civil society

A crunch point for Indian civil society – what are the options?

Duncan Green - April 29, 2016

Second installment on last week’s India visit. Vlog from Lucknow and a debate with Oxfam India’s Vanita Suneja   In the rolling, 16 hour-a-day seminar that is a field trip, one topic kept coming up in my conversations in India last week. Many civil society organizations feel beleaguered. As the Indian economy booms, the foreign aid agencies on which many CSOs have come to depend …

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Civil society must change itself before it can change the world

Duncan Green - April 26, 2016

  Danny Sriskandarajah, Secretary General of the Civicus global civil society network, has some heretical thoughts about CSOs putting their own house in order This week, more than 900 activists from more than 100 countries are meeting in Bogotá, Colombia for International Civil Society Week. We will come together at what feels like a momentous and difficult time for civil society. My colleagues have documented …

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Michael Jacobs on how civil society and others achieved the Paris Climate Agreement

Duncan Green - April 20, 2016

A brilliant analysis by Michael Jacobs of the success factors behind last year’s Paris Climate Agreement appeared in Juncture, IPPR’s quarterly journal  recently. Jacobs unpacks the role of civil society (broadly defined) and political leadership. Alas, it’s over 4,000 words long, so as a service to my attention deficit colleagues in aid and development, here’s an abbreviated version (about a third the length, but if …

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ICYMI: why civil society space is under assault around the world and other posts on NGOs

Duncan Green - October 13, 2015

Final installment in this series of re-posts of the most read summer blogs, for those who missed FP2P due to our email notification meltdown (or your holidays). In the 1980s and 90s civil society, and civil society organizations (CSOs) came to be seen as key players in development; aid donors  and INGOs like Oxfam increasingly sought them out as partners. So the current global crackdown …

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5 trends that explain why civil society space is under assault around the world

Duncan Green - August 25, 2015

In the 1980s and 90s civil society, and civil society organizations (CSOs) came to be seen as key players in development; aid donors  and INGOs like Oxfam increasingly sought them out as partners. So the current global crackdown on ‘civil society space’ is particularly worrying – a major pillar of development is under threat. Ross Clarke (left) and Araddhya Mehtta (right) from from Oxfam’s Knowledge …

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Why is there no ‘Fundraisers Without Borders’? Big missing piece in development.

Duncan Green - July 22, 2015

There are an extraordinary number of ‘without borders’ organizations (see here, or an even longer list here) – every possible activity is catered for, from chemists to clowns (and that’s just the c’s). But one seems to be missing, and it may well be the most useful – why is there no ‘fundraisers without borders’? Mike Edwards argues that ‘we should focus as much attention …

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Civil Society and the dangers of Monoculture: smart new primer from Mike Edwards

Duncan Green - January 15, 2015

Mike Edwards has just written a 3rd edition of his book ‘Civil Society’. It’s a 130 page primer, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy reading. I found some of the conceptual stuff on different understandings of civil society pretty hard going, but was repaid with some really interesting and innovative systems thinking, leading to what I think are some novel suggestions for how NGOs and …

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Why gay rights is a development issue in Africa, and aid agencies should speak up

Duncan Green - January 9, 2015

Hannah Stoddart, on secondment as Oxfam’s advocacy manager in Rwanda, calls for aid agencies to take a stand in defence of beleaguered gay rights in Africa (and I ask you to vote on her suggestion) First Gambia, then Chad. Recent months have seen two more countries join the rising tide of State-led homophobia sweeping across the African continent. A bill recently passed in Gambia now …

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Can donors support civil society activism without destroying it? Some great evidence from Nigeria

Duncan Green - September 9, 2014

The Thinking and Working Politically crew are reassembling next week to discuss how better to apply power analysis, political economy etc in the practice of aid, so I thought I’d highlight a couple of good examples in advance. First up is some really exciting work from DFID’s State Accountability and Voice Initiative in Nigeria, which suggests that even big donors can successfully support citizen engagement …

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Strengthening active citizenship after a traumatic civil war: dilemmas and ideas in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Duncan Green - June 25, 2014

I went to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) last week to help Oxfam Italia develop advocacy and campaign skills among local civil society organizations. They have their work cut out. Firstly, there is a crisis of trust between the public and CSOs, which are poorly regulated, often seen as little more than ‘briefcase NGOs’, only interested in winning funding, and under constant attack from politicians. Many …

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