Impact Hub communities in Türkiye: uniting for resilience

In times of crisis, communities have a remarkable capacity to unite and extend a helping hand. This sentiment was exemplified by the collaborative efforts of Impact Hub communities in Türkiye during a recent earthquake crisis. This is the story of their collective response, emphasising both short-term and long-term interventions with a focus on building back better.

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In the wake of the 2023 earthquake that struck Türkiye, Impact Hub Ankara, Impact Hub Istanbul, alongside our steadfast community partner Originn, demonstrated the power of collective action in response to a devastating crisis. 


Following the initial shock and mourning period, they embarked on a mission to understand how the earthquake crisis had affected social enterprises. Two crucial questions emerged: How did the earthquake impact these enterprises, and what role could they play in the midst of such a devastating emergency?


Assessing the Impact on Social Enterprises

Recognising the significance of supporting social enterprises already dedicated to making a positive difference in their communities, the organisations, in collaboration with partners from the Türkiye Social Entrepreneurship Network (TSEN), established a Help Desk. 


This Help Desk became a vital connection point, assessing the needs of social enterprises, primarily social cooperatives, in the affected regions. Impact Hub Ankara even set up a phone and WhatsApp line to facilitate seamless communication, conducting comprehensive situation assessments and bridging the gap between these enterprises and various entities providing short-term emergency aid.

A scene of automobile wreckage lies beneath the ruins of buildings brought down by the earthquake.
A scene of automobile wreckage lies beneath the ruins of buildings brought down by the earthquake. / Hatay, August 2023

Crowdgifting for recovery: Meeting urgent needs

One pressing need quickly emerged – the replacement of lost and damaged machinery and equipment for social enterprises determined to continue their support for their communities. To address this, the organisations collected needs through the WhatsApp and phone lines of the Help Desk. They worked closely with regional development agencies to identify and verify these requirements.


What followed was an impressive initiative: these needs were listed on – a crowd-gifting platform. This platform allowed not only the listing of requirements but also their availability for individual and institutional buyouts through user-friendly online shopping and delivery options.


This endeavour didn’t go unnoticed. A national non-governmental organisation (AHBAP) recognised the importance of the work being done and played a significant role in eliminating machinery and equipment losses for 11 organisations, amounting to approximately 2 million Turkish Lira. 


In additional initiatives, Impact Hub Ankara delivered service design interventions to bolster organisational coordination and focused on the development of regenerative agricultural systems and resilient supply chains in earthquake-prone areas.


Meanwhile, Impact Hub Istanbul extended the reach of ongoing programmes by providing funding and expertise to pioneering projects within the region. Originn, with community AHALİ, designed interventions to assist individuals displaced from the region to İzmir, ensuring their smooth transition and well-being in their new homes.

Colourful kites take to the sky during the Evvel Temmuz festival, honouring the memory of the children tragically lost in the earthquake.
Colourful kites take to the sky during the Evvel Temmuz festival, honouring the memory of the children tragically lost in the earthquake. / Hatay, July 2023

Building back better: A shift towards long-term recovery

The path towards recovery, however, was not just about rebuilding; it was about building back better. By embracing the “Build Back Better” agenda, they laid the foundation for a more sustainable and resilient future, with a focus on replacing broken supply chains, strengthening business models, and fostering innovation within the earthquake zone.


Through global knowledge sharing, coordination among stakeholders, and private sector engagement, they demonstrated that real change is possible when driven by collaboration and shared vision. They provided a source of inspiration, offering insights and strategies to inspire new interventions and support existing social innovation initiatives.

Sunset on the banks of a river.

Rising together in the face of adversity

Impact Hub Ankara’s aim was not limited to the creation of exemplary cases; they also strived to establish a network memory capable of providing guidance during turbulent times.


Despite the progress made, they acknowledge the presence of unaddressed needs. Impact Hub Ankara believes that programmatic and systematic interventions, streamlined through more organised funding, are critical to sustaining their initiatives and ensuring a positive impact.


Fellow hubs and network members are cordially invited by Impact Hub Ankara to contribute their experiences and successful practices in similar projects and interventions within their respective communities. The sharing of innovative fundraising ideas and opportunities for programme collaboration is highly appreciated as they collectively navigate these challenging waters.


Impact Hub communities in Türkiye and their partners have demonstrated the power of collaborative innovation. Their response to the earthquake crisis is a reminder that the impact ecosystems possess the resilience to rise above even in the darkest hours. As we reflect on their journey, we are inspired to stand beside them, ready to face long-term challenges with a shared commitment to building a brighter, more resilient world for all.

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