An Online Radio Platform Gives Voice to CSOs during the COVID-19 Pandemics, a Unique Story from STGM in Turkey

Civil Society Development Centre (STGM), has worked for several years to improve the capacities of civil society organisations (CSOs) in Turkey.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, STGM launched an on-line radio programme, being on-air five days a week, with the goal of providing a platform for CSOs in Turkey and fostering their sense of solidarity.

During the programme, various members of CSOs working in different fields were asked to share their experience and offer their expertise to other organisations in dealing with the pandemic. They were invited as guest speakers every week and shared their approaches in working with their constituents as well as how they adjusted to the work in the new situation.

The Communication Coordinator of STGM, Meltem Çolak, who managed the BİRLİKTE Radio programme, said “We wanted to tell more people that solidarity is good for all of us. We have opted to use the radio service because we agree that it is still a very effective medium for mass communication. Although the internet provides an intense flow of information about the pandemic, we decided to give our beneficiary organisations a more customized and familiar approach”.

The radio station is named after BİRLİKTE, the “Local CSOs Institutional support” programme (implemented with the financial support of the European Union), which STGM has been implementing for two years. Through this programme, STGM is offering assistance to 42 organisations in Turkey.

The ‘Pi Youth Association of Izmir’, one of the first guests on the show talked to listeners about their work and use of digital tools to make itself accessible to their communities. One of the most recent guests, Yaşam Kadın Merkezi Derneği, who works in the field of women’s rights in Trabzon, said that they were actively continuing their work through the use of WhatsApp.

Currently, the radio broadcasts only on the pandemic situation, however STGM plans to use the experience gained in producing and airing post-pandemic podcasts in its future work with CSOs. The programme is aired live from Monday to Friday, between 16.00-18.00 PM (Turkish time) online, at the link https://birliktecorona.radio12345.com.

STGM is a national organisation that supports local small and medium-sized civil society organisations in Turkey, engaged in advocacy and capacity building activities. With more than 15 years of experience and knowledge, STGM implements various programmes in order to increase the capacity, competence and visibility of civil society organisations in Turkey.