Program & objectives

This call has been updated on 20th December. All updates are underlined


THE:PLACETurkey Hand in hand with Europe: Program for Local Authorities and Civil society Exchange aims to build up lasting Turkey – European Union networks of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that work on local issues, promoting an exchange aimed to increase their capacity to create meaningful impact in their respective areas of work. 

More specifically, our program aims to favour the empowerment of CSOs and Local Authorities (LAs) as actors of local development, through specific capacity building, peer learning and joint cooperation on co-designed common projects. The program seeks to create quadrilateral partnerships composed of 1 CSO based in Turkey associated with 1 LA + 1 CSO based in the EU associated with 1 LA.

THE:PLACE is managed by ALDA – European Association for Local Democracy and MAD – Mekanda Adalet Derneǧi and funded by the Mercator Foundation. The  program will last from November 2021 to October 2025 supporting two rounds of beneficiaries (the first from February 2022 to October 2023 and the second from September 2023 to September 2025).

Who is THE:PLACE for? We are seeking for rights-based/development non-for-profit Civil Society Organizations (NGOs, Foundations or social cooperatives) based in Turkey and the European Union who are interested in engaging in an international exchange process coupled with an enhanced engagement with a local authority at the city level, either municipalities, metropolitan municipalities or association of local authorities acting at the local or district level / district municipalities, metropolitan municipalities or association of local authorities acting at the local or district level in Turkey.

Social Cooperatives must be non-profit and meet the following criteria:

  • the cooperative doesn’t distribute the difference between incomes and expenditures to its members, board members or board of advisors,
  • the cooperative doesn’t distribute any additional income coming from reserve funds or asset sales to its members,
  • in the purpose and activity section of the main cooperative contract, it should be stated that the objectives of the cooperative are to be in the public interest. 

Applying CSOs will need to state which Local Authority they would cooperate with while implementing their project, and submit a plan or vision detailing the current, if any, or envisaged collaboration. The plan should state how this collaboration could happen, along with expectations and needs in terms of capacity building. Local Authorities will be later invited to join the partnership through the “associate partner” formula by signing a letter of intent. CSOs should prove the relation with the Local Authority, or the wish to collaborate (for example, the CSO is located in the same municipality, has its secondary offices there, has an already ongoing long-term collaboration through a project or a Memorandum of Understanding…).

CSO will be selected on the basis of their interest, motivation and willingness to engage along the whole project. Please note that the project language will be English, and participants are expected to be proficient in this language in order to favour the exchange. Previous collaborations with local authorities and the possibility of following up a previous project are not strictly required to apply.

Applying CSOs can only send one application and be part of one partnership. Having the greatest possible variety of Local Authorities involved in the program will be a relevant criteria for selection as well.

Read the FAQs about the program and applications here!

Program activities

What will happen in THE:PLACE?

The first round of the program will run from February 2022 to October 2023, consisting in 5 main phases:

  • an online matchmaking event on 25th February 2022 open to 20 pre-selected CSOs (10 based in the EU and 10 based in Turkey): thematic virtual tables will be created around the topics of interest identified by the CSOs during the application in order to favour networking and exchange.
  • an intensive training in Istanbul of 5 days (28th March to 1st April 2022) focusing on team building through a series of networking activities such as group work, study visits, reflection sessions, and social events. The training will also be aimed to introduce the partnerships to the insights of project development (steps and methods).
  • an online school (April – May 2022) to delve on urban development, social issues, climate change, digital participation, disaster prevention, participatory budgeting, local democracy and decentralised cooperation, among other topics;
  • a project implementation period of 12 months (September 2022 – August 2023) dedicated to 6 selected partnerships (1 Turkish CSO associated with 1 Turkish LA in partnership with 1 European CSO associated with 1 European LA) who will engage in local activities, capacity building activities, meetings, events, job-shadowing among staff and joint activities, in-presence studies and co-develop an action plan laying the ground for their future collaboration with the support of a grant of 25.000€;

a closing event in October 2023 in Brussels aimed to project dissemination and follow up, as well as launching the second round of the program.