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It was Great to be “TOGETHER"

BİRLİKTE: Local CSOs Institutional Support Program, which we designed to strengthen the civil society in Turkey based on our many years of experience and know-how has ended after two years of work. The Program started out with a small team two years ago with the slogan "Let's Change Together", at the closing event of the program more than 100 participants said "How Nice It is to be Together".

The closing event of BİRLİKTE, which has 42 beneficiary civil society organizations operating in different areas in 18 cities in Turkey, was broadcasted live on the 12th of November on our Facebook and YouTube accounts.

For the BİRLİKTE Institutional Support Program closing event, the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey (EUD) Head of Cooperation Andre Etienne Lys, Embassy of Sweden SİDA Program Secretary Malin Stawe, the EUD Program Manager Stefano Calabretta, program beneficiaries and STGM team came together online.

The event started with the performance of the Social Music team and the opening speech delivered by the Chair of the STGM Board, Dr. Levent Korkut.

Korkut, Chair of the Board of STGM, emphasized that the BİRLİKTE Program is the result of STGM's "efforts to develop and implement pioneering models together with CSOs".

The EUD Head of Cooperation Andre Etienne Lys stated the program is one of the first examples of institutional support programs in Turkey and that it created a difference. He also added that "It is very nice to witness a program in which mentoring and the grant components are combined.”

The Embassy of Sweden SİDA Program Secretary Malin Stawe said "Today we are together not to end this program, but to celebrate its success."


Workload Equivalent to 8 Years, The Way Travelled Up to 3 Rounds Around the World

At the closing event of the program, prepared on the basis of capacity building supports and needs analysis studies for local civil society organizations for capacity development, labeled as  collective change,  some of the results of BİRLİKTE program  were also shared.

Within the scope of the program, which took start in March 2017, 5 mentors worked with 42 beneficiary organizations. Together with beneficiary organizations systems were established or improved in areas such as strategic planning, communication, governance and fundraising and resource management. Over the course of two years Birlikte team members paid 250 visits to 42 CSOs in 18 different cities and travelled a long way -- equal to almost 3 trips around the world.

It was also stated that in two years 2243 hour-long meetings were made with 280 beneficiaries, corresponding to a work of eight years with a rate of 12656 hours/labor.

A Story of Change: BİRLİKTE

In the online closing event, the results obtained by BİRLİKTE Program was presented by Zeynep Atay, Gülbanu Altunok, Aysun Telek, Nevzat Kıraç, Zehra Tosun, and the program host was STGM and BiRLİKTE communication coordinator Meltem Çolak.

The Project Coordinator Tuğçe Bahadır stated that BİRLİKTE Program, which has targeted to initiate a change process in supported organisations, is the end result of a long preparation process. She emphasized that from the very early stages and throughout the entire term they were addressing the fundamental questions of "How can we make the grant supports we provide to civil society organizations more effective? What can we change?”

Stating that the BİRLİKTE Program was regarded as a long-term and institutional investment in local civil society organizations, Bahadır explained that they have been working meticulously from the very beginning with this responsibility and the awareness on the potential impact of the program’s success may generate in terms of civil society supports.

STGM General Coordinator Tezcan Eralp Abay stated that "Turkey and the world need a civil society that is stronger than ever" and he added that, "Under difficult conditions, humanity needs the creative energy of civic space to be able to imagine more just and more beautifully. I hope the BİRLİKTE Program has contributed a little to this creative energy”.

The EUD Program Manager Stefano Calabretta delivered the final speech at the online event. Calabretta stated that he was sorry for not being able to actively participate in the field work of the program. He said that “Having STGM as intermediary was an extremely important added value. The works of this program will strengthen democracy and civil society".

We Created the Change Together

Program beneficiaries also shared their experiences about the program. Cavidan Yılmaz from the Yaşam Kadın Merkezi Derneği said that they overcame the problems arising due to the pandemic in the last months with the support of the BİRLİKTE Program. Emin Karameşe from the Roman Toplumu Gençlik Eğitim ve Kalkınma Derneği said, thanks to the program that they have reached a point where they are able to provide mentor support to other organizations.

You can watch the whole program on our YouTube channel.

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