Sivil Düşün ('Think Civil') is a unique programme that focuses on practical ways to realise the participation in EU programmes of civil society organisations, networks, and activists in a progressive, flexible, and inclusive way.
Sivil Düşün was launched by the EU Delegation in Turkey in 2013 under the IPA II Civil Society Facility Turkey Programme. Sivil Düşün works to improve the environment for active citizenship and strengthen the capacity of organised active citizens. With its successful presence in Turkey, Sivil Düşün entered its second phase (Sivil Düşün II) in 2016.
Sivil Düşün was designed in 2010–11, with the participation of civil society organisations, to ensure that these are prioritised in shaping EU programmes for civil society in Turkey. Two consultation meetings were held with 730 civil society representatives in 11 cities that stimulated an even stronger voice for CSOs in creating concrete opportunities to participate in EU programmes.
Sivil Düşün supports the full recognition and inclusion of CSO needs in EU programmes in Turkey. Sivil Düşün welcomes funding applications from anyone engaged (or hoping to engage) in rights-based work in Turkey, no matter how small. Applications are accepted from individual activists, associations, foundations, networks, platforms, unions, and city councils.
CSOs benefit from Sivil Düşün's diverse supports
CSOs benefit from the grant scheme Framework Partnership Agreements, which supports platforms and networks with technical assistance, capacity-building, training, exchange of information, and best practices in-kind support to smaller CSOs and/or members of networks or platforms. For example, the 'Rainbow Coalition against Discrimination' is a four-year partnership agreement between CSOs Pembe Hayat and Kaos GL, funded by Sivil Düşün, which focuses on the promotion and protection of LGBTI rights in Turkey.
CSOs also benefit from the well-known Active Citizenship Mechanism, a facility to support activists, platforms, and CSO-organised cultural events by providing operational in-kind support. This support includes (but is not limited to) the following:
- interpretation, translation, travel and ad hoc expertise (including legal, psychological, and medical support);
- purchase of equipment;
- rent of a CSOs' joint office;
- small support schemes for volunteers;
- research, surveys, and studies carried by CSOs;
- CSO visibility grants (audio, visual and printed materials, websites, events, campaigns, etc.) to allow for a broader participation of active citizens in EU activities.
Technical Assistance for Civil Society Organisations (TACSO) works towards the EU's core commitment of strengthening the overall capacity of civil society in EU candidate countries, including Turkey.
TACSO Turkey works with CSOs to build their capacity and to provide technical assistance for networking, partnerships, and dialogue between CSOs and other institutions. TACSO uses numerous strategies to achieve results for civil society. Its flexible initiatives include:
- Strengthening civil society’s role in national democratisation and EU accession processes;
- Increasing the visibility of civil society’s contribution to Turkish society;
- Supporting the discovery of new resource mobilisation strategies and approaches, which are needed to provide civil society sustainability and development;
- Improving the legal and institutional framework for civil society actions.
With this in mind, TACSO's actions engage in capacity-building, networking and training events, as well as cooperation and dialogue between CSOs and other stakeholders. CSOs and TACSO work together to make their projects visible through public relations and the media.
TACSO collaborates with the Civil Society Development Centre (Sivil Toplum Gelişme Merkezi—STGM) to address the needs of CSOs at the local and national level. STGM works closely with TACSO to run the CSO Help Desk, which provides direct technical support to civil society organisations, networks, and initiatives in Turkey. Certain forms of support include STGM's legal advisory line and documentation centre, while others include support for project development and solving financial and technical problems that CSOs may face. Some CSO partners may attend 'First Step Workshops' for newly established CSOs, whereas others may request support with volunteer plans and social media strategies.