Local stakeholders meet at the UNDP Social Innovation Training Programme

July 8, 2022
Chris Montgomery

UNDP Türkiye organized a training programme for local stakeholders where the concepts of sustainability and social innovation were examined from different angles to develop interventions for social issues

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Türkiye organized a Social Innovation Training Programme for stakeholders who want to play a role in the localization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The programme, which hosted more than 200 participants from many provinces of Türkiye, was carried out within the scope of UNDP’s Local Administration Reform (LAR) Project Phase III, which aims to establish greater participation in the local government system, achieve long-term collaborations, and set new standards for the localization of SDGs.

The training sessions, which were held online between 13-24 June 2022, included public institutions, universities, non-governmental organizations, private sector representatives, citizens and all actors working to address development challenges, especially those experienced in local governments.

The training programme consisted of 6 sessions aimed at increasing the capacity of stakeholders to develop more effective interventions to social problems using basic frameworks and concepts related to social innovation. The session titles were as follows; Social Innovation on the Path to the Sustainable Development Goals, the Ethical Perspective for Sustainability, Social Innovation in the Public Sector, Urban Social Innovation, Action Strategies for Social Innovation, and Volunteering, Citizen Participation and Resource Mobilization.

Today, cities are the main source of increasingly complex social problems, and this requires different approaches beyond existing practices. Designing new interventions to better respond to the needs arising from social problems is the foundation of social innovation. In this sense, social innovation is an indispensable step in the sustainability journey.

The online trainings, organized by UNDP Türkiye and attended by UNV Türkiye to spread and democratize social innovation and sustainability practices, were given by Dr. Gökçe Tuna, Dr. Ece Öztan, Dr. Sinem Güravşar Gökçe, Gülşah Eker, Berivan Eliş, Nil Memişoğlu and Belgin Ergül, who are experts in their fields.

The coordinator of the programme and UNDP Türkiye Accelerator Lab’s Head of Exploration Gökçe Tuna stated, "Instead of developing a conventional training programme, we looked at the Sustainable Development Goals from a social innovation perspective by designing content that placed innovation at the forefront. This, in turn, created the interaction we hoped for by keeping the participants' interest at peak levels. We were impressed by the diversity of the participants, their commitment to the programme, and their enthusiasm for learning about and implementing social innovation. Increasing the number of such programmes is essential for enhancing the capacity of development practitioners like us and other stakeholders to design and implement more effective responses to societal problems."

Burcu Dıraor Aydın, UNDP Türkiye Inclusive and Democratic Governance Portfolio Manager, said, "This training is a very important step designed to overcome the obstacles to SDG localization and strengthen the cooperation of municipalities and local stakeholders with an innovative approach. In addition to its carefully designed content, it was also very valuable that Izmir Metropolitan Municipality and Sultanbeyli and Karatay Municipalities, which are three leading examples in Türkiye with Voluntary Local Reviews on the way to the SDGs, shared their efforts to internalize and spread the SDG localization at a grassroots level in cooperation with volunteers and NGOs at the end of the programme." 

In order to further expand the programme, work to develop the next phase will begin soon. Until then, you may watch the recordings taken during the programme at https://bit.ly/UNDPsosyalinovasyonegitimi.