Domestically engaged, internationally, not: The state of Liberian civil society
Posted by civilsocietyindex on January 11, 2011
Over 55% of Liberian citizens are actively engaged in civic life, a percentage that can be considered quite progressive for a country less than 10 years out of a civil war. This result, which came out of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index (CSI) report for Liberia released this week, illustrates a strength for Liberian civil society to address the many challenges the country faces.
Yet, not all results from the CSI report were as positive: the report also highlights the isolation of Liberian civil society. Only 2.7% of civil society in Liberia is linked or connected to the international community. The number is even lower when looking at civil society organisations (CSOs) outside the Liberian capital of Monrovia. Lack of funding and poor access to information and communication technologies mean that Liberian CSOs operate in close to complete isolation from the international civil society and development communities.
Despite this, and other challenges facing Liberia’s civil society, the report highlights remarkable successes in its ability to effectively influence public policy. The CSI report also provides evidence that civil society space in post-conflict Liberia may broaden, ensuring that citizens are given increased room and opportunity to contribute to policy and decision-making.
The CSI, coordinated by CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, is an action-research project designed to increase knowledge on the state of civil society at the national level in order to develop strategies for action and improvement. In Liberia, the CSI National Implementing Team, coordinated by AGENDA and with financial support from TrustAfrica and Humanity United, compiled the report, entitled ‘Beyond Numbers: An Assessment of the Liberian Civil Society. A Report on the CIVICUS Civil Society Index 2010’. AGENDA’s implementation of the project is the first in the West African country.
CIVICUS would like to commend all those who were involved in the implementation of the CSI and the publication of the Analytical Country Report in Liberia.
Click here for the full report.