CIVICUS Civil Society Index

An international action-research project by and for civil society

Posts Tagged ‘Meetings’

AGENDA Launches Civil Society Index CSI Report

Posted by civilsocietyindex on April 6, 2011

Actions for genuine Democratic Alternatives AGENDA have launched the Civil Society Index CSI Report on Liberia.
The CSI is a multi-dimensional action oriented research that a the Liberian Civil Society fewer than five dimensions: Civic Engagement, Level of organization, Practice of Value, perception of Impact, and External Environment.
The research implores series of tools including; focus group discussion, three population surveys, external actions civil society, coupled with the desk review of civil society literature and a national workshop.
The nine month project was funded by Trust Africa based in Dakar in Senegal, Humanity United based in California the USA, and CIVICUS- World Alliance based in South Africa. Guidance for the project came from a 20 member advisory committee which included members of Civil Society organizations, Private Sector, multinational organizations, international organizations and government agencies. The overall objectives o0f the Project was to establish an existence of an active and effective national and international platforms for knowledge based actions for strengthen of civil society.
The launch which coincided with the third anniversary celebration of AGENDA took place at a dinner held at a local hotel in Monrovia and brought together a cross section of civil society actors, government representatives, the business community, and the media.
AGENDA is a collaboration of local and international activists working together to promote citizen’s participation in the governance process

Read more…

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WORLD SOCIAL FORUM 2011: CIVIL SOCIETY DISCUSS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN AFRICA

Posted by civilsocietyindex on March 3, 2011

By Abubacarr Saidykhan, Dakar- Senegal

At the 11th Edition of the World Social Forum in Dakar- Senegal, within the campus of Cheikh Anta Diop University and at the section responsible for the faculty of Science- Economy, a civil society organisation, CIVICUS, an International alliance dedicated to strengthening citizens’ action and civil society throughout the world organised a workshop for civil society members to discuss the way forward for the civil society and human right Defenders in all African countries.

In a presentation during the gathering, it was informed that the last few years and especially in 2009 and 2010 have been particularly hard for civil society and human right defenders. It is said that negative global trends that began soon after 9/11 have come to a head as governments continued to encroach on fundamental freedoms through harsh security measures and other legal and policy restrictions.

As highlighted by the civil society watchdog groups in the session, the UN human rights bodies and other close observers confirmed that the trend began soon after the 9/11 when the UN Security Council Resolution 1373 call on all UN member states to take concrete steps to tackle terrorism. The delegates believe that the intention behind the resolution to protect innocent civilians and state structures from mindless acts of terrorism may have been sound, but the negative consequences on fundamental freedoms, including the rights of civil society actors have been devastating as governments used the climate of fear to dilute civil liberties, reduce personal privacy, lower trial standard and restrict the free movement of people across borders. Moreover, the delegates believed that the ability of citizens and civil society to express democratic dissent has been severely curtailed through a clampdown on the freedoms of expression, association and assembly in the global north as well as the south.

Speaking on behalf of his organisation, David Kode, the Policy Officer for CIVICUS: World Alliance For Citizen Participation in South Africa, who gave an overview of the whole discussion said, CIVICUS has experienced a trend over the years which is dangerous. She said there is an attack on civil society organisations in many ways in Africa. He said there are six major ways in which Governments attack on civil organisations in their promulgations of laws and regulations. He said intimidation and harassment of human right activists was one of the ways used by governments to get rid of civil society organisations. He said the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon also assured them of the importance of the role played by civil society organisations despite the threats involved.

Megan MacGarry Convening Officer for CIVICUS International in Johannesburg South Africa noted that many things are getting worse for civil society members in Africa. She said there are lots of evidence that clearly show the difficulties encountered by civil society activists. She said in India the fundamental rights of her people are controlled by the Government; adding that they need real laws to make their work smooth.

Bhekinkosi Moyo the Program Director of Trust Africa from South Africa and base in Senegal, who talked about the Civil Society Role in Africa , said the main role of the civil societies is to see the issues of democratic governance. He said as civil society campaigners, they understand the whole issues of harassment before starting the campaign. He said the attack on the civil organisation is not only done by government, but also private society. He said it is unfortunate that our brothers as our own government officials used most of these undemocratic intimidations against us in our own countries.

He said right to association, assembly and to expression are all rights that need not to be registered before operations, noting that having an open society in any country is of a paramount interest. He said the role of journalists, Human right Defenders is to call on government to be accountable and also to be transparent in issues that are directly dealing with the lives of the people. He said many governments see the civil society as a threat to government functions; noting that there should be always dialogue between these two groups.

 

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Chile Holds Second Advisory Committee Meeting

Posted by civilsocietyindex on January 4, 2011

The CSI partner in Chile held their second and final National Advisory Committee meeting for the CSI implementation project.

The project is being implemented in Chile by Fundacion Soles, with the sponsorship and support of the Bicentenary Commission.  The agenda of the meeting focused on examining the issues related to ‘changes that civil society can achieve in the national context in which it operates.’

The Soles Foundation is a non profit organisation that not only focuses on research but also strives to develop an “equitable and solidarity based society.”

To read more about the advisory committe meeting and the partner organisation, click here

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CIVICUS and CSI to attend the upcoming Black Sea NGO Forum: 21- 23 October 2010 in Constanta, Romania

Posted by civilsocietyindex on October 20, 2010

By Megan MacGarry

CIVICUS and the CSI team here at the Secretariat in Johannesburg are delighted to announce that Mariano De Donatis, the new Manager for the Convening Unit at CIVICUS, will be attending the upcoming Third edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum to be held on 21-23 October 2010 in Constanta, Romania. This will be hosted by the Romanian Federation of Development NGOs (FOND).  The Black Sea NGO Forum was launched in 2008 by FOND and its partners throughout the region with support from the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation in the framework of the Black Sea Synergy. It has continued in 2009 in cooperation with the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission and the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation.

The Forum aims at increasing the level of dialogue and coordination among NGOs, as well as strengthening the advocacy capacity for NGOs in order to influence development strategies in the region. It gathers NGOs from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, other EU member states and important actors in the wider Black Sea Region. The first two editions of the Forum knowledge that took place in this region, which is extremely complex from a political point of view, showed that cooperation among NGOs from the civil society represents a real potential for stability and prosperity in the wider Black Sea region.

The 2010 agenda will dedicate a space for sharing governmental actors, international institutions and donors’ perspectives, assessments and experiences, introducing their programs and interacting with NGO representatives in the search of common solutions to regional and local problems.

There are two specific sessions on the Forum’s agenda that will be of specific interest for the CSI partners and researchers. These two sessions will be continuing work that was started by various Black Sea Region CSI partners who held a very interactive session at the International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR) that took place in July in Istanbul, Turkey. This was led by TUSEV from Turkey, a current and former CSI implementer, along with numerous other Black Sea representatives, both CSI active or non, all supported by the Black Sea Trust, a part of the German Marshall Fund.

At the upcoming NGO Forum, various partners from this original workshop will also continue the work started in Istanbul, with various other CSI partners attending the Forum.

Numerous previous and current CSI country implementers are planning two separate events as a follow up to the Istanbul event:

1)       Open space panel on “Democracy and Citizen Participation” to discuss and work on an action plan / collection of regional cooperation ideas for the “Civic Participation” dimension of our exercise in Istanbul.

2)      Open space panel on “Challenges for the Independence of the Civil Society” panel where we can work on “Government – Civil Society Relations” dimension by suggesting some additional topics.

Mariano will be participating in these events, to lead on issues of CSI implementation, but also to follow on the very interesting Black Sea regional discussions and developments that are currently occurring. There is scope for new and exciting partnerships and networks to emerge from these discussions and interactions throughout the Forum. We both in the CSI team and CIVICUS, look forward to feedback and insights that will emerge as a result of this exciting and in-depth regional event. We congratulate our partners on this initiative and wish all participants of the Forum the best of luck in their upcoming discussions and interactions to take place over the next few days.

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LTA Webinar: Ways to ensure Downward Accountability

Posted by civilsocietyindex on September 15, 2010

 

CIVICUS Webinar:  

Ways to ensure Downward Accountability

  21 September 2010, 14:00h CET

  

CIVICUS would like to invite you to participate in an interactive webinar entitled Ways to ensure Downward Accountability. This is the third session in a monthly webinar series on Legitimacy, Transparency and Accountability issues.

This monthly webinar series will bring experts and CSOs together to share their stories of implementing accountability initiatives. One of the major challenges organisations that are trying to address their own internal accountability issues tell us about is that there is a lack of support and information to put accountability principles into practice. We hope this webinar series will build CSOs knowledge and ability to implement activities within their own organisation and networks.

Session 3: Ways to ensure Downward Accountability
This session will address some of the commonly asked questions about who civil society organisations are accountable to and how do we involve our stakeholders in our work. How do CSOs gain credibility and legitimacy to speak on behalf of civil society, and in turn hold governments to account?

Keystone Accountability will describe some of the “best practice” recommendations for how civil society organizations can be accountable to the people who are meant to benefit from their work in ways that (a) improve results on the ground and (b) generate new financial support.

The Cooperation Committee of Cambodia has facilitated the process of development of the Code of Ethical Principles and Minimum Standards for NGOs in Cambodia. They will illustrate how this code ensures public trust in the integrity of the individuals and organisations that make up the NGO sector, as well as the effectiveness of NGO programmes.

Future sessions in the series will look at financial transparency; measuring impact as a key component of accountability; and achieving legitimacy in a restricted civil society environment.

For more information and to register, contact Adele at adele.poskitt@civicus.org.

Participants will need to have internet and telephone connection. Everyone will be given a link to a website and will be able to view the presentation online simultaneously. Participants will interact using the telephone via an international freephone telephone number that will be provided. CIVICUS will cover any costs incurred by participants.


About the presenters of Session 3:

David Bonbright, Chief Executive, Keystone Accountability (UK)
David is founder and Chief Executive of Keystone. Over the past three decades, as a grantmaker and manager with Aga Khan Foundation, Ford Foundation, Oak Foundation, and Ashoka, David has sought to evolve and test innovative approaches to strengthening citizen self-organization for sustainable development as an alternative to prevailing bureaucratic, top-down models of social service delivery and social value creation.

In the early 1990s, he founded and led two African citizen sector resource centers: one relating to organizational development (the Development Resources Centre, Johannesburg) and one relating to information and technology (SANGONeT, Johannesburg). Trained as a lawyer, David has authored and co-authored a number of reports and books on the subject of philanthropy in Pakistan, indigenous philanthropy and public entrepreneurship. He sits on the boards, advisory councils and knowledge networks and is the new elected Chair of the Board of CIVICUS.

 Vicente S. Salas, Program Development Advisor, CCC (Cambodia)
Vicente S. Salas is currently working on the NGO Good Practice Project (NGO GPP), a Voluntary Certification System for NGOs in Cambodia. He is a freelance consultant in Public Health, HIV/AIDS and NGO Governance issues. Formerly worked as Senior Program Officer for South & South East Asia at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, UK (2000-2006), Program Manager at UNDP Philippines, (1996-2000), Founding Executive Director of the Philippine HIV/AIDS NGO Support Program and Senior Medical Officer for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Vietnam, Thailand and the former Yugoslavia. Dr Salas holds a degree in Medicine and was trained in Family and Community Medicine at the University of the Philippines/Philippine General Hospital. He has a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University, Maryland.

 Adele Poskitt, Senior Legitimacy, Transparency and Accountability Officer, CIVICUS
Adele is a UK citizen currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has over 5 years experience of policy, advocacy and programme work on governance and anti-corruption initiatives. She has an in-depth knowledge of civil society participation in governance mechanisms and has spoken at international conferences including the UN Convention against Corruption Conference of State Parties. Prior to joining CIVICUS, Adele worked at Christian Aid in London and the Christian Council of Ghana in Accra. She holds a MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, a BA from University of Durham, UK, and is currently studying an LLM.

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‘Civil Society: only the clampdown is transparent’:

Posted by civilsocietyindex on September 13, 2010

Too little partnership and too little space for civil society is marring progress on the Millennium Development Goals

 

In light of the upcoming meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) to be held in New York later this month, Ingrid Srinath (secretary general of CIVICUS) and Mandeep Tiwana (Policy manager at CIVICUS) have co-written an article that speaks to the role of civil society in the context of the history and future of the MGSs. The article speaks to the role that civil societies have played in working towards achieving the MDGs and the difficulties that they have faced in that regard. Difficulties including ‘restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly’ which they point out are a key part of the role of civil societies. These difficulties have been documented by CIVICUS in 2009 and they are growing in number form year to year.

Srinath and Tiwana point out that the upcoming meeting should seek to address these difficulties as they severely affect the efforts being made to achieve the MDGs by the 2015 deadline. 

The meeting will take place from 20-22 September 2010 in New York 

To read the full article, click here

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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 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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Belarus delegation visits Cyprus CSI

Posted by civilsocietyindex on December 14, 2009

From October 24 to October 28 2009, a delegation of Belarusian government representatives, parliamentarians and civil society representatives involved in implementation of the Civil Society Index visited the Republic of Cyprus to exchange experiences and learning with Cypriot implementers of the project and supporters of civil society. During the five day trip, the delegation worked with partners on plans for greater future collaboration.

Made possible with the support of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) office in Minsk and with the assistance of CIVICUS, the trip enabled project staff from the Support Centre for Associations and Foundations (SCAF) and members of the CSI Advisory Committee in Belarus to meet and exchange ideas with representatives from Cypriot government and the CSI implementers in Cyprus, the Management Centre of the Mediterranean and the NGO Support Centre.

Highlights of the trip for the Belarus delegation included a roundtable discussion with representatives from Cypriot NGOs  and Mr Constantinos Stylianou, Head of the Cyprus Youth Board. The roundtable explored best practices in youth work and possibilities for closer cooperation between youth NGOs in Cyprus and Belarus. By the end of the meeting, participants had committed to developing an Agreement of Cooperation between youth umbrella organisations in the two countries.

The Belarus delegation also had the opportunity to get practical tips on implementation of the Civil Society Index from Ms Lorraine Marriott, CSI project coordinator with the Management Centre of the Mediterranean, and Mr Michalis Avraam, Executive Director of the NGO Support Centre, as well as sharing their own perspectives.

The 5-member Belarusian delegation included:

  • Alexandr Yushkevich (Civil Society Index Advisory Committee): Member of the Belarus Parliament, Chairperson of the Belarus Association of Youth NGOs and member of the Civil Society Advisory Council to the Belarus Presidential Administration.
  • Yury Tsaryk (Civil Society Index Researcher): Information and Analytical Centre at the Presidential Administration
  • Oleg Slizhevsky (Civil Society Index Advisory Committee): Head of the NGO Department, Belarus Ministry of Justice
  • Iouri Zagoumennov (Civil Society Index Project Coordinator): Director of the Support Centre for Associations and Foundations (SCAF) and member of the Civil Society Advisory Council to the Belarus Presidential Administration.
  • Svetlana Senko (OSCE Office in Minsk)

 

Click here to visit the website of the Support Centre for Associations and Foundations (SCAF), CSI implementers in Belarus.

You can also visit the website of the Management Centre of the Mediterranean and the NGO Support Centre, CSI implementers in Cyprus.

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Research seminar held in Russia on CSI findings

Posted by civilsocietyindex on November 27, 2009

On November 18 2009, the Civil Society Index national coordinating organisation in Russia – the State University Higher School of Economics Centre for Civil Society Studies – convened a research seminar entitled “The Civil Society Index in Russia: Methodology and Research Results”.

Director of the Centre, Ms Irena Mersiyanova

Led by Director of the Centre Irina Mersiyanova and project coordinator Liliana Proskuryakova, the seminar discussed the methodology used, the initial quantitative data so far collected and the 67 indicators about the state of civil society derived from this data. Participants also discussed how the methodology used in the CSI project had changed since implementation of the project during the first phase in 2003-2006, as well as how future changes to the methodology at the end of this phase might better enable international comparability.

Participants in discussion during the seminar

The seminar, participated in by researchers, students, civil society representatives, donors and government authorities, forms part of  an active communication and engagement strategy by the SU-HSE – a key component of implementing the CSI project at the national level.

The SU-HSE will now move onwards towards completion of the project implementation and is due to convene its full National Workshop on December 11 2009, where a wide range of actors will engage with the findings and look to take forward their recommendations by developing concrete action plans.

To read more about the research seminar (Russian only), click here.

To visit the SU-HSE website, click here.

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