CIVICUS Civil Society Index

An international action-research project by and for civil society

Archive for May, 2011

Guinea Civil Society: Between Activity and Impact

Posted by civilsocietyindex on May 17, 2011

CIVICUS is pleased to announce the publication of the Civil Society Index (CSI) Analytical Country Report from Guinea. The project was implanted in Guinea by the National Council for Civil Society Organisations in Guinea (CNOSGC), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and CIVICUS.

The CSI scores suggest amongst other things that overall, Guinean citizens have a fairly weak level of engagement in civil society actions, and that levels of citizen participation in civil society and the associational life of Guinea remain relatively low. This is due, the report suggests, either to a lack of knowledge about the notion of civil society and its role, or a lack of technical and financial resources to enable citizens to actively meet societal needs. Meanwhile the external environment dimension, assessing Guinea’s political and legal context, had the lowest score. This suggests that the Guinean state, relying on its political, constitutional and economic power, does not create a favorable environment for the development of civil society. It is important to note that during the CSI research process, the change of regime that occurred in 2009 will likely further affect the extent to which the Guinean environment enables civil society.

Some of the strengths of Guinean civil society highlighted in the report include the existence and diversity of CSOs, commitment by CSOs to their mandate to serve the vulnerable and poor, close proximity of CSOs to grassroots communities, and an effort to mainstream gender in programmes and policies. Weaknesses of civil society in Guinea include a poor understanding of the concept of civil society, political infiltration of some CSOs, low financial and human resource capacity, and an absence of self regulatory and transparency mechanisms.

Suggested recommendations endorsed by a national workshop held in Conakry on 9 April 2011 include developing a new national civil society communication and information network; instigating and adopting a new code of ethics; initiating a new advocacy strategy for the greater involvement of civil society in the development, implementation, funding, monitoring and evaluation of government policies and of decentralisation. They also suggested that the CSI study should be repeated periodically in order to track and assess trends and the direction of change in Guinean civil society.

To read the full report click here

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CSI Tanzania Report 2010

Posted by civilsocietyindex on May 11, 2011

CIVICUS is pleased to announce the publication of the Civil Society Index country report from Tanzania. The project was implemented in Tanzania by the Concern for Development Initiatives in Africa, ForDIA, with assistance from the United Nations Development Initiative (UNDP).

The implication of the report is that Tanzania civil society is growing and developing and is performing fairly well, but not strongly. While the structure of civil society is assessed as over the halfway mark, Tanzania recorded low scores for levels of non-partisan political action and CSO membership. Levels of self-regulation and participation in umbrella CSOs are also ranked low. Other challenges identified include inadequate resources, CSOs being largely urban based, lack of democratic leadership, and political interference in civil society activities as well as a lack of skilled personnel in the sector.  Strengths of the sector include the wide variety of CSOs covering a range of issues, promotion of joint advocacy efforts through umbrella organisations and political will from the government to recognise the activities of civil society.

Following the publication of the report in Tanzania, four national task teams have been set up to address the four dimensions covered by the CSI analysis: structure, environment, values and impact. Each team has five members, charged with developing a work plan and implementation strategy to address the weaknesses identified in the CSI report. With constitutional review underway in Tanzania, this process of strengthening civil society collaboration instigated by the CSI findings is timely.

To read the full report, click here

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Engaging Together for Real Change

Posted by civilsocietyindex on May 6, 2011

CIVICUS is pleased to announce the publication of the Civil Society Index country report from Senegal. The project was implemented in Senegal by Forum Civil, with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The report tells us that Senegalese civil society has strong values but a weak structure and the environment for its work are relatively weak. The study also shows that civil society has a noticeable impact on Senegalese democracy and the country’s development, but this too could be improved.

Values of collectivity and collective action are part of Senegalese culture, and it is upon these values that civil society can build its forces. Senegalese civil society has contributed towards improving good governance in the public sector at national and local levels. It has been working to strengthen democracy, to build a law abiding state and to promote human rights.

The generally recognised weaknesses of Senegalese CSOs are their lack of ability to plan, monitor financial management, sustain human resources and follow up their programmes and actions. Civil society promotes transparency but does not sufficiently practice what it preaches. Above all, CSOs have shown themselves little able to work in synergy on a long term basis in order to combine their forces and attack the problems of the Senegalese people. There are also weaknesses in the mobilisation of the population in the long term so as to ensure CSO impacts.

Nevertheless, the report identifies that a new generation of civil society members is present today. This generation wants to play a role in the political context, the equal sharing of resources, prevention and handling of conflicts, instilling a law abiding state and enabling efficient citizen participation in managing affairs that affect their lives. Senegalese youth wishes to take its country’s destiny into its own hands, and it is notably very critical of leadership examples and the working of state structures, even of civil society structures.

To read the full report click here

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