Sivil Düşün






2022, 2023




Learning Design, Program Curation


Sivil Düşün’s new initiative, dünyalar., is established to strengthen and develop community-based efforts in the civil sphere. This initiative needs an innovative, qualified experience design that can bring together the needs of both communities and civil society.


A comprehensive study was conducted to improve the quality of existing efforts in the community field and to create an incentive for possible efforts, to bring together people with different experience levels and learning from each other, and to create a modular and flexible program that blends theory and practice.

How might we design quality learning, sharing, and gathering experiences to strengthen and encourage community-based efforts?

dünyalar., an initiative that empowers and encourages community-driven efforts. The initiative, implemented by the European Union Sivil Düşün Programme, brings together everyone who wants to draw strength and inspiration from communities while taking steps and thinking about common issues of the world.

As part of dünyalar., many events have been held and content has been produced since July 2022. Digital panels, roundtable meetings, community workshops with participants from 39 different cities in 8 centers, wikimarathon, digital media campaign, and a digital community reaching over 1000 people…

We were included in dünyalar. initiative at the end of 2022. During the process, we provided services on different topics such as learning design for community incubation, mentor meeting design and facilitation, seminar training and workshop facilitation, community library content curation and forum program curation.

The learning program aimed for participants from the field of civil society and social development, to learn the concept of community and the basics of its components, to be equipped with theoretical and practical knowledge about community design and management, to create a road map for the communities they are in or aim to establish, and to create the necessary resources for the sustainability of their communities.

With the forum program, we aimed to design an immersive experience that encourages collaborative action in community-led work and prioritizes establishing diverse connections. We borrowed the spirit of ‘agora’ and ‘forum’ from Ancient Greece and carried it to the present day and intented to offer a qualified and memorable experience, make cooperation and sharing visible within and between communities, and to enable different connections between participants.


In the first step, a situation analysis was conducted, local and international resources in the field of community design and management were scanned, and existing programs were examined. In addition, in this step, the past and current works of Sivil Düşün and dünyalar. were examined and insights and needs from past studies were included in the process.

Four main insights were identified as a result of the situation analysis. It was found that there were different learning needs for different communities in the civil sphere. We suggested to design a program that responds to these learning needs, a modular flow and can be shaped according to participation. It was understood that there was a need for knowledge transfer that was informed by theory and could be put into practice. For this reason, it was underlined that it is necessary to support the theory through various resources in different formats and to ensure the production and sharing of practical knowledge and content. It was stated that there is a need for a program that provides space for participants with different levels of knowledge, experience and interest to interact with each other, learn from each other, share and produce. It was also suggested that the informative and inspiring contents within the scope of the learning program should be enriched with case presentations and seminars of different guests from the civil sphere and communities.

As the second step, a desk research was conducted to create a database of community leaders, content creators and opinion leaders, particularly in the field of civil society and development. This database also formed a basis for guest selection in program design. Then, the basic design principles of the program for strategic design were created and the design approach was determined. This step served as a transition for program design.

Emerging community, established community, or a curious NGO worker?

Learning Design

In the first stage of the program, the theoretical background of the concept of community, its history and the basics of community components are taught and a general framework is drawn. In the second stage, we suggested an applied study on community design and management. And in the third stage, methodology, approaches and case studies are prepated for content and program production. And finally, we aimed to create a road map for the participants and their communities to progress, scale and be sustainable.

Creating space for different communities and pioneers, being in line with the principles and values ​​of the European Union and Sivil Düşün, being participatory and inclusive, and focusing on discovery and inspiration were determined as the basic design principles. During the design process, emerning communities, established communities and curious NGO workers were determined as three different participant persona profiles. And the balance of learning, participation and interaction of these personas was envisaged. In addition, learning balances of theoretical/practical, synchronous/asynchronous, individual/collective, linear/modular and introverted/interactive were designed for the community pioneers who will participate in the program. The learning objective of the program was determined as  gaining new mindsets and skills that will transform the participants and those around them for the good of their communities, in line with the main goals of gaining knowledge, inspiration, planning and receiving support.

In the learning design, the journey for the program participants, the modules and contents in the learning design, and the types of sessions and resources were determined. During this process, a community library was also created to offer resources in different formats to program participants. The library contained over 200 resources such as books, toolkits, articles, podcasts, videos, guides, reports, cases and films in the fields of community, civil society, sustainable development, communication, digitalization, event management, facilitation and professional development.

Program Curation

Four main goals were determined for the forum, which is positioned as the closing meeting of the dünyalar. initiative. The aim was for the forum participants to reflect and share with each other what they have learned and experienced throughout the dünyalar. initiative, to discuss the role they envision for themselves and the future of community activities, to meet each other, to network and exchange ideas, and to identify potential areas of cooperation and project ideas for Sivil Düşün support.

In line with these goals, we designed an immersive forum experience that modernizes the spirit of the ancient agora, encourages collaborative action in community-led work, and prioritizes diverse connections. While making this design, we identified four main approach principles for theme, form, focus and balance. We have integrated overarching themes that tie together various aspects of community-led work, fostering a comprehensive understanding of impacts and challenges. We combined various event formats to engage participants, retain existing interest, and encourage different forms of expression. We prioritized the participant experience by allowing for serendipitous connections, creating opportunities for both structured and spontaneous interactions, and finally borrowed the ‘agora’ and ‘forum’ approaches of Ancient Greece while infusing modern technology and trends for a dynamic experience.

The main topics that will be included in the forum program have been determined. Different contents were created for meeting, sharing, advocacy, curiosity for sharing, expression, inspiration and discovery, based on the foundations of justice, equality, diversity and inclusion, in a wide range from democracy to rights-oriented efforts, from public opinion formation to human rights. Program balances were determined and programming principles were established for the program design process.

The curatorial approach and program themes for the forum program were determined. By utilizing a wide library of tools, formats and methods that would suit these approaches and themes were prepared. Finally, the three-day program flow was drawn up and the theme, format, duration, number of participants, facilitator information and contents of the proposed events were suggested.

Community Mentors Meeting

The first session within the scope of the project was the Community Mentors Meeting, which took place in Şirince, İzmir between 20 – 24 December 2022. At this meeting, different exercises were held for pre-incubation alignment, co-learning, process design and discussion with more than 30 mentors who will take part in the Community Incubation. Mentors were enabled to discover their individual knowledge, toolkits, passions, values ​​and barriers. It was aimed for them to learn new things about active listening, asking questions and giving feedback. They were meant to explore the opportunities, barriers, and needs facing the world and see how these intersect with their communities. They were given the opportunity to learn and discuss community theory and community design components. As a part of dünyalar., the ground was laid for them to imagine the future with us and design the next steps together.

Community Workshop

The second session within the scope of the project was a Community Workshop within the scope of the Incubation Meeting held in Ankara on June 17, 2023, within the scope of Community Incubation. We hosted nearly 300 participants with three different exercises at this meeting, where we aimed for community pioneers to meet, interact and bond with each other, build trust and add new things to their toolbox. The aim of this meeting was to make new acquaintances and look at existing acquaintances from a new perspective, to discover what needs other communities are trying to meet and to see their work in the context of other types of communities, to influence the confidence required to learn and produce together, to think as part of various community practices and to learn new methods.

Social Contract Seminar

The third sessşon of the program was the Social Contract Seminar, which took place online on August 3, 2023, within the scope of Community Incubation. In this seminar, where we asked the question ‘How do community components meet with common values ​​and norms to work together and make decisions?’, we explained what all existing and future components of the community need to do to work, learn and produce together, and the decisions they need to take to maintain their existence together. We also discovered the most basic building blocks to needs to exist together. In the seminar, we learned the basic definitions and concepts of social contract and took a look at the historical development of social contract within democracy. We also explained why social contracts are important for communities and gave examples. At the end of the seminar, we divided the participants into groups and did an interactive exercise.

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