CIVICUS Civil Society Index

An international action-research project by and for civil society

Archive for June, 2009

CSI Staff published in the Journal of Civil Society

Posted by civilsocietyindex on June 24, 2009

writingThe CSI team is pleased to alert partners and stakeholders to a publication written by Jacob Mati from the CSI research team, which has recently been published in the Journal of Civil Society.


The last few decades have witnessed the emergence of global civil society advocacy networks as major players in global governance. The Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) is one of the recent phenomena in this arena and epitomizes high-level involvement of a multiplicity of actors in GCAP, with various multilateral governance institutions, as well as states.

This article analyses the origins of GCAP, motivations for its formation, evolution, and operations, with specific references to its structures and architecture. It argues that alliances are very different from ‘normal’ forms of organizations because they are made up of diverse forms of organizations, coming together voluntarily to achieve a specific purpose and therefore are by their very nature complex, unstable, and difficult to co-ordinate. The result of such, within GCAP, is an organization that is somewhat amorphous and exhibits both aspects of anti-systemic protest (in Polanyian terms) as well as a pacifying force (part of the hegemonic historic block in Gramcsian terms).

I argue that the loose nature of global civil society alliances is a positive contributor to mass mobilization but causes frustrations in decision-making and actions. This, in effect, calls for a more bureaucratized and institutionalized architecture, albeit with a potential to alienate some constituencies. A key lesson from GCAP’s evolution, structures, and strategies, I posit, is that it is not possible to push through individual positions without compromising so as to accommodate others.


Jacob M. Mati, ‘A Cartography of a Global Civil Society Advocacy Alliance: The Case of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty.’ Journal of Civil Society Vol. 5, No. 1, 81–103, June 2009.
ISSN 1744-8689 Print/1744-8697 Online/09/010081–23 # 2009 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/17448680902925661

About the Journal of Civil Society:

Journal of Civil Society is the leading academic voice for research and policy analysis on civil society. As a peer-reviewed journal with demanding standards, JCS provides a high profile, high impact outlet for world-class scholarship and debate on civil society, and serve as the authoritative source for research in an emerging field that lacks a central organ for dissemination.

Civil society is a contested concept. There is little agreement on its precise meaning, though much overlap exists among core conceptual components. In its transnational dimension, the term goes beyond the notion of both nation state and national society, and allows us to examine critical aspects of globalisation and the emergence of a new social, cultural and political sphere.

JCS seeks to improve the theoretical understanding and empirical knowledge of civil society, its nature, patterns and composition, its history, development, and relationships with the economy, the political system and society at large. A major focus of the journal is to encourage and inform the range of scholarships and approaches on civil society across disciplines and national as well as cultural boundaries.

Specifically, JCS welcomes research and contributions on the history and evolution of civil society in different world regions, at local and regional levels, types, forms and expressions of civil society, empirical work on structure and change of civil society, mapping the contours and dimensions of civil society, theoretical and conceptual studies, comparative analysis, inter and cross disciplinary approaches, policy analysis, institutions, community, social inequality, social inclusion, social justice, social and cultural capital, economy, governance and democracy.

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First National Workshop of the current phase in Turkey

Posted by civilsocietyindex on June 23, 2009

 Congratulations to TUSEV, who on June 19th held their Nationanl Workshop in Istanbul. This event represents the first National Workshop held in the new phase of implementation of the CSI programme, and the event was very well attended, with over 170 civil society and external stakeholders taking part in the event.  You can find more information about the workshop on their website (in the sidebar to the right).  You can also check out a picture of the event below.

National Workshop Turkey



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Diamonds Diamonds Diamonds!

Posted by civilsocietyindex on June 22, 2009

diamondsThe CSI team would like to acknowledge and celebrate the first three completed CSI diamonds from the current phase of implementation, from our partners in Armenia, Turkey and Slovenia.  They have conducted all of the primary research from the three surveys in the project (Population, External Perceptions and Organizational surveys), and the data has now been cleaned and analyzed, resulting in some interesting new CSI diamonds!

Keep up the good work, and we look forward to more data coming in from countries around the world!

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CSI Partner Profile of the week: Center for Studies of Civil Society and Non-for-profit Sector, Russia

Posted by civilsocietyindex on June 15, 2009

The CSI team would like to welcome the Center for Studies of Civil Society and Non-for-profit Sector from the Higher School of Economics (HSE) to the current implementation cycle of the CSI. They conducted the CSI Shortened Assessment Tool (SAT) in 2005, and we are now looking forward to working with them in implementing a full-scale version of the project in Russia.

The State University – Higher School of Economics (HSE) has acquired rich research experience in the sphere of civil society and non-for-profit sector studies. The leading role in this area belongs to Center for Studies of Civil Society and Non-for-profit Sector, created in 2009 on the basis of Laboratory for Studies of HSE Civil Society of the Center for Basic Research. During the years of its existence, the laboratory has established itself as a research center, an expert and consultative body, and a hub for civic education and awareness rising on matters pertaining to civil society.

The Center carried out interdisciplinary research on a wide array of civil society and non-profit sector issues in the field of sociology, economics, law, political science, and statistics. The scientific activity of the Center is open for active engagement of MA students from various HSE departments. Center’s projects are implemented by HSE professors and docents, research analysis from leading research institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian and international CSO experts and activists.

The Center organizes a series of seminars for scientific discussion and exchange of experience on civil society research, which regularly gathers representatives of expert community, authorities, non-for-profit organizations, donor community and other stakeholders. The statistical and sociological research materials and policy papers, prepared by the Center, fed into the annual reports of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on the state of civil society in Russia. Center’s research results are published in scientific monographs, leading scientific journals, widely discussed at roundtables, seminars and conferences, used in educational process.

The Center for Studies of Civil Society and Non-for-Profit Sector is tasked to:

  • To undertake activities on advancement of the system and mechanisms of CSOs and NGOs work on the basis of Russian and international best practice;
  • Provide expert support and participate in development of educational programs aimed at additional education and advanced vocational training of civil and municipal servants, NGO representatives;
  • Develop and implement civic education programs in the sense of public-non-for-profit, socially-oriented system of life-long learning and training/mentoring aimed at development of citizens’ competences, culture of democracy, socialization in the interests of personal development, civil society and rule of law; awareness rising on human rights, tolerance, social partnership matters, management of self-governing citizens’ associations;
  • Support to HSE faculties in organization of interactive and theoretical classes, development of educational curricula.

Center’s Management
Director– candidate of sciences in Sociology, Irina Mersiyanova.
Scientific Adviser– PhD in Economics, HSE first vice-rector Lev Jakobson

Contact person for the CSI:
Liliana Proskuryakova, Research Analyst
Center for International Projects, ISSEK/ HSE

Postal address:
Myasnitskaya, 20, office 501, Moscow, Russia, 101000

Phone/fax: Tel.:    +7 495 628-3106  , Fax: +7 495 625-03-67

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Request for content: e-CIVICUS’ Special Issue next week on ‘UN Conference on Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development’

Posted by civilsocietyindex on June 10, 2009

The June 19th edition of e-CIVICUS will focus on the three-day UN summit to be held in New York from 24 to 26 June 2009, the purpose of which is to assess the worst global economic downturn since the Great Depression.


If you want to contribute an article or comment for this Special Issue of eCIVICUS, please send your contributions to by 15 June 2009.

Both the English and French editions of e-CIVICUS will go out simultaneously next week, so that readers have enough time to read the Special Issue before the summit.

Thank you in advance for your contributions!

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Welcome to Bilal!

Posted by civilsocietyindex on June 4, 2009

welcomeThe CSI Secretariat in Johannesburg would like to welcome Bilal Aurang Zeb, who has joined the CSI team from Pakistan as a Country Support Person and M&E specialist.

Bilal possesses strong knowledge of working with international NGOs, UN Bodies, and donor agencies, and has more than five years of work experience with the Global Fund, United Nations, World Population Foundation, and the Commission on S&T for Sustainable Development in the South. He specializes in management of development projects including design; strategic and operational planning; implementation; as well as monitoring and evaluation.

You can find more information about Bilal, as well as profiles of all CSI staff here:

Welcome to the team, Bilal, and I am sure our partners will also be looking forward to interacting with you as well!

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Announcement on upcoming civil society-related UN conference

Posted by civilsocietyindex on June 2, 2009

Dear CIVICUS Member,

The United Nations (UN) was due to convene the World Conference on the Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development at the UN Headquarters in New York this week. However, the meeting has been postponed to 24 – 26 June 2009.

Registration to attend the UN Conference REMAINS open until Friday 5 June 2009!

Add your voice to the calls for reform of the international financial system.

Here is how you can YOU can be part of the SOLUTION and CHALLENGE discriminatory policies and practices :

1. Register to attend the UN Conference: Click here to register: before the new closing date of 5 June 2009. (This is not an event that CIVICUS is organising. Unfortunately, we are unable to assist our members in attending.)

2. For CIVICUS members who are not attending the Conference: Contribute your opinions and suggestions to support CIVICUS to state and amplify the position of civil society with regards to the UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis on Development. Send your inputs to Review the draft outcome document from the conference as a means of developing your position.

3. Appeal to YOUR Head of State: We urge you to write to your Head of State, Ministries of Finance, Trade, Development Cooperation, Commerce and Foreign Affairs to ensure that they attend the UN Conference and help strengthen the result of this global UN effort to address the global development agenda.

We thank all members for their interest in this conference. We look forward to receiving your inputs and helping to amplify your voice on this crucial matter of global concern. If you have any questions, please email 

Thank you.

In solidarity,

Ingrid Srinath
Secretary General
Tel:   27 11 833-5959

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
24 Gwigwi Mrwebi Street, Newtown, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa
PO Box 933, Southdale, Johannesburg, 2135, South Africa
tel   +27 11 833-5959   ∙ fax +27 11 833-7997
email  ∙ website:

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CSI Top Ten Interesting Facts of the Week

Posted by civilsocietyindex on June 1, 2009

top 1010. We are currently implementing in a total of 58 countries around the world

9. Of those 58 current implementers, 20 of them participated in the previous phase

8. A few countries are almost finished this new phase of implementation, including Zambia, Uruguay, Turkey, Bulgaria and Armenia— congratulations to you!

7. Bilial Aurang Zeb has just joined the team as a new Country Support and M&E Officer, and Katherine Langer has joined as an impact assessment intern

6. We are welcoming these two new team members as we kick off the new CSI impact assessment and evaluation— keep your eyes open for new updates and information about the impact of the CSI

5. The CSI blog gets an average of 35 hits per day and is getting great reviews. Thanks to all for your contributions and interactions, and keep those updates coming!

4. CSI is going to be represented at two regional ISTR conferences this year: one in Mexico in July, and one in Taiwan in November

3. We will be welcoming three new countries into the implementation in the coming months: Russia, Belarus and Sudan

2. The last country report of the previous phase of implementation has been finalized, from Burkina Faso. We will be letting you know on this blog and other CIVICUS arenas when the final version of their country report is published online

1. The CSI is growing, and we are in the process of recruiting another Programme Officer to help with country support and communications, a new research intern, as well as a new administrative assistant to support the work of the programme

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