The Active Participation in Regional Development Agencies project which was implemented by Turkey Europe Foundation and completed in 15 months, focused on the issues of active participation of civil society in the development and implementation of regional development policies. While focusing on this goal, the best practices, creative and innovative instruments and mechanisms at the national and EU level were reviewed to enhance the skills of regional development agencies in areas such as participatory planning, programming, monitoring and evaluation. A platform for dialogue, business cooperation and mutual learning opportunities was established between similar structures in the EU, particularly in Poland and France.
Under the project, two important outcomes regarding regional development agencies in Turkey were achieved apart from academic graduate studies at the PhD level. The first one of these was the need analysis of the regional development agencies prepared in line with the objectives of the project and compilation of the best practices of the agencies. A questionnaire consisting of 12 questions was conducted to analyse the needs of the Regional Development Agencies and their practices to civil society organizations and other stakeholders operating in the regions of the Agencies. 26 Regional Development Agencies were reached through the survey. 10 regional development agencies were visited and throughout the visits 40 civil society organisations, 17 of which had worked closely with the agencies, were contacted. This comprehensive work has been transformed into a book.
The second important output of the project has been the toolkit which was prepared to serve as a guide and reference for helping the regional development agencies in their work with civil society organizations and other stakeholders in Turkey. The toolkit, which includes many factors from the stakeholder analysis to the active involvement of the civil society in the decision-making processes, from planning to the creativity, design and evaluation of participation, is available online (http://turkiyeavrupavakfi.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Toolbox_TAV1.pdf). The project also brought together the representatives of all the development agencies operating in Turkey in the Pilot Training and Implementation Workshop.
Turkey Europe Foundation stated that the regional development agencies were ready for cooperation in various fields through the networks created with the EU in medium and long term and the project’s French partner, the Center International de Formation Européenne (CIFE) summarized their satisfaction with the established partnership as: “During this project the partnership has made possible the enlargement of the existing network of stakeholders for CIFE: specialists, organizations and institutions, local and regional actors and altogether partners with an expertise on regional and local policy making. CIFE gained a number of contact persons who can be addressed for other programmes and initiatives that have been organized by our organizations in both regions over the years and could be mobilized for ad-hoc activities, workshops, seminars and alike.”. For more information, please visit www.turkiyeavrupavakfı.org.