The SDC supports citizens to claim and use spaces for participation and to take ownership of and co-responsibility for public matters. It is expected that informed and organised citizens can voice their interests, hold governments accountable, influence policy agendas and decision-making for their good. But importantly, having a voice and being able to participate is intrinsic to peoples' well-being and a value on its own.
This usually requires time and many intermediary steps (building blocks), as well as targeted measures to empower women and marginalised groups. Active, aware and empowered citizens do not emerge automatically, or just by being invited to participate. People need to gradually develop their own sense of entitlements, rights and responsibilities vis-a-vis the State. Blueprint participatory designs with standard project implementation modalities are usually less successful and leave the door open to elite capture. For inclusive and effective citizen participation it is essential to understand the power issues at stake. You can find resource documents below on this page.
SDC started to look out for new approaches: invest more in strengthening the sincere ownership of civil society organisations and the connectivity to their members (legitimacy); reach out to locally trusted forms of collective action; and explore ways to include non-formalized civic action into its activities.
The topic of Civic Engagement has figured high on the ddlgn agenda for some years now. Network members learned to build a joint understanding of the underlying concepts and theories and share and reflect on own experiences and practices. The learning journey included experience capitalization, e-discussions, exchange on research papers and learning retreat. You can find relevant documents under the subtopic
learning journeys. Network members also shared their civic engagement learning journey with us.
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Around the world we observe a contestation of the civic space. Fundamental freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly are repeatedly challenged. The scope for civil society to operate and engage in policy processes without fear of official disapproval, violence or judicial pursuit has narrowed.
This guidance sheet frames the issue and formulates responses at different levels.
This report summarises and analyses donor responses to the closure of civic space around the world. It is part of a wider effort within the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation to enable joint learning to support SDC offices in dealing with the growing challenges they encounter in restrained or shrinking spaces for civil society.
This section analyses twelve case studies on civil society participation and accountability in local governance processes. It looks at power issues and the analysis of power, the role of civil society and participation of civil society in local governance, accountability mechanisms and experiences, alignment with national policies and systems, and specific issues in fragile contexts.
The case study focuses on the outcomes and impacts of social audit practices in the framework of the Improved Livelihood of Rural Communities (ILRC) project implemented by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation in Afghanistan.
The objective of this brief is to provide policymakers with strategic recommendations to support project/programme teams in strengthening SDC’s programming in civil society participation and accountability based on key learnings from the case studies.
As part of the learning project, eight case studies and four mirror case studies1 were developed to assess approaches and extract key learnings based on the experience of SDC and selected other local governance programmes in a variety of contexts, including fragile ones.
The Learning Project was launched by SDC in the framework of DLGN and mandated to HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation. Recommendations were formulated on the basis of eight case studies and four mirroring cases and were further debated in an e-discussion conducted between the 9th and the 19th of April. This document is a synthesis of the main discussion points.
Making All Voices Count is aimed at changing the relationship between citizens and their governments in ways that open up how decisions affecting people’s lives are made. This document is the international initiative's strategy synthesis.
This article, based on case studies in post-apartheid Johannesburg, contributes to theorizing community leadership, or informal local political leadership, by exploring Bourdieu’s concepts of ‘political capital’ and ‘double dealings’.
Despite global progress in putting gender ‘on the agenda’, many seemingly progressive social movements have yet to make gender equality a consistent priority in either their internal policies or their external change strategies. In some cases there is strong ideological resistance; in most cases, experience shows that gender justice is recognised as important but hasn’t received the attention or priority it deserves.
This policy brief gives practical answers to the following 3 questions: Why do we need social movements to be gender-just? How do we build gender-just movements? How can donors support gender justice within and through social movements?
The material here contained has been developed as a tool to support implementers who wish to engage citizens in anti-corruption activities.
PowerPoint presentation in Spanish
How can positive change be supported in contexts affected by violent conflict? This summary of research findings on ‘Power, Violence, Citizenship and Agency’ was prepared for the event ‘Bottom-up perspectives on violence and conflict: lessons from Colombia, Egypt, Kenya, South Sudan and Zimbabwe’, which took place on 15 April 2015.
In formal existence from 2009 to 2012, Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness is a global fully participatory space run by and for civil society organisations (CSOs) worldwide to improve the impact of their development work and advocate for more favorable government policies and practices for CSOs. The website contains a lot of resources and information on CSO Development Effectiveness, including toolkits.
Making All Voices Count is about promoting transparency, fighting corruption, empowering citizens, and harnessing the power of new technologies to make government more effective and accountable.