Accountability and Coordination in Humanitarian Action

Itır Erhart
Assoc. Prof., Açık Açık Association Board Member

As of 2020, the Açık Açık Association consists 120 civil society organizations, established established with the purpose of bringing together donors with transparent and accountable associations and foundations that recognize donor rights. Due to being an umbrella organization, it is knowledgeable about the activities, works, and areas of competence of the NGOs on its platform and regularly communicates with its employees. This context, we can summarize the work we have done and the experiences we have achieved in the field of humanitarian aid in 2020 as follows:

  • Immediately following the Elazığ Earthquake on January 24, 2020, more than 20 non-governmental organizations with expertise and experience in various fields from needs analyses and food banks to search and rescue and volunteer coordination came together at the national level as the NGO Disaster Platform. As its first task, the NGOs’ founders, managers, and professionals, who know each other and have information about each other’s areas of expertise, worked together to minimize the negative impacts and damage from the earthquake by sharing tasks. As the Açık Açık Association, we have been involved with the platform since day one and have shared our knowledge, competences, and experiences
  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all the NGOs within our organization suspended their fieldwork in March 2020. While some have carried their efforts over to the online environment, institutions such as the Basic Needs Association and Support to Life Foundation, especially those working in the field of humanitarian aid, have begun working to meet the needs caused by the pandemic, as well as residual needs. As the Açık Açık Association, we have called out to NGOs within our organization and gathered information about the humanitarian aid activities and projects carried out during this period. We share all these works on the Açık Açık Blog ( In particular, we provide communication support to NGOs that provide basic food and hygienic items as well as medical equipment support
  • Açık Açık Association’s Founding Member Assoc. Prof. Itır Erhart, together with Mehmet Sarıca, one of the founders of Needs Map, prepared and presented a podcast series called “Good4Cast” during the pandemic. Broadcasting live on Instagram weekly, Erhart and Sarıca support NGO managers in meeting with supporters and those in need by talking with the managers about their work during the pandemic. These broadcasts have later been uploaded as podcasts to various platforms
  • As a member of the NGO Disaster Platform officially established as of October 1, 2020, the Açık Açık Association provided field support following the İzmir Earthquake
  • At the event organized by the National Volunteering Committee on December 5, 2020, Açık Açık Association’s founding member Itır Erhart directed the panel “Volunteerism in Disaster Management,” in which Mehmet Akif Can (AFAD), Nurdal Durmuş (Turkish Red Crescent), Serhan Süzer (Disaster Coordination Platform), Ali Sinan Avşar (Community Volunteers Foundation), and Dünya Polat (Turkish Psychological Association) participated.

2020 has been a year when civil society organizations, especially associations and foundations working in the field of humanitarian aid, have worked with great devotion, attempted new methods, and developed new projects. When we look at all the works we are involved in as the Açık Açık Association, we see that we have performed them by cooperating with the NGOs, public institutions, and local administrations housed within our organization. It shows how important working together and combining our expertise is in 2020, especially when the issue is disaster and crisis management, for being able to start field work as quickly as possible while maintaining search and rescue efforts, while also being able to share by mapping out and determining regional needs as a civil society, as well as for being able to deliver the support coming in to those in need.

We believe that transparently sharing needs and support will not only positively impact in-kind and cash donations, but will also increase confidence in the field of civil society. For this reason, we will continue our collaborative efforts with other non-governmental organizations within the framework of the same transparency and accountability criteria in the upcoming years.

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