Turkey Mozaik Foundation created the Elazığ Earthquake Emergency Fund to support civil society organizations (CSOs) and their activities following the earthquake on 24 January 2020 affecting Elazig, Malatya, and the surrounding districts. The Fund aimed to support the operational expenses of CSOs working in the field and the activities they implemented to meet the urgent and long-term needs of the people affected by the earthquake.
As part of the Elazig Earthquake Fund, TIDER’s project will provide training and supervision to local stakeholders in Malatya and Elazığ on opening and operating two Support Markets to serve people who are affected by the earthquake directly and indirectly. This will be a sustainable model that ensures post-disaster donations and products will be saved from waste and directed to designated people in need with a systematic approach. In line with this objective, TIDER will contribute to the capacity building of Elazig Chamber of Commerce and Malatya Metropolitan Municipality who will be the local partners operating these markets through training on management of donations, supply chain, and human resources.
Both food banks will be included in the Support Cloud Platform developed by TIDER to bring together donors and food banks and Support IK Platform will be used to contribute to the employability of the beneficiaries of the food banks.
Below is an interview with TIDER:
The Basic Needs Association (Temel İhtiyaç Derneği – TİDER) aims to provide equal opportunities in accessing basic needs as well as preventing waste. Can you tell us about TIDER and the prominent characteristics of the food banking model it implements?
In 2010, we started our activities under the name of Food Banking Association with 9 founding members working in the food industry and believing that food banking is an important tool in eliminating hunger and poverty. We transferred our knowledge and experience on food banking to newly established food banks. We supported food banks and civil society organizations working in this field with donations.
Since it is one of the most basic needs for people to work in jobs that fit their competencies and abilities, we added employability and development projects to our activities in 2014 and changed our name to Basic Needs Association.
In this way, we aimed to create a realistic and sustainable model in the fight against poverty, not only by helping the people in need through food banking but also by working on employability and job placements. This was a first in Turkey and the world, we set an example for similar organisations. We established the first Support Market of our innovative and original model in Maltepe, Istanbul in 2015.
With our Support Markets, we provide people living below the poverty line with their basic needs, while supporting their employability, providing training and placing them in jobs through our initiative Support HR. In addition, we meet the basic needs of those living in disaster areas during times of emergencies, create development projects that prioritize the economic and social empowerment of rural women and work on local projects on child poverty.
Where do TIDER Support Markets operate and what opportunities do they provide to their beneficiaries? Can you give us information about the number of beneficiaries and the overall impact of the markets?
The first Support Market, founded in 2015, was established in Maltepe, Istanbul. Maltepe district can be considered as a prototype of Turkey in terms of its flawed urbanisation and income inequalities especially among the migration-receiving neighbourhoods. For this reason, the establishment of the food bank, which also serves as a community centre, in such a district was an important example.
In 2017, we opened our second Support Market in Bağcılar, one of the most disadvantaged districts of Istanbul. Bağcılar Support Market, which was open until the COVID-19 outbreak, was closed indefinitely due to operational difficulties.
The total number of families who have benefited from these two Support Markets so far is 9.300, an average of 32.600 people.
When establishing and operating support markets, you usually choose to collaborate with different stakeholders from public institutions and the private sector. Can you tell us about the collaboration models you have developed for the support markets? How do these collaborations contribute to TIDER’s work?
A food bank is and should be a community asset. Although it is established and operated by an association or foundation, it provides services to the community. For this reason, we believe that a food bank can be successful to the extent that it interacts with the community and is owned by it.
The food bank model facilitates representatives from three sectors (the public sector at all levels, the private sector including the food industry and the media, and civil society organizations and platforms) to engage in serious dialogue and action to meet the needs of disadvantageous people. This process also creates a unique opportunity for cooperation between these sectors.
The design and operation of the food banking system with a successful alliance, in which all three parties are represented, creates an efficient environment to evaluate the needs and opportunities by opening up productive discussions. As a result, such alliances allow creating a truly collaborative initiative that focuses on tackling the problems of people in poverty and the causes of poverty in society.
We have collaborated with municipalities, chambers of commerce, and development agencies all around Turkey to explain and promote TİDER’s sustainable food banking model. These collaborations help us better understand the profile and the specific needs of each area we operate it and thus, we create tailor-made solutions for each one of these areas. At the same time, it reinforces our belief that with the right system and collaborations food banking model will be successful within our social services system.
TIDER received a grant within the scope of the Elazığ Earthquake Emergency Support Fund STDV created with the financing of Turkey Mozaik Foundation. What kind of activities will you do with this grant?
We are very happy to be entitled to the grant and our project aims to establish food banks to serve the people affected directly and indirectly by the earthquake disaster in Elazığ and Malatya on January 24, 2020.
In cooperation with Malatya Municipality and Elazığ Chamber of Commerce, we plan to open a food bank in both cities. After the earthquake, we had the chance to closely monitor the needs of both regions and came to the conclusion that both cities are in need of a food bank. Thanks to this grant, we will lead the opening of food banks in order to ensure that donations and products to be recovered from waste are directed to designated people in need with a correct system. As TIDER, we will use all our knowledge related to food banking to help create a sustainable system in Elazığ and Malatya.
The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak are more visible on disadvantageous and fragile groups. How did the outbreak affect TIDER’s work, your beneficiaries work, and the project in Elazığ and Malatya? If there are methods you employ to continue your work in this process, can you share them?
With COVID-19 outbreak, the number of people in need has raised significantly in Turkey. Access to food has become more difficult and it is almost impossible to recover products from waste because household food stocks due to panic purchasing has become common. As TIDER, we continued our work without interruption and provided food and cleaning supplies to 45 food banks in 29 cities all around Turkey. Overall we supported up to 160,000 families by collaborating with major global brands. Since we could not travel, we held all of our meetings online.
Unfortunately, the market format of food banks could not be sustained due to the outbreak and many food banks served as a warehouse for distributing packages to families. In order to keep food banks employees safe we have provided them with hygiene materials.
We are planning to visit the Malatya Municipality and the Elazığ Chamber of Commerce soon to discuss preparations for the food banks.
Our grantee the Basic Needs Association (Temel İhtiyaç Derneği-TİDER) works to ensure that all people are able to meet their basic needs in a fair and equal manner and uses the food banking model as an important tool in combating hunger, poverty, and waste prevention. TİDER also works with the beneficiaries to help them access jobs compatible with their competencies and abilities. Using these approaches, TIDER provides a sustainable model in the fight against poverty, not only by helping the disadvantaged people through their food banks called Support Markets, but also supporting their employability and providing opportunities through their Support HR system.