The 5th Phase of the EU Civil Society Dialogue Programme, under the partnership of the Corporate Social Responsibility Association of Turkey and CSR Europe, held its “Strengthening Private Sector Civil Society Cooperation through CSR” Project – Gaziantep  Capacity Building Training on the 7th of November, Thursday.

In the morning section of the training, the General Director of the Corporate Social Responsibility Association of Turkey (TKSSD) Hüseyin Yılmaz gave a briefing on the concept of corporate social responsibility, its historical process, and concepts. The importance of Corporate Social Responsibility and the cooperation between the civil society organizations (CSOs) and the private sectors were discussed. On this subject, one of the participants, Ümran Petekbaşı, the Gaziantep representative of The Educational Volunteers Foundation of Turkey (TEGV), commented that the lack of cooperation was caused by weak dialogue between the two sectors and that to solve this problem, the CSO units in the private sector should be expanded and shared his experiences. He also commented that more capacity building trainings should be held for both the private sectors and the CSOs.

Afterward, the participants were informed on the Corporate Social Responsibility Association of Turkey and its activities, the “Strengthening Private Sector Civil Society Cooperation through CSR Project”, and “The Civil Society Dialogue Programme”. Information about the aim of the project, activities, partner and the results to be achieved were disclosed to the participants.

In the first half of the second session, IBM Turkey Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Dr. Ceyhun Göcenoğlu gave examples of successful  CSR projects held under IBM Turkey and shared their view on CSR. He talked about how CSR Projects and cooperation could be improved with improving technology and how technology could be used for social benefits.

In the second half, the Senior Project Assistant in International Organization for Migration (IOM) Ufuk Can Aksu talked about the migration issue around Urfa and Antep and shared the projects they have realized on the subject of migration. After heavy demand from the participants, he shared current projects for the Syrian Refugee Crisis, the rights given to the refugees in Turkey and corrected some common misconceptions on the subject.

After the training, the participants discussed the reasons for the lower participation numbers in a metropolitan city such as Gaziantep. Nazmiye Güneş, from the Gaziantep Municipality, explained that the numerous invitations from different organizations caused uncertainty amongst organizations regarding their impact and credibility and the overall lack of trust for foundations and associations. Cantunay Çelik, the HR Director from Altunkaya Group added that the communication problem that limits cooperation with NGOs is due to a lack of transparency. The Capacity Building Training improved the perspectives of these 3 different sectors and highlighted the similarities of the problems they face. It was observed that public, non-governmental and private sectors are ready for cooperation but they cannot find opportunities due to a lack of communication.