Solidarity Action Network (SANE) – Solidarity Playbook

Show solidarity – share your best practice with peers!  We are looking for new Solidarity Playbook Case Studies, please click on the button below to find out more and to submit an example for consideration.

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The Solidarity Action Network (SANE) brings together international civil society organisations (ICSOs) and their local partners to support each other when faced with undue threats to their operations. It enhances cooperative mechanisms for joint actions beyond public statements of solidarity to push back against clampdowns on civil society.

The network holds two primary functions:

  • Collecting and sharing knowledge, experiences, and best practices to create a ‘Solidarity Playbook’ to help other civil society actors to respond to threats and challenges.
  • Enabling exchange of best practices and inspiring collaborative actions – mainly connecting development and humanitarian ICSOs with an operational or a partner presence on the ground and bringing them into discussions on challenges and opportunities related to civic space.

Solidarity Playbook – a Collection of Best Practices

We collect best practices and learnings on resilience and solidarity mechanisms developed by ICSOs and their CSO partners. We do this by capturing case studies and curating learnings and knowledge on organisational resilience mechanisms as well as coalition responses. We derive key findings and mechanisms out of this process. We take these steps to improve ICSOs’ and CSOs’ own preparedness to undue scrutiny and attacks.

Discover and Learn from our Pilot Solidarity Playbook Case Studies

These pilot case studies review best practices, challenges, and lessons learned from three ICSOs’ internal mechanisms and three coalition’s responses to scrutiny and attacks. They show positive outcomes and new practices that were initially triggered by an undue threat or attack.

Podcast with authors about the Case Studies

Click on the pictures for a case study summary or find each complete case study to download at the end of the page.

Case Studies on Coalition Responses

Case Studies on Organisational Resilience Mechanisms

Background to our Pilot Solidarity Playbook Case Studies

Written by Sarah Pugh and Deborah Doane, these case studies first appeared in an in-house study called “Solidarity in Times of Scrutiny” presented at the International Civic Forum in Addis Ababa in October 2019.

We sincerely thank our case study partners for making their learnings available to a larger readership.

The presented case studies reflect the status of when they were written in October 2019. Naturally, the political situation as well as the organisations’ and coalitions’ learnings have since evolved and are constantly evolving.

Solidarity Action Network (SANE)

Solidarity Playbook - Civic Rights - International Civil Society CentreThe network serves organisations to take the following actions:

  1. We exchange information, share lessons learned and existing mechanisms.
  2. We identify common goals that move beyond sharing protective strategies. We encourage more joint actions, explore non-public forms of solidarity and design and test new solidarity mechanisms. These mechanisms for example include guidelines on crisis response mechanisms, access to legal support, communication expertise or diplomatic connections.
  3. We aim at connecting humanitarian/development organisations with human rights organisations, initiating cross-sector solidarity and building possible bridges to other networks and initiatives.

Further cross-cutting elements include digital and narratives dimension of the network. We explore digital dimensions of solidarity mechanisms as they form a tremendous potential as well as a significant shift in the nature of threats currently experienced around civic space restrictions (e.g. online surveillance, cyberattacks, restrictions on internet access, disinformation campaigns). We further examine a narrative dimension and explore how ICSOs can move from reactive to proactive narratives and how they can develop positive narratives for themselves and the sector as a whole. After strengthening exchange on best practice and supporting solidarity mechanisms at the global level, we will look at possibilities of connecting the initiative with the national (country) level to further involve ICSO partners in building resilient and solidary country coalitions.

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 Action Network.

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

Phase one July to October 2019: A team of consultants collected pilot cases on response mechanisms to undue attacks and on global and national-level response coalitions. The results were shared with ICSO and CSO representatives at the International Civic Forum (ICF) in Addis Ababa in October 2019. The case studies are available below for download.

Phase two November 2019 – March 2020: We explored all viable format options with help of consultants and decided on a final format. We set a Working Group consisting of ICSO and CSO representatives who give a strategical guidance and an Advisory Group for further input and feedback. We brought the Working Group together in a virtual meeting to set the overall framework of the project.

Phase three April 2020 – December 2020: We focus on collecting case studies and building a network to share best practices and develop new solidarity mechanisms.

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