Our NGOs write history in Elazig
I would like to convey how our NGOs came together to collaborate in the earthquake in Elazığ. We found a very constructive environment in this formation, which we named “Civil Society Organizations Disaster Coordination Platform” and even set up a website at the www.stkplatform.org link. I will share the common text we have drawn up and the development process.
The following message is conveyed on the website: We, as a Civil Society Organization, have put our heads together for the wounds of the earthquake in Elazığ and have built a society prepared for possible disasters from the institution to the individual. We are together to provide a socially beneficial cooperation from public institutions to the private sector.
On the night of the Elazığ Earthquake, correspondences started between the members of the board of directors of TIDER (Basic Need Association). We started to discuss what to do about this disaster. I briefly told everyone that the "NGO spirit" required getting to the field immediately and taking action as soon as possible.
Then I called Nil, the manager of the United Nations Volunteer Program, whom I knew was in Elazığ. Nil could not speak on the phone because of sadness. We agreed that we will talk the next morning.
We started collecting donations that night. The next morning, when I sat at my desk at home, I felt a little astringent. There was a lot of news about the earthquake, and I had more work on my plate than I could handle, that’s why I was in a position where I was most nervous while sitting at my desk. My hands were tied. Why were we not on the field? Then it came to my mind to call Mr Ali Ercan, one of the founders of the Ihtiyac Haritasi. This was the dialogue between:
Serhan: What are you doing? Are you planning to go to Elazığ?
Ali Ercan: Yes, brother. We actually organized a conference and are going to Elazığ for a 3-day event. Nil is the one that took the lead with this. We even got our ticket for tomorrow (Sunday).
Serhan: I want to come too. There is a lot to do. Perhaps we will activate the Disaster model we have been talking about for a long time and make a difference. We need to ensure that NGOs cooperate in a coordinated manner. Let us be instrumental in this. What do you say?
Ali Ercan: Super. I know there are different NGOs there.
Serhan: Okay brother. I’ll find a way to get tickets and make my way there tomorrow. I will let you know.
Ali Ercan: Great. See you in Elazığ…
The mass action begins
Afterwards, I wrote to our TIDER Board of Directors and announced that I would go to Elazığ. I stated that someone from the board and professionals should accompany me. Burcu, one of our board members put her hand up. Then Mr Rıdvan, one of the professionals, volunteered to come to Elazığ with me
Then I notified Nil. Nil, who was already dying to go to Elazığ, and said she would also come right away. There was only one problem. All flights to Elazığ were full. It was not possible to find a place. In fact, flights to Malatya, the nearest to the Elazığ district, were also full
Thanks to Burcu who stepped in on this and found two more ways to go to Elazığ: via Diyarbakır and Bitlis. As a result, we reserved our place on the Diyarbakır flight. Then Ahmet, the founder of Corbada Tuzun Olsun Association, called me. He had also heard from Ridvan.
He first asked about what we were doing. I quickly understood that he wanted to come as I could feel the natural reflex of someone who has the NGO spirit. I said to him, "Come with us if you want,". He jumped right onto the chance. "Okay, I'm coming," he said and added, "Should we call the Ahtapot Volunteers?”. The Ahtapot Volunteers, whom we have signed a good cooperation with for a long time and whom I know very well, I said, “Of course, they should come too”. Then the founder of Ahtapot Volunteers Vedat called me. We included them in the program.
Solution-oriented, supportive developments
After setting up all this, I left the house and went to my first meeting at Zorlu Center. This was my destiny. I can handle many different topics in a row. I went to my old friend Gökçe. She wanted to speak to me about a job and asked to go and see her. As I had an intense agenda, I planned to “stop over for half an hour”. Gokce, the owner of a brand like Tiffany in Turkia, and with a very elegant name like Collection Point opened their second shop in Zorlu Center. Of course, while sitting and answering questions in this place where they also had an eating and drinking section, calls related to the Elazığ program started to come in one by one. Everyone said to me, "How do we go from Diyarbakir to Elazığ? Have you been able to arrange a vehicle that will fit everyone?” they asked.
We had 8 people in total. After I hung up the phone, I started to be ask myself, "Where can I find a vehicle for 8 people in Diyarbakır?" Hearing this, Gökçe said, "If you want, I can arrange a car in Diyarbakır." I looked at her with a confused expression and said, "Are you serious or are you kidding?" I asked. “Sure, I'm serious. We have close acquaintances there.” she said. She called someone immediately. At that time, I was talking to her husband. She hung up and said, "Brother, the car is ready." I couldn't believe what happened. I said, “Good on you.” Afterwards, I sent a message to everyone to advise that the vehicle was organised. Everything was evolving to enable us to get there as soon as possible.
After chatting with Gökçe and her husband for a nice hour, I left and went to my next meeting. My meetings continued all day in a row. The next morning, we took the road to the airport early and set off with a 7.30am plane. We got off in Diyarbakır and got on the vehicle that welcomed us. Before we left Diyarbakır, we stopped at a bakery with the suggestions of Vedat, the founder of the Ahtapot Volunteers, bought some breakfast items such as bagel and pastries and started eating these while on the road. After about two hours of travel, we arrived in Elazığ. Mr Ali Ercan also called us to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Elazığ TSO) in Elazığ, where they had arrived before us. Thanks to the Elazığ TSO, they opened up the biggest meeting room for us. After talking with us for about an hour, the president Mr Asilhan Arslan came and held a meeting with us.
Help extended to help each other
It is never clear what will happen in life. We prepared a report about the biogas potential of Elazığ 3-4 years ago. At that time, we met Mr Asilhan in Elazığ and had a nice conversation. They hosted us beautifully. We also prepared and delivered the report. Mr Asilhan now appeared as the president of Elazığ TSO. We told him what we wanted to do.
After resolving the differences of opinion that appeared between us at the beginning, we met at a common point, we agreed, and he left the room stating that Elazığ TSO will give us all kinds of support. After he left, the news came, and they called us to the coordination meeting in the Officer of the Governor.
In addition to AFAD, Governorship and Kizilay executives, managers of local and national NGOs and related professionals also took their places in this meeting.
Of course, we were also present along the Adım Adım platform and its organizations. The Hayata Destek Association was already on the field from the first day and started to do the needs analysis. It was the first time I saw Rukiye from Hayata Destek at this meeting.
The organizations participating in the disaster coordination meeting were; AÇEV, Açık Açık Association, Ahbap Association, Ahtapot Volunteers Association, Birlesmis Milletler (United Nations) Volunteers, Corbada Tuzun Olsun Association, Hayata Destek Association, INOGAR, INOGAR ART, Ihtiyac Haritasi, KAGİDER, Nef Foundation, Nirengi Association, Saglam SME, Temel Ihtiyac (Basic Needs Association) and the Toplum Gonulleri Foundation.
At the meeting, we introduced ourselves, talked about many different topics that we can help with and reported that we were organized under the roof of the Chamber of Commerce. AFAD and the governorship stated that if we go in coordination with them, they will make room for us. We mutually agreed and got up from the table.
A photo from the disaster coordination meeting held in the governorship.
After that, we had a meeting amongst the governorships. We established the Civil Society Organizations Disaster Coordination Platform at this meeting which we held in an empty room on the floor where the office of Elazığ Governor Mr Çetin Oktay Pavement was located. We determined the general framework. In this regard, we requested a warehouse from Elazığ TSO and started our efforts to ensure that the donated products reach the needy in the most efficient way. Then, according to everyone's specialties, we made a distribution of tasks as follows.
Supply of Food and Essential Products:
Çorbada Tuzun Olsun
Elazığ Belediyesi Gençlik Meclisi
AÇEV (providing support)
Çorbada Tuzun Olsun (providing support)
Fırat Üniversitesi Sosyal Hizmet Bölümü
Türk Psikoloji Derneği
A photo we took with the Governor at the governor's exit hallway You can see the representatives of our NGOs here.
Of course, as above, the number of NGOs that look through the same window as us is increasing day by day. It is unprecedented for NGOs to work in such a synchronized manner, with none of them trying to compete or trying to stand out. In fact, we were building this dream 10-15 years ago with Mr Ali Ercan. It took years for this brotherhood to be formed and everyone to get used to each other. Here, the Adım Adım Platform has also made great contributions. We were clamped for a common purpose in the Elazığ Earthquake and everything fell into place.
In the photo we took at Sabiha Gökçen Airport on our return from Elazığ, there are Ahtapot Volunteers, Corbada Tuzun Olsun and TIDER representatives. In general, it was a beautiful shot that symbolized that all NGOs were clamped together.
From now on, our main goal as a non-governmental organization is to institutionalize the Civil Society Organizations Disaster Coordination Platform and to create a faster and more efficient working environment in every disaster we may encounter.
We already have an official website. As I mentioned in the introduction of the article, you can find our description on the main page:
We are Civil Society Organizations that put our heads together in order to heal the wounds of the earthquake in Elazığ and to build a society prepared for possible disasters from the institution to the individual. We are together to provide a socially beneficial cooperation from public institutions to the private sector.
It will be used as the official web address of stkplatformu.org NGO DISASTER COORDINATION PLATFORM in order to expand the platform, to communicate with the public and at the same time to eliminate the increasing information pollution in the public.
We wish the best to our country.
The publication of Civil Society Organizations Disaster Coordination Platform
In fact, we have another goal. I will not write it here. But when we announce it, we will write about it everywhere.
All I can say is that if we can establish a system with a 3rd industry and act together and create synergies, we will make a great contribution and benefit to the homeland, the nation and humanity. With all our hope...
Here is the result of all our efforts. The speech of Mr Vedat on CNN Türk, the founder of Ahtapot Volunteers who has high field experience. Well said, Vedat. We bless all the NGOs and volunteers who make a serious effort.Tag: sosyal sorumluluk