Intro: In part two of her blog, Angela visits Beypazari, known as the carrot capital and looks ahead to the difference that the Educated Trainers, Stronger Co-operatives project will make.

Having stocked up on souveniers and gifts for family members (and ourselves) we boarded the minibus for Beypazari, the ‘Carrot Capital’. Circumnavigating the roundabout containing a 30 foot high carrot sculpture, we realised that these orange vegetables were very important to the people and the economy of this small town.

30ft high carrot sculpture

We were welcomed to the Bostancilar grocery co-op where we tasted fresh carrot juice and carrot flavoured turkish delight – a speciality made in the municipality. Yes, you may have spotted a theme! We heard how the co-op allows small farmers to work together to process, market and sell their produce within Turkey and beyond. On their own this would not be possible. At the next stop I made a couple of new friends. The goat farm, which is a member of the Beypazan wool co-op, benefits by being able to bulk buy feed and access a market they would otherwise not be able to.

Our learning and development manager Angela holding one of the animals

Back to Ankara

Once I was prized away from the two little kids I was cuddling, we set off wearily back to the big city. Despite a long and exhausting day I can certainly say that the true benefit of the project had hit home and it made me more enthusiastic for the pilot training programme which I was co-delivering for the next three days.

Ankara Development Agency offices

In the comfortable surroundings of the Ankara Development Agency training room, we were joined by 22 trainers from various ministries and agencies that support co-ops in Turkey. I found it very humbling that the training programme was delivered in English and those attending contributed fully to our sessions. 

Training session

Joining me as tutors were Katia De Luca from Legacoop in Italy, Korbinian März from DGRV in Germany and Pınar Urhan from the Ankara Development Agency. Our busy programme included:

• Training techniques, in particular co-operative pedagogy and reflective practices
• An introduction to co-ops
• Co-operative governance
• Support for co-op start-ups using the Business Canvas model
• Business planning 
• Co-operative audit and internal control
• Skills for success, specifically managing conflict
• Effective communication skills

Evaluation and beyond

Throughout the programme I led on evaluation activities. These ranged from using dot targets, ‘tops and pants’, newspaper headlines and rolling the dice to more formal ‘happy sheets’. We were delighted with the response our training received and were able to identify some slight modifications that would provide even better learning experiences for our target group. Our trainers left feeling much more confident about the content and format of the training tools we will be providing and enthusiastic about spreading the word of the value of co ops, particularly in rural communities.

Back home in the UK we are now co-ordinating the finishing touches to the training manual and toolkit ready for its launch in Turkey in June 2018.

Angela with turkey backdrop

I can’t wait to find out how the project outcomes are used and to hear real examples of how we have helped co-operative development in Turkey. Watch this space for updates.

You can read more about our work in Turkey, and the difference that the project will make, via the link below.

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