About STÇM (Center for Civil Society Studies)
The purpose of the center is to contribute to the development of the civil society in Turkey and the world; to conduct scientific research, publication, trainings and documentation studies on the social, economic, and cultural dimensions of this development; to work in cooperation with the related official, private and non-governmental organizations; and actively be a part of the accumulation of knowledge in the areas of civil society.
The Center for Civil Society Studies was founded in 2008 and continues its activities through the NGO Training and Research Unit, Youth Studies Unit, and Child Studies Unit.
NGO Training and Research Unit
As a “City University”, İstanbul Bilgi University has aimed to create a continuous and warm relationship with all segments of society, and to this end has adopted an open approach towards the society for both academic activities and social and cultural events. The University has always considered non-governmental organizations an integral part of its mission and as a result created the NGO Training and Research Unit (Bilgi STK) in March 2003 to institutionalize its support.
For the first time in Turkey, a university body has aimed at strengthening the role of NGOs in a pluralistic democracy and contribute to the solving of the problem of the efficient operation of the NGOs. Bilgi STK was formed to be a meeting point between the university and civil society in order to assist in the capacity development of NGOs and citizen initiatives, particularly in the policy formulation and implementation processes.
Besides addressing the printed and visual material and training needs and strengthening and supporting the organizational capacity and abilities of non-governmental organizations, Bilgi STK also works towards increasing the awareness of NGOs on topics such as human rights, gender equality, participation, multiculturalism and ethics; supporting the creation of networks between NGOs, monitoring of public spending and increasing the impact of NGOs during the EU Accession talks.
The İstanbul Bilgi University NGO Education and Research Unit has regularly organized the NGO Training Certificate Program since 2003. The program lasts for 250 hours and to date over 750 NGO volunteers and professional employees have participated in the program with at least three times as many applications being received.
Youth Studies Unit
The Youth Studies Unit was founded in 2006 with the purpose of contributing to the development of rights based youth policies. As part of this unit:
The Research Program conducts research projects especially on youth studies and publishes these studies in the form of articles, reports, and books.
The Network Creation Program organizes festivals, working visits, and meetings in order for the stakeholders to have opportunities to learn from each other.
Within the Modeling Program, innovative youth projects are implemented and studies are conducted to help institutions that work with young people to adopt these innovations.
As part of the Advocacy Program, activities are organized that increases the participation and well-being of young people – in its most encompassing definition - before the decision makers.
Under these programs, various books and articles have been published; the Short Wave Youth Center was created to conduct various activities with young people living around Santral campus of the university; a methodology to monitor youth policies by young people was developed; Living Library activity on youth and human rights was realized; and people who work with young people were supported via various training programs.
Child Studies Unit
Child Studies Unit (ÇOÇA) was created on 20th November 2007 in order to create awareness, adoption, and dissemination of child’s rights. ÇOÇA implements all projects with the participation of children and besides producing and disseminating educational models based on children’s rights, ÇOÇA also conducts research and advocacy studies in order to contribute to the development of policies about children.
The primary target group of ÇOÇA’s activities is children, teachers, and NGO employees along with adults who work with children and these activities are held in cooperation with the partners due to desire to learn from each other. The experience and knowledge of the people and institutions that work within the university and in the fields of children’s and human rights in civil society takes place in the studies of ÇOÇA and the knowledge generated at ÇOÇA is also disseminated via various means.
ÇOÇA has primarily been active in the field of education about children’s rights along with the fields of child and gender, children’s participation, child and the media and well-being of the child. ÇOÇA has also developed the children’s rights game named Söz Küçüğün (It’s the Child’s Turn), gender equality games Neden Olmasın (Why Not) and Mesela Sokağı (For Instance Street) and prepared animated films for children that depict the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Additionally, ÇOÇA has translated and adapted the book Compassito: Manual on Human Rights Education Activities with Children, for the use of teachers who work with children and NGO representatives. ÇOÇA has prepared training manuals and programs aimed at empowering adults that work with children to be used in various schools. As part of ÇOÇA’s aim to help children find a voice in public areas and participate in the decision making mechanism, the Unit has helped in realizing the children’s rights radio program named Söz Küçüğün (It’s the Child’s Turn) on Açık (Open) Radio, which is produced by children and has been on air since 2008.