the organization or planning these activities, in reaching public institutions to provide the necessary support for the basic or urgent needs of their target groups and in monitoring and advocating for violations of rights identified due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

More collaboration to overcome the effects of the crisis

In the meetings, it was also mentioned that the crisis and its impacts showed that although working areas of the CSOs appear to be divided into different areas, such as environment, social class, and gender they are actually related to each other in terms of being about structural problems. It was also stressed that more collaboration and solidarity opportunities should be created to overcome these problems. 

Some solutions have also been proposed to overcome the difficulties encountered with the pandemic. Solution suggestions are listed as follows:

  • Capacity building,
  • Gaining new qualifications and skills to tackle the problems that arise under changing conditions,
  • Engaging in more advocacy and campaigning activities,
  • Increasing monitoring of violations of rights and
  • Collaborating with more organizations 
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