Today the GWU students visited the offices of and Toplum Gonulluleri Kakfi (TOG) and Koch holdings- both completely different organizational models but actively involved in the common mission of increasing awareness of corporate social responsibility across Turkey
Toplum Gonulluleri Kakfi (TOG) is a non profit NGO that is working at the grass roots level of the society and aims to contribute to the personal development of young people in the Turkey society- a key demographic section of the society. They have partenered with universities nationwide in almost 77 of the 81 provinces and encouraged students to involve in social responsibility projects. Young students involved in these projects learn by experience the advantages of working with people from different races, classes of the society and are able to better contribute to a democratic and peaceful society.This participation is crucial in a nation that is trying to maintain its secular structure and stay away from extremist ideologies and is highly dependent on its population to become aware of the human rights and inequalities in the societies and remove the prejudices in their minds against certain classes in the society. This orgnaization is well recognized not only in Turkey but also in Europe and America and has recieved the backing of international organizations like United Nations and European Union. It was interesting to know that the efforts of TOG group has now resulted in a increasing section of the youth who are actively involved in trying to solve the problems their nation is facing and demanding a solution from their government, thus increasing the pressure to build a sustainable solution on the government,
Our next stop today was at the headquarters of KOch Holdings, a beautiful campus set across the stunning view of Bosphorous river from the Asian side of Turkey. The management shared impressive achievements of the company founded in 1929 and which has been able to contribute upto 8% of the nation’s total GDP and enjoys a market cap share of 17% in the Istanbul Stock Exchange. However,but it was very interesting to know that the conglomerate company as part of its core strategy not only focusses on generating shareholder value but also dedicates around 10% of its budget to Vehbi Koch foundation. he company founder aptly recognized the importance of corporate social responsibility when he declared that ‘If a country does not prosper, the company does not prosper’. We found this thought really interesting considering this came in at a time when corporate social responsibility was still in the nascent stage and corporations worldwide had not recognized the importance of these initiatives. Vehbi Koch is a charitable foundation established in 1969 that continues to support volunteer projects and NGO organizations in the 3 main sectors responsible for basic requirements of modern and developing Turkey – Education, Health and Culture. Koch Holding’s position in the market helps it to get the Turkish businesses to sit up and actually take note of the volunteer projects that the orgnaization supports and subsequently inspires them to follow the same path.
Of course we had a wonderful sea food lunch incorporated in the busy schedule above and we managed to take some great pics by the river that gave us stunning views of the bridge connecting the two continents- Europe and Asia. Looking forward to our trip to Izmir during the weekend, one of the most beautiful destinations in Turkey. Stay tuned for updates 🙂