CIVICUS Civil Society Index

An international action-research project by and for civil society

Posts Tagged ‘CEE region’

CIVICUS Statement on the Civil Society Index in Belarus

Posted by civilsocietyindex on November 12, 2010

On 1 November 2010, CIVICUS reported through its Civil Society Index (CSI) blog at https://civilsocietyindex.wordpress.com on the activities of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index partner in Belarus, the Support Centre for Associations and Foundations (SCAF). CIVICUS erroneously gave the impression that SCAF were creating a human rights platform as a part of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index project. CIVICUS would now appreciate the opportunity to apologise for any confusion caused, and to set the record straight through providing a clarification.

The CIVICUS Civil Society Index is a distinct project with a pre-defined methodology. This methodology is implemented in partnership between CIVICUS and partners in roughly 40 countries around the world. CIVICUS selects its partners carefully, drawing on a range of pre-determined criteria, and has generally good relationships with its partners. CIVICUS does not fund Civil Society Index implementing partners in implementation of the project, except in rare cases through the management of external seed grant funds. CIVICUS does not currently provide funding to SCAF.

The CSI methodology implemented by partner organisations involves, towards the end of the project, a National Workshop. At this National Workshop, CSI partners are asked to convene a process ensuring that there is geographic and inclusive representation. The objectives of the national workshop are (1) to reflect upon the CSI findings at the national level and (2) to begin to plan actions geared towards strengthening civil society. CIVICUS asks as part of the CSI project that it is involved from an early stage in providing feedback on the design of the agenda and workshop to ensure that it meets key methodological principles and standards.

On 9 November 2010, the CIVICUS CSI team learned for the first time from SCAF that the National Workshop was due to be hosted on 14 November 2010. Despite regular communication with partners, CIVICUS had not by 12 November 2010 been able to ascertain the exact nature of this workshop, nor the participants, agenda, or whether there would be sufficient CSI findings available to achieve the two key objectives. CIVICUS hopes and expects that by 14 November 2010, these will have been established in full alignment with the CSI project.    

Although the Civil Society Index is an action research project, the project stops short of involvement in the follow-up actions themselves. It does usually encourage the development of these, however, it is very rarely involved in their design or implementation. CIVICUS is therefore not currently involved in any follow-up activities or projects with SCAF in Belarus, aside from the Civil Society Index. Specifically, CIVICUS is not involved in the design or implementation of a human rights platform with SCAF, and is pleased to be able to clear up any associated confusion.

CIVICUS appreciates the significant difficulties inherent in convening successful and inclusive multi-stakeholder processes in challenging environments in which civil society may be divided. CIVICUS highly values its diverse existing partnerships and relationships, and continues to seek to play, as far as possible, a positive and constructive bridging role. Finally, CIVICUS would like to reaffirm its commitment to the successful implementation of the CSI project, including a constructive and inclusive National Workshop.

For any further queries, please contact Mark Nowottny, CIVICUS Civil Society Index Project Coordinator, at mark.nowottny@civicus.org.

Click on the links below to access original statements and reactions from Belarusian civil society.

Statement 1

Statement 2

Statement 3

Statement 4

Response to original CIVICUS CSI blog post

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Building understanding in Georgia

Posted by civilsocietyindex on May 19, 2010

On March 26 the Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development (CIPDD) organised a National Workshop in the framework of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index in Georgia.

The National Workshop aimed at building a common understanding of the current state of civil society and a joint action agenda for civil society strengthening initiatives.

At the workshop, CIPDD presented results of the conducted research. Participants worked in small groups and afterwards presented results of their joint work in the plenary sessions. 

 The event was organized in the office of the Open Society Georgia – Foundation.

 

Click here to check out the original story and the website of the CSI partners in Georgia, the Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development (CIPDD).

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Armenian and Turkish civil society come together

Posted by civilsocietyindex on April 12, 2010

On 8 April, Counterpart International Armenia and the Third Sector Foundation of Turkey (TUSEV) convened a highly significant workshop as part of the Cross Border Cooperation Initiative, supported by USAID and the Black Sea Trust. During the meeting, representatives from both countries came together within the framework of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index project to discuss and reflect upon the findings within each other’s countries. Participants also took the opportunity to identify similarities, differences and areas for possible collaboration.

 

Turkish and Armenian civil society participants work with each other during the Cross Border Initiative meeting

Below, watch what Ingrid Srinath, Secretary General of CIVICUS, had to say to participants at the historic workshop in her video message:

On 9 April, the following day, Counterpart International Armenia held their National Workshop. The National Workshop is a crucial component of the Civil Society Index project, and provides an opportunity for representatives from across society, including CSOs, government, the private sector, academia and the media, to reflect on and learn from the CSI findings, and strategise for action initiatives to strengthen civil society.

Participants discuss action to strengthen civil society at the Armenia National Workshop

Below, watch what Ingrid Srinath, Secretary General of CIVICUS, had to say to National Workshop participants in her video message ahead of the meeting:

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Secretary General praises Counterpart International Armenia and TUSEV

Posted by civilsocietyindex on April 6, 2010

In the latest edition of CIVICUS’ weekly newsletter, e-CIVICUS no. 481, Ingrid Srinath, the Secretary General of CIVICUS, draws special attention in her editorial to the work of Counterpart International Armenia and the Third Sector Foundation of Turkey (TUSEV), CSI partners in Armenia and Turkey respectively, to build bridges through  the Cross Border Cooperation Initiative.  

Click here to read the full editorial.

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Albania reflects on CSI findings

Posted by civilsocietyindex on March 9, 2010

The quantitative findings of the Civil Society Index project in Albania, captured in the CSI diamond, initiated discussions about the state, strengths and weaknesses of civil society in Albania at the end of February and early March.

In a series of three focus groups organised by the Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM), the CSI implementing partner in Albania, participants in Shkoder (22nd February), in Vlore (26 February) and in Elbasan (3 March) engaged in discussion about the five dimensions along which the CSI assesses the state of civil society: civic engagement, perception of impact, level of organisation, practice of values and environment.

In all the meetings, participants were quick to underline the CSI’s finding that CSOs continue to face transparency issues and that there are challenges in achieving impact. Interestingly, participants also underlined the CSI finding that citizens are most keen to do voluntary work for political parties, in spite of having the least trust in them.

The discussions from the focus group will now inform and contribute to the final analytical country report which will be presented to the National Workshop in draft form in coming months.

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Malta project picks up pace

Posted by civilsocietyindex on March 5, 2010

Implementation of the Civil Society Index project in Malta has accelerated in recent weeks. On Thursday 25 February, representatives from different sectors – including civil society, academia, the media and government – came together for the first meeting of the Advisory Committee in the country. Participants discussed their perceptions of the strengths and weaknesses of civil society in Malta.  Participants also validated the definition of civil society adopted by the project, as well as discussing and beginning to identify some of the areas to be investigated by case studies.

The People for Change Foundation, the CSI implementing partner, are now advancing quickly with the implementation of the research activities, and have already gathered much of the required data from the Organisational Survey, one of the three survey tools which the CSI project uses to help generate the CSI ‘diamond’, a visual representation of the state of national civil society.

You can find out more about the implementation of the Civil Society Index in Malta by clicking here to visit the People for Change Foundation’s CSI website.

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Creating space for cooperation: Counterpart Armenia heads to Turkey

Posted by civilsocietyindex on March 2, 2010

Following a video update last week, this week Counterpart International Armenia, CIVICUS’ partners implementing the Civil Society Index, report in more detail on the Cross-Border Initiative.

On February 18, 2010, an unprecedented step was made in Turkish-Armenian civil society cooperation. A group from Counterpart International Armenia travelled to Istanbul, Turkey, for a two-day working meeting with the Third Sector Foundation of Turkey, or TUSEV. The trip was the first activity in the Cross-Border Cooperation Initiative, a continuation of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index (CSI), generously supported by USAID and the Black Sea Trust. While Counterpart Armenia is implementing the CSI in Armenia, TUSEV is carrying it out in Turkey. The goal of the Cross-Border project is to compare Turkish and Armenian civil societies, find similarities and differences, and create future opportunities for cooperation between organisations on the two sides of the border. 

The working meeting at TUSEV addressed many important issues. The two organisations first presented their research findings in the framework of the CSI, discussed similarities and differences in the civil societies of each country and discovered areas in which they can share experiences and learn from each other.

The two teams set the framework for the future activities to take place within this initiative. The structures and formats for the outputs of the project, the comparative study and the joint workshop were discussed and agreed upon. The next steps include carrying out the joint comparative study of the two civil societies and a reciprocal visit by the Turkish CSI National Implementation Team to Yerevan in April 2010, to attend Counterpart Armenia’s National Civil Society Conference. During this Conference, a joint workshop will be held dedicated to the Cross-Border Cooperation Initiative.

Counterpart was also able to meet with representatives from many Turkish CSOs that are working with Armenian organisations such as the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV), the Hrant Dink Foundation, Agos, and the Bahçeşehir University. During these meetings other cross-border projects were discussed and many areas for future cooperation were identified.

Looking beyond this Initiative, both organisations are hopeful that the activities carried out within its framework will lead to more opportunities for interaction and cooperation between Turkish and Armenian CSOs.

Below, watch a feature video produced by Counterpart International Armenia on the initiative

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Armenia and Turkey working together in Istanbul

Posted by civilsocietyindex on February 23, 2010

Lusine, CSI project coordinator in Armenia, talks about the new cross-border initiative being conducted by Counterpart International Armenia and TUSEV within the framework of the Civil Society Index. Supported by the Black Sea Trust and USAID, the initiative brings together civil society in Armenia and Turkey.

Last week, representatives from Armenia visited TUSEV offices in Istanbul and met with key civil society organisations, as well as identifying the strengths, weaknesses, outcomes and findings of CSI implementation in the two countries.

You can also check out further updates on Counterpart International Armenia’s Facebook page:

Lusine from Counterpart International Armenia and Zeynep from TUSEV in conversation about what the intiative means for cooperation between CSOs in the two countries. Click here (Facebook only).

Arsen from Counterpart International speaks about what’s been going on during the meetings, and reflects on some of the key CSI findings and comparisons between the two countries. Click here (Facebook only).

On the first day of the Istanbul trip, Lusine introduces the initiative and some of her hopes for the week ahead. Click here (Facebook only).

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Armenia Advisory Committee convenes for second time

Posted by civilsocietyindex on January 11, 2010

On 8th December 2009, Counterpart International Armenia, implementing partners of the Civil Society Index (CSI) in Armenia, convened the second meeting of the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee is composed of representatives from civil society, government, the private sector, media and academia who, in addition to their supportive oversight function, also act as ambassadors for the CSI project.

During the meeting, members of the Advisory Committee compared the ‘perception diamond’ – their expectations of the state of civil society, prepared prior to the project research – with the final CSI diamond which Counterpart International Armenia has now produced from the quantitative data generated through the CSI.

The discussion, which added depth and richness to the findings so far, will now contribute to the qualitative analysis offered in Armenia’s final country report.

You can view videos on other CSI activities undertaken by Counterpart International Armenia by clicking here.

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CIVICUS Deputy Secretary General addresses Russian CSI stakeholders

Posted by civilsocietyindex on December 17, 2009

On Friday 11 December 2009, Katsuji Imata, Deputy Secretary General responsible for Programmes at CIVICUS, addressed CSI stakeholders in Moscow, Russia. Mr Imata spoke as part of a wider discussion of an enlarged advisory council meeting for comparative civil society projects (the CIVICUS Civil Society Index (CSI) and the John Hopkins project).

The session, organised by the Center for Studies of Civil Society and Nonprofit Sector (CSCSNS) of the State University – Higher School of Economics, was held as part of a larger conference on Social Partnership and Development of Civil Society Organisations – Experience of Russia’s Regions and Municipalities.

The three hour advisory council meeting was attended by about 40 participants, including representatives from national and regional governments, nongovernmental organisations and researchers and students. During the meeting, Director of CSCSNS Irina Mersiyanova presented the findings of the Civil Society Index in Russia, discussing each dimension of the CSI diamond and introducing comparisons with other countries such as Armenia, Turkey and Zambia.

 

As part of the session, Mr Imata spoke on the role of CIVICUS in facilitating implementation of the Civil Society Index. In the lively discussion that followed, he went on to outline the importance of such spaces for reflection and discussion among different stakeholders, and suggested that there is a continued need to create an enabling environment for the sector. With international comparability one of the components of the CSI, Mr Imata stressed the value of comparing among countries the many common challenges faced by organisations in the sector, despite operating within very different political and social contexts.

Click here to visit the website of the CSI implementing partner in Russia, the Center for Studies of Civil Society and Nonprofit Sector (CSCSNS).

Click here and here to read the news stories about the AC meeting at the national conference (Russian only).

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