Solidarity Playbook

The Solidarity Playbook will be a practical tool of plays and strategies for international civil society organisations (ICSOs) and their local partners to support each other when faced with undue threats to their operations.

Based on collective learnings and strategies from ICSOs and networks’ crisis response mechanisms the Solidarity Playbook will provide guidance on actions organisations can take when under threat or attack. We want to provide practical ways organisations can help each other beyond statements of public solidarity.

We are looking for members to join our advisory group. We have completed phase one of the process (see below on how to get involved and the process). We will launch a first version of the Solidarity Playbook at the International Civic Forum at the end of 2020.

A Unique Project

The Solidarity Playbook is a collection of strategies and plays that will give civil society actors the chance to live our shared value of solidarity.

The Centre will facilitate shared learning between ICSOs, their partners and civil society. Likewise, it will include new-shared solidarity mechanisms for civil society actors in times of crisis. The Solidarity Playbook will contain strategies for enlarging our space and preparing for possible crackdowns.

We want to create the possibility for civil society to support each, some examples of this would be by sharing:

  • Guidelines on crisis response mechanisms
  • Access to legal support
  • Communications expertise
  • Diplomatic connections

Civil Society Involvement

We are looking for civil society organisations and staff who would like to join our Solidarity Playbook, advisory group.

We are particularly interested in hearing from people who work on this topic in their organisation, or part of civil society organisation or network that has experienced any of the following:

  • Authorities unexpectedly demand extensive bureaucratic due diligence and threaten a CSO with deregistration.
  • Media attacks: Media take up an incident or even false information and launch an attack on one or more CSOs or their staff to discredit them.
  • Raids, freezing of assets, expulsion from the country: Police raid a CSO office, place the staff under house arrest, freeze assets or expel the organisation from the country.
  • (Un)Expected political upheaval: This can take the form of a constitutional crisis (e.g. Kenyan elections 2017), drastic new policy (e.g. the U.S. travel ban), or election of a populist candidate (e.g. Brazilian elections 2018).

Background and Process

The intensity and frequency of attacks on international civil society organisations combined with a shared value to protect and help one another gave rise to the Solidarity Playbook.

Through consultation at our Innovator’s Forum and interviews with ICSO staff members, we discovered a desire to actively support each in solidarity when an organisation from the community is under undue pressure.

Those consulted said, we all need to go beyond public statements of support. We need to live our values by building an active support system that makes possible lived solidarity between ICSOs and their CSO partners

Phase one July to October 2019: Collect six pilot cases – three case studies of ICSO response mechanisms to undue attacks and three case studies of global and national-level response coalitions. Preliminary results discussed at International Civic Forum. A shortened version of the results will be made available at a later date

Phase two November 2019 – April 2020: Results of the pilot study assessed with consultants and the working group to research and map possible formats. Consultation of other networks, such as Civicus and ICNL.

Phase three May 2020 – end 2020: Production and launch of Solidarity Playbook.

If you want more information on this project or are interested in getting involved please contact Project Manager, Miriam Niehaus.

Project Manager