Highlighting the value of the Internet in Turkey

In the global battle for the free and open Internet, Turkey stands in the front lines. Web penetration is fast growing and the country’s young population is one of the world’s biggest per capita users of social networks. At the same time, these are challenging days for Internet freedom. In our view, the best way forward is to empower Turkey’s civil society to promote knowledge of how to manage and benefit from the web.

For the last year, we have supported a program called "Google Academy for NGOs." Our aim is to educate NGOs on web issues, cloud computing and Google tools. In the first phase of the program, the academy has run workshops in Istanbul and Ankara, training a total of 77 NGO representatives from 62 NGOs. Participants came from NGOs concentrating on human rights, environment, education, entrepreneurship and women’s rights.

Scenes for the Google Academy in Turkey

Before entering the Academy, only half of the trainees indicated that they have knowledge regarding Internet and cloud applications for civil society. Although some 70% indicated that they know and have enough knowledge on Google Search and Google Chrome, only 12% stated that they know Google Good to Know content that provides information on web security and fewer than 10% said that they know about Google Trends, which helps analyze search traffic.

Thanks to the program, most of the participants saw how the Internet could benefit their NGO. It will allow them to keep in communication with their volunteers, increase interaction with stakeholders and partners, and facilitate the development of new projects. Instead of having everyone travel for a meeting, many said they plan to use Google Hangouts to meet online.

The NGO Academy’s first “class” recently graduated. Three exemplary NGOs, received scholarships to attend a management program at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. The winning projects came from:
In June, we are completing a new, second phase of the program. Hopefully, the Google Academy will continue strengthening Turkey’s civil society to recognize the value of the Internet.