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Focusing on Different Identity and Culture Groups: Living Together: “Possible Together”

Following their recent Meydan Meet Up events, the YADA Foundation is now organising new activities for civil society under the title of Living Together: “Possible Together”. By implementing the “Enhancing Multiculturalism Approach of Civil Society Organizations in Turkey and EU” Project, implemented under the EU-Funded Fifth Phase of the Civil Society Dialogue Programme, YADA aims to focus on the collective living experiences of different identity and culture groups. We discussed the programme with Project Coordinator, Rumeysa Çamdereli. 

What is the “Possible” Programme? Can you tell us about it? 

As the YADA Foundation, we work to increase dialogue between different actors of civil society and by these means we aim to make civil society more effective. In all of our events, we bring together many organisations that are different in terms of their areas of activity and their background and motivation, and we pursue dialogue and cooperation.

In the scope of the “Enhancing Multiculturalism Approach of Civil Society Organizations in Turkey and EU” Project, implemented under the Fifth Phase of the Civil Society Dialogue Programme funded by the EU, we are conducting a series of activities which will focus on the collective living experiences of different identity and culture groups.

We aim to bring together non-governmental organisations, who share the knowledge and experience, who can imagine that a life together can only be possible with the involvement of different cultural and identity groups within the society, drawing from their diverse layers. In this way, we believe we provide a platform for dialogue and cooperation that allows them to see their similar and differing points of their own experiences.

Can you give more detail about the activities? Which methods will you be using? 

There are no speakers and no audience at our events. We conduct our meetings in a way that all participants can see each other, seated in a circle. We use different methods to create a discussion-inducive environment, where all participants can participate as equally and actively as possible.

Depending on the theme of the event, we use methods such as icebreakers that suit the theme, methods that encourage thinking together such as mind maps and an open space where participants can shape the content of the day.

We invite civil society organisations from different areas and different backgrounds in accordance with the theme of each event, and we try to shape the content of the activities according to these participants.

Last year you implemented a programme titled “Meydan”. What are similarities and differences between the programmes? 

The Meydan Meet Ups and Meydan Workshops continue; our main concern here is to bring together civil society organisations around a particular theme, and create a platform where they can share their perspectives drawing from their diversity. Our manifesto states the following:

Meydan exists so that civil society organisations can explore and bring to agenda the issues concerning Turkey, talk about a solution options, to listen, to share knowledge and lessons learned and be able to contribute to each other.

Our activities in the scope of the “Living together: Possible Together” programme are also similar. Here, we place different culture and identity groups at the centre and focus the themes of discussion decided jointly with civil society. We talk about the cases of discrimination experienced by different groups, the hidden and visible aspects of these cases, the similarities and differences, and the possibilities of living together. Together, we think together about the mission of civil society and the possible contribution of cooperation.

What will be the outcomes of these activities? What are the results of these activities? 

The outcomes of the Meydan events are available on the meydanda.org website, and we share the general framework and results before and after the events we conduct on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts titled “meydanda.org”.

We have only just started the “Living Together: Possible Together” activities. In the coming days, we will launch the project website and social media accounts and share content we develop on the subject. We already sharing our content in Civil Pages.

Can you tell us briefly about the agenda of YADA? What are your plans for the future? 

As I mentioned previously, the main mission of YADA is to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between civil society organisations and to enhance their impact. We will continue to develop projects under this agenda, explore the current situation, produce information, conduct research and praxis in these areas. In this scope, we will be organising events and workshops for both the Meydan and Living Together themes areas in the near future. 

At the same time, we are conducting a study for the mapping of dialogue and cooperation between civil society organisation in the scope of the “Strengthening Civil Dialogue” Project which we are currently implementing.

In addition, we provide support to different civil society organisations to monitor social impact. In this regard, together with TAV and IKV, we are developing a guide within the scope of the “EU Monitoring Network” project. With such a guide, we aim to provide the steps and perspectives that will allow civil society organisations to analyse both their own work and their area of activity in the context of social impact.

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