Corporate Volunteer Association (OSGD - Özel Sektör Gönüllüler Derneği) provide us with an overview of their most programmes to encourage responsible business.
Can you tell us about a key CR issue in Turkey at the moment?
Turkey has recently been focusing on the issue of Education. Turkey has a very large percentage of young population who do not have sufficient skills to obtain a job. This has brought the issue of quality schools and quality education (especially vocational education) into focus. Moreover, a lot of effort is being made for the education of girls especially in rural areas.
Can you tell us about a programme you are running?
Our organization has been running a corporate volunteering umbrella programme called “School Buddy” since 2002. It consists of corporate volunteers visiting classrooms in the public school that is located closest to their offices and carrying out several projects with children of different ages, depending on the programme. The projects are carried out by volunteers only after they go through project-specific training. Projects include:
- “Curious Books” is designed to raise the curiosity in 9-12 year old students for reading. Volunteers read books to children at their lunch hour once a week for at least four weeks by using activities and creative drama techniques.
- “Environmentally Friendly Penguins” is designed to inform and educate 9-12 year old students about climate change. Volunteers use games and fun materials to explain the effects of climate change by visiting the same classroom two times in two weeks.
- “Career Days” consists of corporate volunteers from different departments of a company visiting 6-8 graders and introducing them to their jobs and daily schedules. These are important meetings as it is critical for students at these ages in public schools to come together with role models.
What is your strategic vision for the next 5-10 years?
Our vision for the next 5-10 years is to establish sustainable corporate volunteering programs in as many companies as possible in Turkey. Our aim is not only for them to create their corporate volunteering programmes but also for them to carry out numerous company-wide projects with a continuously increasing number of volunteers. Our side aim is for companies to support and help enhance the capacities and business models of all the NGOs that they collaborate with for their volunteering projects.
Do any of your campaigns or programmes rely on businesses collaborating to achieve a common goal?
For the “School Buddy” programme, all corporate members of our organization come together under our umbrella and carry out the same project after going through the same training, together. But the “Environmentally Friendly Penguins” project is especially a good example for business collaboration as the idea for the project was born as a result of a brainstorming session of a group of different businesses who then worked together to create the content of the project. This project was done under BITC – Engage Istanbul Project.