Fotocredit: Taras Kovalchuk

1-5 March | Civil Society Exchange

Mobility & Capacity Building

Opening Meeting at Paretz Academy

Report by Anna Kiknazde

From March 1 – 5, the opening meeting of the Civil Society Exchange programme took place at the Paretz Academy in Brandenburg. Out of 122 participant organisations, Polis180 has been selected together with 17 other CSOs from Europe and Turkey in order to form one of 9 capacity building partnerships. Polis180 members Anna Kiknadze and Benedikt van den Woldenberg took part in the kick-off meeting where they had the opportunity to get to know YERELIZ, Local Monitoring, Research and Implementation Association, Polis180’s partner organisation from Turkey and other participants. The exciting 4-day-workshop centered around interactive exchange as the new partnerships discussed their needs and opportunities. The goal was for each partnership to develop a common project through which a specific target capacity will be enhanced within the upcoming six to seven months.

The Civil Society Exchange programme is designed for civil society organisations from Europe and Turkey to support the idea of a unified Europe through cross-border cooperation. It encourages CSOs to establish long-term partnerships and work together on common organisational issues in order to develop more capacities. The programme is a cooperation between the Center for Civil Society Studies at Istanbul Bilgi University and MitOst e.V., and is funded by Stiftung Mercator.

Within four days, many important issues were discussed. Following fruitful inputs by Annegret Wulff, managing director of MitOst and head of the “Active Citizenship” department, Laden Yurttagüler and Yörük Kurtaran, lecturers at the Center for Civil Society Studies at Istanbul Bilgi University, on current trends, challenges and opportunities for civil society. The group also exchanged strategies on key areas of organisational development: project implementation, collaboration, financial sustainability, working with and coordinating volunteers, communication and visibility, advocacy and lobbying as well as impact measurement.

Polis180 and YERELIZ are going to build a strong partnership within the upcoming months. YERELIZ was established by highly active citizens in order to encourage transparency and accountability of local governments in Turkey, and strengthen both local governmentsʼ and civil society’s capacity in effectively implementing policies and delivering services in line with the principles of openness, participation and anti-discrimination. Our partnership developed a project to establish new lobbying and advocacy techniques. While improving our tools for public communication, we will have the chance to meet with distinguished experts and then together engage in skill-sharing between and within our organisations.

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