Focus on Turkey creates strong synergies

SKL International has gained increased confidence in working with capacity development in Turkish municipalities.

Since 2003, SKL International has been engaged in projects aiming at strengthening local governance in Turkey. The most important of which has been the Tusenet project, involves 23 Turkish and 5 Swedish municipalities, as well as the Union of Municipalities of Turkey (UMT) and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR).

Lately the scope of work has widened through our inputs to the EU-financed LAR 2 project, which is managed by UNDP. The project, formally known as “Support to further implementation of Local Administrative Reform in Turkey”, has selected SKL international experts for two assignments in the component related to Capacity Building within the Unions of Local Authorities.

The first assignment has already resulted in a Communication Strategy, Action Plan and Toolkit for the Union of Municipalities. Ongoing is at set of trainings for Turkish municipal staff in communication skills. In February the first two-day training was held in Ankara, with participation from 28 municipal press officers and other communication staff. Through a mix of theoretical lectures, practical tips and participative techniques such as role plays, the training program resulted in highly engaged and motivated participants going home to their municipalities to strengthen the local communication.

Animated role play situation during communications training. From left to right: İsmet Hazardağlı, Communication Expert, Savaş Gayretli, Press Officer of Samsun Special Provincial Administration, Serkan Aydemir, Press Officer of Karadeniz Ereğli Municipality, Osman Şenol, Press and Public Relations Officer of İlkadım Municipality. Photo: Burcu Kulaç, Union of Municipalities of Turkey

 

The second assignment includes an Organisational Development Review of the Union of Provincial Services of Turkey. Both the methodology and the team resemble those used for a similar review of UMT within the Tusenet project two years ago.

SKL International has also promoted the LAR 2 twinning component in Sweden, resulting in the Swedish municipality of Härryda now looking for a partner municipality in Turkey. Härryda will be able to draw on experiences gained within the Tusenet project when designing and implementing their twinning project.

Based on our experiences in Turkey, SKL International has teamed up with three strong partners and been short listed for another EU funded project in Turkey “Improving Participatory Strategic Governance at Local Level”. The partners are the Turkish think tank Tesev, the British Council and the German Icon Institute.

“In all our contacts with the local sector in Turkey, we notice how experiences from one project are of use in other activities”, says Magnus Liljeström, Project Manager at SKL International. “We also strongly believe that the experiences of our Turkish and Swedish partners will be of use in projects in countries neighboring to Turkey.”

The Tusenet project will end in March 2011, but UMT and SALAR has already been drafting a proposal for a new project, which will hopefully be funded by Sida (the Swedish International Development Co-Operation Agency).