Civil Society Exchange Program: Call for Applications

Deadline Extended: Monday, 12 October 2020 (23:59 CET)

We are excited to invite you to apply for the new cycle of the Civil Society Exchange Program starting in November 2020.

Applicants are required to apply as international partnerships; of which one applicant is a civil society organization or initiative from Turkey and one from a European Union country.

To download a preview of the application form please click here

Are you interested in working on an organizational capacity building issue? Do you wish to foster your relationship with civil society organizations abroad? Do you want to collaborate with civil society organizations that face similar organizational challenges?

Civil Society Exchange invites civil society organizations and initiatives to form and foster partnerships between Turkey and European Union to strengthen their organizational capacity. During the program, partner organizations will work together to develop a strategy for tackling a mutual organizational issue, implement a solution for this specific problem and improve their internal capacity through cross-border collaboration.

COVID-19 pandemic has pushed us into reimagining what mobility and cross-border collaboration can look like in a world where physical meetings are limited. Thus, this year we are expanding the Civil Society Exchange Program to include both physical and virtual peer learning environments for capacity building. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to become part of an inspiring, diverse, and international community of civil society organizations and civil society actors.

We invite actors to come together, work on organizational development, exchange ideas and good practices, inspire and be inspired, and take the next steps towards stronger organizations and initiatives.

Read more about the Exchange Program and apply for Civil Society Exchange. Deadline for applications is 5 October 2020 CET 15:00.

Exchange Program Activities

Opening Meetings | November, 2020 | online
Partnership Exchange | December, 2020 – June, 2021 |
Closing Meetings | June, 2021 | tbc

COVID-19 Update

Due to the uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic, we can not guarantee for physical exchanges to take place in the “Working period”. If physical contact in the form of mobility can not be organised due to health and safety regulations and suggestions by governments, all interactİons will take place online.

What do you need to do to get involved?

Apply by October 12th, 2020 CET 23:59 through the application form here. We will let you know by mid October, 2020 if you are selected. Beforehand, we strongly encourage you to view the *.pdf version of the form here, work in a separate file and copy / paste your answers to the application form to apply.

Work in your partnership on the selected issue and develop a model together. Travel to your partner organization and implement your tracks together with your partner. The program team will support you during this process.

Make sure you have time to join the opening meeting that will take place online in between late October / early November, 2020. The save the date will be send out to the selected participants.

Meet the other participants in early summer2021 and enjoy the closing event! In the closing meeting you will present your model and we will discuss how to bring that model back to your organization.

Bring your developed model back to your organization. As a next step, there is also the possibility to find other opportunities to share your working experience with the greater civil society.

Apply now!

If you have further questions, please contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does the Exchange Program timeline look like?
Exchange Program consists of three main phases: opening meetings, partnership exchange and closing meetings. For the third round of CSE, opening meetings will be held in November 2020 through online channels due to COVID-19 outbreak. The closing meeting is schedule to be held in June 2021. Attendance to both events are compulsory for all participants. Participants will plan their exchange process together with their partners.

What are Opening and Closing Meetings?
Opening and Closing Meetings are fundamental elements of the Exchange Program. At both meeting all CSE participants come together, get to know each other, share their experiences and learn from each other. The Opening Meetings serve to define partnerships mutual organizational problems and to support them in coming together in working groups to explore it further. During the Opening Meetings, partners develop a mobility-based strategy on how to improve their internal capacity on that specific area. At the Closing Meeting, each partnership share about their learning experiences with other partnerships, reflect on them together and discuss further collaboration possibilities.

What is a Partnership Exchange?
Between Opening and Closing Meetings, the partnerships have approximately 6 months to implement some of the mobility-based solutions they developed with the ir partners to improve their internal capacity on specific areas. Partnerships can use the time and grant dedicated to them to develop solutions that enable for them to learn from each other, to mutually learn from others or one of them can directly learn from the other organization in the partnership.

What kind of mobility-based learning activities are allowed?
The main objective of the program is that participants are profiting from this process of mobility that is provided them to work together. Partners can either visit each other or they plan a little residence program in one of the organizations, have meetings, study visits, job shadowing or other activities which would support both organizations in the partnership to develop their model. Due to COVID-19 outbreak, partner organizations are highly encouraged to discover virtual mobility solutions during the upcoming cycle such as virtual seminars, online trainings, digital schools and so on.

Is it compulsory to apply as a partnership?
It is compulsory to apply as a partnership; where one organizations is from Turkey and the other is from a European Union country.

Are the Opening and Closing Meetings going to be held online or offline?
Due to COVID-19 outbreak, we are going to host the Opening Meetings through online channels. We will assess the situation again in 2021 to decide if it is possible to host a physical Closing Meeting event. However, making sure not to put any of our participants at risk is our main priority.

How does COVID-19 outbreak affect mobility during the Partnership Exchange process?
Partnerships are allowed to use the grant for physical mobility during the Partnership Exchange process – as long as participants comply with the national travel/entry restrictions between respective countries. However, the program highly encourages the participants to minimize physical mobility solutions and favor virtual mobility solutions instead. Participants understand that international travel during the COVID-19 outbreak can put you at a higher risk to get exposed and increase the further spread of the virus. Participants decide to travel abroad as part of the program at their own risk and Civil Society Exchange project, MitOst, Istanbul Bilgi University Center for Civil Society Studies or Stiftung Mercator can not be held responsible.

Can previous Exchange Program participants (alumni) apply to the program again?
CSE Alumni can apply to the program with a different partner. They can not apply to the program with the same partnerships as before.

Who is eligible to apply?
Participant organizations can be a social company, foundation, civil initiative, cooperative, or association. The only criteria is that the applicant partnership should be composed of a non-profit entity from Turkey and another from a European Union country.

What language and tech skills are needed?
The language of the program is English. Knowledge of English language is required to take part in the program. Due to COVID-19 outbreak, there will be several online meetings held throughout the program. Thus, some prior experience with online meeting softwares and collaborative tools such as Zoom, Google Drive, Google Slides, etc. is a plus.