As part of the Elazığ Earthquake Emergency Fund, Turkey Mozaik Foundation supported the Needs Map (İhtiyaç Haritasi) to identify and map the needs of individuals affected by the earthquake in the region and to meet these needs from local businesses through the use of Needs Map Social Marketplace. This tool allows people to provide the needs of a particular area from the local suppliers. Thus, the project will contribute to the local economy of Elazığ and small business owners who financially struggles after the earthquake.
With the Elazığ Social Marketplace Pilot Project, the Needs Map aims to identify and map the needs of individuals affected by the earthquake and to meet these needs from local businesses through the use of Needs Map Social Marketplace. The marketplace allows people to provide for the needs of a particular area from the local suppliers. Thus, it is expected that the project will contribute to the local economy of Elazığ and small business owners who financially struggles after the earthquake.
As part of this project, a group of volunteers will be selected among the network of the Needs Map and other local CSOs active in Elazığ and will be provided with a half-day training on needs assessment, communication with the vulnerable people and the use of the Needs Map system. Field visits will be held with volunteers in order to conduct an overall needs analysis of the people affected from the earthquake. Determined needs will be uploaded and mapped on the Needs Maps Social Marketplace in order to match those that are willing to help with the local business to provide for these needs. To access those who would like to provide help, the needs published on the Needs Map Social Marketplace will be promoted through various communication channels.
Within the scope of the project, 3 site visits to Elazığ are planned and in the reporting period the first site visit was organised. Due to COVID-19 outbreak measures, this site visit was organised as one-to-one meetings with local stakeholders to launch the project. Project team held meetings with the Elazığ Municipality City Council Youth Assembly (Kent Konseyi Gençlik Meclisi), the Elazığ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ticaret ve Sanayi Odası), the Elazığ Provincial Assembly (İl Genel Meclisi), the Elazığ Maden District Municipality, Kırmızı Montlular Young Volunteers Group and the MİSAŞ Markets; to explain the project in detail and discuss opportunities for cooperation. Furthermore, these local stakeholders shared the list of people in need after the earthquake with Needs Map. The project team will finalize the list of potential beneficiaries once the confirmation calls and field visits are completed.
The project was also introduced to the volunteers who worked in cooperation with the Needs Map in the emergency period after the Elazığ Earthquake. Online interviews were conducted with those who wanted to support Social Market Place voluntarily. A team of volunteers with high motivation and skills were selected. As part of this site visit, training for volunteers was organised to introduce them to the project and inform them about Needs Map’s operation system.
Lastly, the project team continues to work on the development of the Social Marketplace system. The Needs Map receives offers for the service procurement required for updating the technical infrastructure of Social Marketplace. 6 meetings with local stakeholders were held. The volunteer team of the project was formed and started to work with the scope of the project. 8 small business owners from Elazığ have registered the Social Marketplace as suppliers.
Please see below the interview with Needs Map about their project:
Can you tell us about the Needs Map and the model you implement to connect people in need with those who can provide support?
Needs Map is a non-profit social cooperative that brings together those in need and those who want to support on a map-based online platform. Our starting point was that people are best situated to determine their own needs and the needs around them. It started off with this mentality and the Needs Map can now show the needs in the scale of neighbourhoods of Turkey. We aim to revive the solidarity culture (imece) with a system that allows everyone to provide support in line with their own budget.
The Needs Map system is open to everyone and it only offers in-kind support. It is possible to add a need to the system or provide support from all over Turkey. Needs can also be entered from abroad and find support from Turkey, or vice versa. To this date, over 1,444,473 items of need, equivalent to approximately 73.7 million TL have been sent through the Needs Map system.
Turkey has a relatively low level of interpersonal trust and trust in institutions. The Needs Map, on the other hand, operates with a model where trust in individuals and institutions is essential. How did you create this trust relationship between your users and what do you do to maintain it?
The Needs Map adopted the principle of creating an environment of trust with its online structure. We use different methods to check the accuracy of the information with regards to the individual and institutional needs published on the platform. We have improved the system in line with the feedback and gained the trust of our users soon after establishing the Needs Map.
In March 2019, we carried out social impact research with a research company in order to measure the social impact of Needs Map and to develop a framework for our future projects. The feedback we received within the scope of this research actually sums up the inspiration for our work. According to the research, the concepts our users associate with “Needs Map” are cooperation, trust, sharing and solidarity. While we carry out our work, we consider the trust of the public as an essential component.
The Needs Map’s Social Marketplace project received a grant within the scope of the Elazığ Earthquake Emergency Support Fund which is created by the Support Foundation for Civil Society with the financing of the Turkey Mozaik Foundation. The project aims to implement a model in which the need of people who are affected by the earthquake will be provided by local businesses in Elazığ. Can you tell us about this model and the work you will do within the scope of the project?
The Needs Map takes quick actions for those affected by natural disasters in Turkey. After the Elazığ Earthquake on January 24, the Needs Map directly contacted the Elazığ Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Elazığ Governorate and created the ”Emergency Support for Elazığ” campaign to meet the most urgent needs that will arise in the first 72 hours of the disaster. Other civil society organisations (CSOs) operating at the national level were also briefed on our work in Elazığ and stakeholders from the private sector were informed about the campaign. The Needs Map team, which reached Elazığ on January 26, created the CSO Disaster Coordination Platform together with other CSOs and provided technological infrastructure and coordination support in the delivery of needs. The Needs Map team continues its coordination with a team of 4 in Elazığ as a partner of the CSO Disaster Coordination Platform. In this process, approximately 48.7 million TL worth of 744,473 materials were delivered within the 15 days after the earthquake.
After the earthquake, an improvement project developed by the Needs Map was funded by the Turkish Philanthropy Funds (TPF). The project aimed to design and implement a long-term sustainable model to help reconstruct the livelihoods of people affected by the earthquake. Within the scope of the project, the livelihood (purchase, repair or renovation of animals, machinery, furniture) of 16 families was recreated and the needs were purchased from local businesses in Elazığ. We were able to create a multilevel impact benefitting both those in need and the local businesses. In addition, TPF supported the campaigns regarding the computer needs of children in the region.
This project revealed that we needed a new model to help the people in need in the earthquake region. With the cooperation of Turkey Mozaik Foundation and Support Foundation for Civil Society, a new project is planned within the scope of the Elazığ Earthquake Emergency Fund.
The starting point of this project was the disruption caused by the disaster aids regarding meeting with the right people in need and the negative (exclusionary) effects of in-kind aids on the local economy. Since the disaster became the main agenda of the public, many emergency aid materials were delivered to the region by national and international organisations. After the acute period of the disaster passed, the aids in question caused job losses in local businesses and negatively affected the local economy. Considering these situations, we have created a model where we will involve local businesses and meet the needs of the people at the same time.
Thanks to this project, we will fully implement the Needs Map Social Marketplace in Elazığ. With this project, we will identify and map the needs of individuals while ensuring that these needs are met from local businesses in Elazığ through the Needs Map Social Marketplace system. We are very motivated and enthusiastic about implementing this project!
The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak are more intense on the disadvantaged and fragile groups and their needs increased and diversified in this period. Based on your experience in the field, can you share the impact of the outbreak on the groups you work with?
In this period, we have developed various campaigns and projects with many different stakeholders for needs arising due to the COVID-19 outbreak. I would like to give a few examples of these campaigns.
First of all, we started a campaign to meet the needs of hospitals. The Turkish Medical Association and the Turkish Medical Students Association determined the needs for healthcare materials in hospitals and we carried out campaigns on the Needs Map to meet these needs.
In order to meet the hygiene needs of the refugee and host communities, we have run the “Support Good Production” (Üretimi İyilikle Destekle) campaign by integrating the RET Women’s Cooperative, which produces soap, into the social marketplace and enabling supporters to buy soap from women’s cooperative for the people in need.
Due to the shift to online education, students needed computers. When we observed this trend on the Needs Map, we decided to launch a campaign. We launched the “Have a Computer” (Bir Bilgisayarın Olsun) campaign with the Community Volunteers Foundation and academics from Bilgi University in order to meet the computer needs of university students and “Computers for Students to Continue Education” (Bilgisayar Sizden Eğitime Devam Öğrencilerden) campaign with the Association for the Support of Contemporary Living to meet the computer needs of high school students.
We organised Turkey’s first sustainable music festival Festtogether online this year to meet the needs of workers in hygiene, education, music and theatre sectors because the outbreak affected them heavily. A large number of needs were met with the proceeds of the festival. We collaborated with various organisations and increased the number of supporters in order to meet all needs and especially those that emerged due to the pandemic.
For the babies of families in need, we started a project with Numil Gıda A.Ş. through food banks and provided families with baby food.
As I mentioned, the Needs Map carries out a wide range of activities to identify and provide for the needs in times of disasters with the excitement of its first day.
As a result of the measures taken within the scope of COVID-19 and in line with the needs arising in this period, some changes regarding the areas of work and operations of civil society organisations is expected in the coming period. Does the Needs Map plan to make any changes in its focus areas? What will your priorities be for the rest of 2020?
The primary measure we have taken regarding the outbreak was to close our office. Like many other organisations, we switched to working from home. Since the Needs Map is an online system, we have the opportunity to work wherever we have a computer and the Internet. For this reason, our absence in the office did not interfere with our work.
We have noticed that the outbreak caused many people who stayed home to say “We have to do something to support our society.” We were pleased and encouraged to see peoples’ desire to want to take action during this period. For this reason, we held many meetings with a lot of motivated people like ourselves in this process and we developed new projects. We will continue with these efforts to also develop new projects and campaigns.
On the other hand, the outbreak also negatively affected our activities and campaigns in the field. In such cases, we postponed events and projects or made necessary adjustments to implement them online.
When things normalize, the İnogar building, where our office is located, will be opened and the limited number of people will be allowed in the building at the same time. We will continue to work remotely until the end of 2020 and we will be able to use our office by providing the necessary hygiene conditions when necessary.
ABOUT NEEDS MAP
Needs Map (İhtiyaç Haritası) is a web-based matching platform active in Turkey that enables people in need to connect with those who can help them through providing in kind support. The platform aims to learn and verify the non-monetary needs on the basis of individuals and communities, to collect and list them on a map-based approach, and to facilitate the process of meeting the needs by institutions, organizations or private individuals. Furthermore, it enables anyone who would like to offer in-kind support to do it over the system encouraging cooperation and solidarity at the local level.