What Is Sivil Düşün?

Sivil Düşün (SD) is a European Union programme supporting active citizens and civil society organisations throughout Turkey.SD provides in-kind support and expertise for small scale, short-term rights-based initiatives.It offers a unique mechanism that easily and quickly enables civic actors to secure support for specific needs and desired outcomes.

Sivil Düşün supports rights-based initiatives. What is a rights-based initiative?

A rights-based initiative is an activity carried out according to the “rights-based approach.” A rights-focused approach places universal human rights values, standards, and norms at the action’s heart and centre.When applied and internalised, this approach increases the demand and enhances understanding of human rights laws and practices.It enables us to hold ourselves and others responsible and accountable for upholding human rights laws and practices.Adopting a human rights approach brings public and private institutions under pressure; it draws attention to violations and emboldens us to seek remedies.By applying this approach, we contribute to ensuring that rights and freedoms are recognised and protected for all.

Five elements comprise the rights-base approach :


Everyone is entitled to participate in making decisions that affect the enjoyment of their rights.


Everyone has access to mechanisms to hold duty-bearers accountable and seek redress for rights violated.

Equal Treatment and Non-DIscrImInatIon

Everyone is entitled to enjoy rights without discrimination of any kind.Discrimination is prevented, prohibited and eliminated.


The capacity of individuals to understand and enjoy their rights are supported.


Universal rights, standards and norms are reflected in national laws.
The Human rights approaches align with legal rights set out in international laws.

Sivil Düşün supports efforts to protect fundamental political, social, economic and cultural human rights and freedoms, as well as and animal and environmental rights.

What does Sivil Düşün Do?

Sivil Düşün focuses on strengthening the ability of individuals and groups to exercise their rights, especially those whose rights are at risk. As a vehicle for empowerment, SD helps civil society meet its needs.

SD contributes to building a strong foundation for ownership of the rights-based approach. It is a source of financial support and expertise designed to help civil society develop its capacity to carry-out rights-based initiatives, reach more people and implement more effective communications, awareness-raising, advocacy and monitoring activities. Sivil Duşün enables civic actors to learn essential skills and techniques, increase their capacity to hear and impact policymaking and expand organisational and financial capabilities.

Sivil Düşün walks side by side in solidarity with the hundreds of active citizens and organisations it supports each year. It contributes to expanding the presence of civil society in villages, neighbourhoods and cities across Turkey. Sivil Düşün creates opportunities to strengthen experienced civic actors and newcomers and opens the door for networking and cooperation among peers In Turkey and the European Union.

Sivil Düşün strives to understand the needs of civil society and provide examples to inspire creativity and innovation. The programme is at the same time a platform for disseminating valuable information and fostering the exchange of ideas and experience on ways to protect and advance rights.  

How does Sivil Düşün work?

Sivil Düşüm reflects the European Union’s persistent efforts to advance democratic values and the flourishing of human rights in candidate countries.The European Union Delegation of Turkey (EUD) issues Terms of Reference and contracts the implementation of the Sivil Düşün Programme to a technical assistance team (Sivil Düşün Team).Eight activists and civil society organisation representatives, together with representatives of the EUD and the Sivil Düşün Team, comprise a Steering Committee that provides guidance and strategic direction during the programme’s implementation.

What does Sivil Düşün Support?

Since its creation in 2012, SIVIL DÜŞÜN has supported over 2000 small-scale activities and engaged more than 5,000 civil actors from 81 provinces throughout Turkey in workshops, fora, roundtables and campaigns.

Yet, Sivil Düşün continuously renews itself! Because Sivil Düşün wants to listen to civil society and talk to them without intermediaries.  Sivil Düşün values understanding civil society’s needs and offering innovative solutions to these. If you aim to protect and further develop the fundamental rights, it is  #agoodday to start thinking civil and apply for Sivil Düşün support.

Sivil Düşün continues to support civil actions as always in a fast, flexible and accessible manner. Sivil Düşün support mechanisms are now renewed to help CSOs and activists to identify their needs and start their work with a clear target on what they want to achieve.

Sivil Düşün supports rights-based actions of CSOs and activists who would like to grow by developing new skills; to create an impact on decision-makers; to get heard and improve organisational skills and capacity.

A Special Phase for Sivil Düşün Support | Share Your Location, Get Support!

The European Union Sivil Düşün Programme will accept Requests for Support (RfS) from 50 cities across Turkey between 1 June – 1 October 2021.  We invite civil society organizations and active citizens from the cities listed below to seek SD’s support for rights-based activities and initiatives.  If you live in one of these cities, give us your location and get the support you need to realize your dreams for making change!

You can request Sivil Düşün’s support under four different categories, “Learn New Skills and Techniques”, “Get Heard”, “Impact Decisionmakers” and “Stregthen” . Information you need to prepare a Request for Support and implement activities is available on the Sivil Düşün website. Check out the Request for Support Guidelines and Implementation Guidelines.

Now you can choose from 4 categories to help you reach these objectives and ask for support:


Once you identified what you want to do, you can now identify your tools and methods to reach these objectives. Sivil Düşün can support you by covering the cost of the following items (up to 5 thousand Euros for each application) that you might have chosen for your actions:

  • Video production and postproduction
  • Equipment rental
  • Travel including airfare, bus, sea or rail transport
  • Passport, visa, foreign travel insurance, and departure stamp costs
  • Subsistence allowance
  • Printing and production of visibility materials
  • Graphic design for digital and printed content
  • Advertisements in print and digital media
  • Event & meeting organisation
  • Accommodation
  • Event participation fees
  • Translation, Interpretation and Sign language

You may ALSO request the support of experts, people with in-depth knowledge and extensive experience able to provide guidance, mentoring, training or technical services. Expert fees are in addition to the maximum €5 thousand support limit indicated above.


The maximum you can request is €5,000 for any combination of the eligible cost items listed below. You can submit more than one RfS, but the total may not exceed €10,000 during this phase of Sivil Düşün.

You can select more than one eligible cost item.

Who can apply?

Sivil Düşün supports civil society organisations and active citizens who advance fundamental rights and freedoms as defined in international agreements.

Civil society organisations including

  • Associations, foundations, civil initiatives, networks or platforms
  • Civil society units or centres at a university
  • Federations, confederations
  • Non-profit cooperatives or companies
  • Labour unions
  • Professional organisations
  • Bar associations
  • City councils

Active citizens and individuals who work in a volunteer capacity to advance human rights. These include but are not limited to individuals who:

  • Dedicate significant time and energy to a formal or informal rights-focused activity
  • Assume volunteer leadership responsibilities for a rights-focused activity
  • Start a new rights-focused initiative or network.
How to apply?

Sivil Düşün is open to receiving requests for support on a continuous basis beginning on 30 September 2020 through early 2022.

There are no deadlines for this general call for support!

Sivil Düşün will announce the 2022 closing date as soon as it is determined.

Before applying, please read the Request For Support Guideline

 for details.

To request support from Sivil Düşün, you must register to Online Information System, create your account and fill in a simplified form to explain you or your organisation, your right based action and what would you ask Sivil Düşün to support.

How does the compliance check process work?

Sivil Düşün reviews each request for support on a first-come, first-serve basis in three phases.

Phase 1: Technical Eligibility Check

Sivil Düşün determines whether your request for support meets the minimum technical eligibility requirements. You can check these requirements at Request for Support Guideline.

Sivil Düşün team members check the Technical eligibility of each request for support.


Phase 2: Qualitative Eligibility Check

Sivil Düşün determines whether your request for support fulfils the Qualitative Eligibility criteria. There are two sets of criteria: determining criteria and supportive criteria. You can check these requirements at Request for Support Guideline.

Two independent experts check the qualitative eligibility of each request for support.

How to follow a request for support?

You can follow the status of your request for support via the Online Information System. Once your request for support is approved, you will be assigned a support officer from Sivil Düşün team to help you throughout the implementation.

Sivil Düşün Content Policy

European Union Sivil Düşün Programme reserves the right to review, edit and/or delete any comments it deems as inappropriate and discriminate use, vulgar, profane or inappropriate language as part of its guidelines. Users who do not adhere to the above guidelines may have their comments and privileges edited or removed.

The online content of Sivil Düşün is the sole responsibility of the Consortium led by WeGlobal and in no way be interpreted as the opinion of the European Union.