April saw the Istanbul&I Board continue its mission towards transforming the organization through enacting sustainable structural changes. Within the scope of this goal, Istanbul&I conducted a survey within the organization to narrow down the mission and vision of the organization to plan its future more effectively and clearly.
Istanbul&I’s Executive Coordinator, Amber Sema Erkan, and Summits & Fundraising coordinator, Ahmad Ayyash, shared the results of the Vision Survey with volunteers in a meeting held on April 10, 2021. A key result of the survey includes that, while most volunteers agree with the mission and vision statements, they believe that they could be narrowed down to better match Istanbul&I’s aim. 80.6% of respondents answered that “creating a diverse and inclusive space that empowers the youth to develop initiatives that make meaningful impact in their local communities” is a more accurate representation of the organization than the current vision statement. Another important result of the survey was that 61.2% of respondents agreed that “Istanbul&I should aim to create its own volunteering initiatives that serve disadvantaged communities with its own resources,” in addition to continuing to design programs with the communities that other NGOs serve. In terms of fundraising solutions, many respondents felt that the organization shouldn’t rely on crowdfunding as the main source of funding since it’s unsustainable. Instead, most respondents agreed that Istanbul&I should mainly focus on sourcing funding from grants, businesses, corporations, foundations, and sponsors, so long as they do not intervene with our model.
The Vision Survey was concluded with a proposal of organizational reform presented by the board: Istanbul&I locates refugees and migrants between the ages of 18-25 who are not currently being served by any center in Istanbul and creates programs for them to build their skills and prepare for their careers, as well as to take care of their wellness and provide them a safe space. 64.2% of respondents approved this proposal while 34.3% stated that they needed further information. The Board will work to incorporate all the feedback provided through the Vision Survey to ensure a transparent and united effort as Istanbul&I enters a year of transformation.
In other board news, the Board is excited to announce its collaboration with the Philia Project: Conversations on Consent. The Philia Project is a women’s empowerment and leadership programme based on peer coaching. Istanbul&I is collaborating with the Philia Project,Yabangee, and Sivil Düşün on the EU-funded Conversations on Consent campaign, which aims to raise awareness on the topic of consent with hopes of encouraging consent to be written into the law worldwide to ensure equality. A few Istanbul&I volunteers are on the Conversations on Consent team, conducting research and helping to create a podcast that will be launched in May. Istanbul&I is also excited to announce the restart of Qnushyo homework help project, which is an old Istanbul&I project in collaboration with Qnushyo where volunteers help refugee children with their Turkish and math schoolwork.
Osama Hijazi – 27/4/21