A Brief History of the CSI
The history of the CSI project began in 1997 with the publication of the New Civic Atlas, which contained the profiles of civil society in sixty countries worldwide. The success of this publication and subsequent discussions led to a more structured framework for civil society analysis that would allow for cross-country comparison. After much debate, it was decided to develop a multi-dimensional model to measure the state of civil society in a country, and indicators were chosen to measure four major dimensions of civil society: the structure of civil society, the external environment in which civil society operates, the practice of values, and the impact of civil society in the country. These four dimensions then formed the axes for the visual representation of the data collected, the Civil Society Diamond, and a first version of the CSI methodology was born.
This new framework was put to the test in a pilot phase of fourteen countries in 2001. The implementation process and results were then evaluated and refined, and the first full implementation phase took place from 2003-2006 with fifty-three countries participating in the project, directly involving more than 7,000 civil society stakeholders. An interim phase using this version of the methodology was also implemented in early 2008 and sponsored by UNDP to focus on the state of civil society in six African countries.