We understand that local NGOs are the first on the scene when disasters occur and that they know best what assistance is needed and understand the complex political, social and cultural context of a disaster. TPF has been working with organizations on the ground in Turkey providing social services, helping communities cope with disasters and educating the future generation since 2007. Currently, we have 38 formal partners in Turkey and a big network that we can tap into to get real-time updates. These connections enable us to make our grants wisely and be efficient.
Currently, our focus on the “three Rs” – Recovery, Rebuilding and Resilience – is an example of the strategic way we work on issues crucial to our communities after a disaster. Your help ensures a fourth: Results.
What’s happening in terms of relief efforts right now?
A new initiative, SITAP (Civil Society Platform for Disasters) responded relatively quickly to the SOMA disaster bringing together organizations that are providing and are planning to provide social services in the area to discuss the efficiency and effectiveness of the aid. A summary of their initial assessments in the region is as follows:
- All relief and recovery efforts are led by the government agency, AFAD (Disaster & Emergency Management Presidency) through related Ministries. However, AFAD’s communication with civil society organizations is very limited.
- Security forces control all entries to the town of SOMA.
- The main need of many civil society organizations is correct and rapid information on the needs of the affected.
- Many organizations have started fundraising campaigns and are getting ready to respond, however for efficiency and not to be replicated, efforts need to be coordinated.
- The mine that exploded was in the town of SOMA. However, the people that died or were affected from the tragedy spread to more than 15 towns and villages. Therefore, basing all relief efforts to SOMA will not provide the needed support.
- Diversifying options for income generation or advocating for other energy resources will have an impact on the whole community, not just the ones directly impacted by the tragedy.
- The most important and urgent need is noted as psychosocial support. At present, only the government provides these services.
- All civil society organizations that came together under the umbrella of SITAP are interested in providing long-term solutions to problems facing the mining industry in Turkey.
When will TPF start making grants?
TPF has sent a call for proposals to all of its grantee partners asking for applications. The applications will be reviewed and grants will be made on a rolling basis. Additionally, we have been in touch with organizations that TPF has not worked before but have been introduced, as they’re active on the ground in the disaster area. Currently, these organizations have been going through TPF’s eligibility process to be able to apply for a grant. We will announce the grants as we make them.
Our Priorities Now
After a disaster strikes, TPF sees its role as filling gaps between emergency relief and long-term development programs. TPF’s priority right now is to provide support on the following areas:
- Education: TPF wants to prioritize providing financial support to the children of miners who have lost their lives. However, we also understand that the funds raised for scholarships have surpassed the need so we will work with organizations that also provide education on mine security, decreasing the probability of accidents and first-aid to miners; and organizations that provide skill enhancing skills to women who now has to become breadwinners of their families.
- Psychosocial support: Even though the town of Soma has been singled out after the disaster, the casualties were from more than 15 neighboring towns and villages. Hence, TPF is interested in supporting projects that can provide psychosocial support to people impacted in those other towns as well.
- Diversifying income generation: TPF is interested in supporting organizations that can provide new avenues for revenue generation and increase opportunities for employment in sectors other than mining. These might include projects to develop agriculture in the area or establishing workshops or co-operatives to train women and create new income opportunities.
Our Arrangements for the Future
Our Van Earthquake experience has taught us that coordination among civil society organizations providing relief efforts is very important right after a disaster, when needs are immense and funding is limited. Effective coordination allows funds to be allocated efficiently and effectively. Additionally, the government needs to also coordinate recovery and rebuilding efforts with civil society organizations. If enough funds are raised, TPF plans to support initiatives that can help with the coordination efforts among civil society organizations to prepare communities and civil society sector in large for future disasters.