Digital Transformation Fund: Advancing Civil Society’s Digital Capacity

The new term of the Digital Transformation Fund started last week with the launch meeting where our grantees met with each other, learned more about each other’s work, and received information about the grant process.

We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the Support Foundation for Civil Society (Sivil Toplum için Destek Vakfı) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to empower civil society organisations on their digital transformation journeys through the Digital Transformation Fund.

In 2023, the fund is dedicated to supporting organisations responding to the aftermath of the Kahramanmaras earthquakes, striving to mitigate the impact and assist survivors in rebuilding their lives. The call for applications received a total of 27 applications from 13 cities across Türkiye that met the technical criteria. After a careful evaluation and selection process, a total of TRY 1,440,000 is granted to the following nine civil society organisations (CSOs):

  1. 65+ Elder Rights Association (65+ Yaşlı Hakları Derneği) – TRY 160,000 grant: 65+ Elder Rights Association advocates for the right to a healthy and dignified old age for all and the development of social policies for the elderly population. With this grant support, the association will create an open-source digital archive to contribute to advocacy efforts in the field of ageing. Additionally, the association will develop a digital communication strategy, and produce multilingual communication materials to connect with older people affected by the earthquakes, disseminating these resources widely on digital platforms.
  2. Alzheimer’s Association of Turkey (Türkiye Alzheimer Derneği) – TRY 160,000 grant: Alzheimer’s Association of Turkey focuses on raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving, aiming to improve the quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s and their families. With this grant support, the association will enhance its organisational efficiency and communication with relevant stakeholders by establishing a free and open-source Healthy Aging Platform. The platform will include awareness-raising training on Alzheimer’s disease prevention, patient care, communication with Alzheimer’s patients, as well as mental and physical exercises related to healthy ageing.
  3. Medical Search and Rescue Association (Medikal Arama Kurtarma Derneği – MEDAK) – TRY 160,000 grant: MEDAK supports medical personnel in providing active field services during disasters and humanitarian crises and equips them with the necessary training for emergencies. MEDAK also aims to ensure vulnerable groups’ access to healthcare services in non-emergency situations and employs digital means and innovation for this purpose. With this grant support, MEDAK will work to improve and raise awareness of the Disaster Health Map and Hera Digital Health platforms to prevent resource waste in the region affected by the Kahramanmaras earthquakes.
  4. Meryem Women’s Cooperative (Meryem Kadın Kooperatifi) – TRY 160,000 grant: Based in Adana, Meryem Women’s Cooperative works to create employment opportunities for women with the aim of empowering women. With this grant support, the cooperative will develop a website compatible with e-commerce to increase the visibility of the cooperative, expand its products and services, and increase the diversity of its resources.
  5. Open Space Association – Deep Poverty Network (Açık Alan Derneği – Derin Yoksulluk Ağı) – TRY 160,000 grant: Open Space Association aims to make deep poverty visible and address it as a violation of human rights. The Deep Poverty Network was established by the association in March 2020, to combat extreme poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic to support disadvantaged families’ access to basic needs. With this grant support, the association will track poverty among families and university students who arrived in Istanbul in the aftermath of the Kahramanmaras earthquakes and university students and raise awareness on this issue. The association will generate valuable data and share it with stakeholders working in the field.
  6. Rural Schools Transformation Network (Köy Okulları Değişim Ağı – KODA) – TRY 160,000 grant: KODA works to improve the quality of rural education in Turkey by supporting teachers and students. With this grant support, KODA will strengthen its collaboration with beneficiaries, donors, and public and private sector stakeholders by integrating Salesforce, a customer relationship management program. Additionally, KODA will enhance its digital capacity and develop a comprehensive digital transformation strategy.
  7. We Need to Talk Association (Konuşmamız Gerek Derneği) – TRY 160,000 grant: We Need to Talk Association is working to increase the accessibility, quality and sustainability of period products in Türkiye, and raise awareness about period poverty and menstruation stigma. With this grant support, the association will add a menstrual health section to the HERA Digital Health mobile application, which was developed to facilitate access to healthcare services for refugees and those affected by earthquakes. The association will conduct awareness-raising campaigns to improve women’s access to reproductive health services, update its website, and conduct communication and fundraising activities for advocacy in the field of period poverty.
  8. Women’s Right to Health in Development Association (Kalkınmada Kadının Sağlık Hakkı Derneği – Kadınsa) – TRY 160,000 grant: Based in Izmir, Kadınsa aims to ensure that women’s right to health is addressed in a way that covers all periods of life and that a gender perspective is integrated into plans and policies in this field. With this grant support, the association will update the OncoHealth Assistant mobile application for women diagnosed with cancer and affected by earthquakes. Kadınsa will also conduct communication activities to promote the application and contribute to policy development.
  9. Yaren Cooperative (Yaren Kooperatif) – TRY 160,000 grant: Yaren Cooperative, based in Izmir, is working to create sustainable education and development projects in the short and long term, primarily in the Aegean Region and then throughout Türkiye. Their goal is to minimise cultural, social, and economic inequalities in education and promote social balance in all segments of society. With this grant support, the cooperative will, in partnership with the Iskenderun Technical University, measure the digital maturity levels of cooperatives in Hatay and provide training on cooperatives, digital maturity, and the impact of digitisation to university students. Following an assessment of the cooperatives’ needs, tailored training programs will be prepared for each cooperative to enhance their digital maturity.

The fund’s vision of digital transformation goes beyond mere online presence and focuses on comprehensive digitalisation. We are committed to equipping our grantees with the tools and knowledge they need to enhance their operational infrastructure, embrace hybrid models, and develop digital solutions aligned with their strategic goals. In a world shaped by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, our fund aims to serve as a catalyst for Türkiye’s civil society organisations to thrive in the digital era.

The strategy and focus of the fund’s 2023 program were meticulously developed following a comprehensive needs assessment process conducted by the Support Foundation for Civil Society, which employed both qualitative and quantitative methods. Our grantees will receive comprehensive support, comprising a grant program and a capacity-building component featuring expert support, engaging workshops, and detailed learning modules available through an online platform. This platform will offer practical self-evaluation tools tailored to the specific needs of organisations undergoing digital transformation.

Grantees of the fund are expected to engage with digital concepts and approaches such as free internet, software, open-source solutions, and data utilisation. They are encouraged to plan and execute digitalisation processes that enhance their organisational capacities and establish connections with experts and peers in the field to meet their digitalisation needs effectively. Our fund serves as a catalyst for CSOs in Türkiye to fully embrace and harness the digital realm for their growth.

Please stay tuned for updates on the projects and their progress in the upcoming months, and subscribe to our newsletter. Thank you for your support.