CIVICUS Civil Society Index

An international action-research project by and for civil society

A Snapshot of Civil Society in Mexico

Posted by civilsocietyindex on March 30, 2011

CIVICUS is pleased to announce the publication of the Analytical Country Report on the state of civil society in Mexico. The CSI was implemented in Mexico by Centro Mexicano Para La Filantropía CEMEFI and Iniciativa Ciudadana para la Promoción de la Cultura del Diálogo.

The report tells us that the complex development of civil society in Mexico has been marked by the political and social dynamics created by institutions as well as the unwritten rules of the party that governed for more than 70 years. Certain events have helped characterise the current state of Mexican civil society, such as the student movement of 1968, citizens’ efforts after the 1985 Mexico City earthquake and especially the movement surrounding the right to clean elections and multi-party democracy. This has enabled the consolidation of a sector that is diverse in its causes as well as in its internal dynamics and the mechanisms of its interaction with other actors.

In the case of Mexico, there is greater realisation of the Practice of Values and a weaker presence of Civic Engagement. Meanwhile, the values for the Level of Organisation and Perception of Impact are very similar. The fifth dimension, the External Environment, is represented by a circle that surrounds the diamond. It shows a potential for growth in civil society in accordance with the current conditions of the country.

Compared to previous decades Mexico has a better environment for enabling stable growth of civil society, although this is impeded by recent worsening conditions of personal insecurity, which will undoubtedly have a direct effect on the sector’s structure in the coming years.

Taking into account the dimensions that make up the diamond, it is clear that in spite of some perceptions shared at focus groups, at the national level Mexican civil society has the possibility of strengthening. The Civic Engagement dimension indicated the need to build up social capital with knowledge and interest in social causes, but also proved that Mexican society engages at the grassroots in social concerns that promote its personal and spiritual development. As to the Level of Organisation, it can be seen that citizens are capable of generating actions in special cases to develop a solution to a pressing problem, and that for such purposes it is not always necessary to create a formal organisation. Practice of Values was the dimension recording the highest scores, however, the standardisation of CSO practices and the codes governing them should be considered. Finally, regarding Perceived Impact, in spite of the existence of successful cases related to CSOs achieving impact on policies, there is still a need to create new mechanisms of influence to enable organisations to impact the public sphere more.

To read the full report, click here

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