Participants' civic engagement behavior: evidence from a non-formal training on democracy and human rights

Kahraman, Bilgen
The purpose of this study was to examine participants’ civic engagement behavior of a non-formal training on democracy and human rights through the case of Toplum Gönüllüleri Vakfı (TOG) Democracy and Human Rights Project. In order to achieve this, a survey was conducted to the participants who attended the trainer’s training of TOG’s Democracy and Human Rights Project. The entire population who completed the trainer’s training at that time consisted of 154 TOG volunteers, and all population were aimed to be reached for data collection. The study initiated with a needs analysis study to explore what elements were needed to be evaluated in the survey with regard to TOG’s administrative group. Next, based on those findings, literature review on civic engagement and the indicators adapted by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) a questionnaire containing both open-ended and close-ended items was developed to measure participants’ civic behaviors. The data were collected through an online survey tool, Survey Monkey, an accessable number of population (N=56) was reached and a return rate of 43.4 percent was enhanced. The results revealed that participants of trainer’s training of TOG’s Democracy and Human Rights Project could be regarded as active citizens who engage in civil society, participate in political actions, pay attention to current events and follow the news regularly. In addition, findings showed that there was a decrease in the frequencies in terms of participation in the civil society in time. Lastly, implications for further research on participants’ civic participation from non-formal education perspectives are highlighted.