CIVICUS Civil Society Index

An international action-research project by and for civil society

Is Civil Society Dying a Slow Death?

Posted by civilsocietyindex on September 21, 2010

– Written by Sinqobile Dube, CSI Support Officer –

The recession has come and gone, or is still lurking in the shadows, who knows. Some are still feeling its after-effects, some lost their lives and some made billions of out it. The question is: what damage did the recession do to Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)?

A known fact is that CSOs cannot strive without the support of donors like the FORD Foundation, SIDA, CIDA, NORAD, and IRISH AID just to name a few, bearing in mind that these were also hit by the elusive giant called recession. This in turn resulted in a number of these donors pulling out of some, if not all CSOs’ funding. CSOs are drying up fast, caught up in a desert without any oasis in sight. Since the wells are drying up faster than anyone can keep up,

  • Who will bail CSOs out?
  • Which direction will take the agenda of CSOs?
  • How can CSOs make sure that their voices are heard at a minimum cost?
  • Are the growing accountability efforts among CSOs effective enough?
  • How civil can society be without the voice of CSOs?

Already some members of the civil society arena have been forced to close down. This is the time to take stock of your own CSO to make sure that it has the funds and vision to sustain its agenda and growth for another decade. We can work together to ensure the sustainability of civil society without losing what we have achieved so far. We have the potential to face the ongoing hazards while ensuring that our voices are still heard. It is in our hands to make the change that we want in this world. It is in our hands to work together as one for this change to be as effective as we have always dreamed. Let’s keep in mind the echoing voices of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Teresa. In the context of the United Nations MDG Summit in New York, and the coming GCAP and Open Forum Global Assemblies, let’s push the agenda forward and speak up, now more than ever.

“The liberties of our society, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks”. Samuel Adams

Amandla ngawethu: It’s in our hands!

– Sinqobile Dube –

Ingrid Srinath, CIVICUS Secretary General and CEO, and Mandeep Tiwana, CIVICUS Policy Manager, are attending the United Nations High-level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals from 20 to 22 September 2010 in New York.

Katsuji Imata, CIVICUS Programmes Deputy Secretary General, will attend the Global Call to Action Against Poverty Global Assembly from 23 to 25 September in New York. He will then attend the Open Forum Global Assembly from 28 to 30 September in Istanbul, Turkey.


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