CIVICUS Civil Society Index

An international action-research project by and for civil society

Posts Tagged ‘National Workshop’

Bulgaria National Workshop

Posted by civilsocietyindex on April 7, 2011

05 April 2011

Our Bulgaria CSI partner held their national workshop in Bulgaria to present their finding s on Bulgarian civil society as reported in the analytical country report for the CSI project in Bulgaria. Low trust in CSOs, weak links between the CSOs and the citizens; limited abilities to influence decisions and policy-making are the persistent traits of civil society development in Bulgaria

In the report discussed today, the most popular form of civic engagement proves to be sending SMS for a campaign. In addition, it appears that the citizens see the authentic voice of civil society through informal activist groups rather that the NGO.

The main findings of the report were presented by Desislava Hristova, the National CSI Coordinator and her presentation can be found here. Assya Kavrakova, the Programme Director, commented on the changed environment for civil society in Bulgaria after the country’s accession into the European Union. She said that the civic sector has been marginalised from the reform agenda and new issues of financial instability have risen. The gap between CSOs and the citizens is significant and the CSOs are dependent on the state due to the altered way of financing. Her findings can be found here.

The financial dependence of the sector on state funding also raises doubts of malpractice and corruption. This was said by Mr. Atanas Slavov, from the Institute for Direct Democracy, and he stated further that this mistrust in the state gives more legitimacy to NGOs, who should now consider effective ways to separate civil society from the state.

Over 90 organisations and partners took part in the workshop

Read more…

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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 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

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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First CSI Country Report from the current phase is ready!

Posted by civilsocietyindex on July 14, 2010

The Albania CSI Country Report was launched at the CSI national workshop in Tirana on the 5th July 2010 with more than 100 representatives from civil society, international donors and the EU representative to Albania. As an action-oriented assessment tool the CSI is used to assess the state of Albanian civil society. It is based on a broad definition of civil society as “the arena, outside of the family, the state, and the market, which is created by individual and collective actions, organisations and institutions to advance shared interests”.

The CSI draws a set of recommendations for all stakeholders proposing that concerted efforts need to be directed at addressing deficits in civic engagement, transparency, accountability, sustainability of actions and resources, capacities to influence the policy cycle based on local inputs, dialogue and exchange with governmental and other actors, lack of civil society platforms in remote / rural areas etc.

The Albanian workshop discussed various issues emanating from the findings of the CSI Country Report in Albania, some of which included the relationship between civil society and the political system in Albania, as well as the environment in which Albania civil society organisations operate. The report also highlights the need to build trust between the citizens and civil societies in order to foster more civic participation in CSO activities. One means to achieving increased civic engagement is through consultations with citizens and focus groups.

The CIVICUS CSI Team would like to commend the Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) in Albania for the tremendous work they put into the compilation of the Country Report, and looks forward to working with IDM and Albanian civil society in addressing the identified challenges in the future.

To download the full PDF version, click here:

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“Civil Society: Challenges of today, the path for tomorrow” Albanian CSI National Workshop

Posted by civilsocietyindex on July 8, 2010

A key stage of the CSI participatory methodology is the National Workshop which is conducted as one of the final stages of the CSI implementation process. The National Workshop is a space designed to facilitate the discussion and validation of the CSI findings. The National Workshop is open to the participation of various sectors such as the media, the business community, donors and academia. The workshop agenda facilitates the discussion of not only the strengths and weaknesses of civil society, but also an action plan for strengthening it.

The Albanian CSI National Workshop themed ‘Civil Society: Challenges of today, the patch for tomorrow’, took place on the 5th of July 2010 in the capital Tirana and was organized by our Albanian partner, The Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) which was represented at the workshop by Sotiraq Hroni, IDM Executive Director . CIVICUS CSI was represented by Katsuji Imata, CIVICUS Deputy Secretary General. Amongst the more than 110 attendees to the event was H.E. Ambassador Helmuth Lohan, Head of the EU Delegation to Albania whose address at the workshop can be found here: , as well as Gulden Turkoz-Cosslett, UNDP Resident Representative and Norimasa Shimomura, UNDP country Director.


The workshop had two plenary sessions, the first addressed the issue of internal governance and transparency in civil society and the second session addressed the Albanian context, civil society stakeholders and its challenges. As part of the national workshop, the IDM formally launched the Albanian Analytical Country Report which can be accessed here:

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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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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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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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National Workshop convened in Uruguay

Posted by civilsocietyindex on November 16, 2009

On Thursday 29 October, the Instituto de Comunicación y Desarrollo (ICD) held their CSI National Workshop in Montevideo, Uruguay. The meeting brought together over 60 actors from civil society, government institutions, the media, the donor community and academia to discuss the findings of the CSI and to identify initiatives for strengthening civil society.


Some of the most relevant results so far include the finding that the level of participation in Uruguay is growing, although the levels of individual activism on political questions is at the same time very low. The results also highlighted an environment and socio-political context which is highly conducive for civil society, with over 80% of civil society organisations claiming not to have encountered restrictions from government, and with 50% believing that current legislation is enabling.



Uruguay is only the second country to hold its National Workshop, following Turkey earlier this year. The Civil Society Index in Uruguay is being developed within the framework of a project called “Strengthening of Civil Society in Uruguay”, which is a joint programme between the government and the United Nations.


To read more about the implementation of the CSI National Workshop in Uruguay (Spanish only), click here.

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First National Workshop of the current phase in Turkey

Posted by civilsocietyindex on June 23, 2009

 Congratulations to TUSEV, who on June 19th held their Nationanl Workshop in Istanbul. This event represents the first National Workshop held in the new phase of implementation of the CSI programme, and the event was very well attended, with over 170 civil society and external stakeholders taking part in the event.  You can find more information about the workshop on their website (in the sidebar to the right).  You can also check out a picture of the event below.

National Workshop Turkey



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