Our first ever annual Innovation Report 2019 – ‘Civil Society Innovation and Populism in a Digital Era’ has been selected by an expert jury as a winner of the American Institute of Graphic Arts’ (AIGA) 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2019. This prize identifies the 50 best-designed books and book covers of 2019 and represents a long-standing legacy in American graphic design. The winning books become part of the AIGA collection at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University’s Butler Library in the city of New York.
With its 14 case studies, our Innovation Report showcases innovative civil society responses in the face of rising populism, one of the defining political features of our times. The publication presents the innovative ways civil society organisations are responding to the rise of populism. The report also analyses the role digital media has to play in the creative responses. We hope that by advancing the understanding of the most promising innovations, both inside and outside our sector, that they can be applied to tackle common challenges.
The International Civil Society Centre would like to say a big thank you and congratulations to our design partners, Verbal Visual, who worked tirelessly to create this innovative book design. Thanks also go authors and editors of this report was Vicky Tongue from the International Civil Society Centre, with Krizna Gomez and Thomas Coombes from JustLabs. And last, but not, least the wonderful civil society organisations who took the time to engage with this exciting project and provide their time and expertise to realise the report.
Find The Future of Civil Society Organisations Document at the bottom of page
The Future is unwritten. Yet, the current challenges and opportunities brought by the COVID-19 pandemic call for a conversation over the transformations we want to see in society, and in the humanitarian, social justice and environmental sector. In this publication, a group of leaders of civil society networks and platforms share their observations and thoughts, identifying possible directions that civil society organisations may want to go.
You will read their views on how the ways we work and organise need to be adapted and made more agile to keep pace with people’s expectations. It is about shifting power, bridging divides and transforming society with a sense of acceleration, caused by the current crisis.
What you will read is both challenging and exciting.
The COVID-19 pandemic can re-energise the demands of civil society organisations to put people at the heart of the changes we need: to protect the planet from degradation, to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives, that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature and fosters peaceful, just and inclusive societies. As conveners of influential networks and platforms, jointly we represent thousands of civil society organisations which work with, and on behalf of, millions of people who are being marginalised and deprived of their human and civic rights. We are determined to mobilise and lead collectively, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, focused in particular on the rights of those left furthest behind.
Wolfgang Jamann and Ignacio Packer
ActionAid, a global justice federation, developed scenario-planning and rapid response mechanisms to address growing hostilities in some countries, for example to react to raids on its office and freezing of its accounts in Uganda.
Read the summary and find the full case study at the bottom of the page.
|What was the trigger?||Growing hostilities in multiple countries noted by ActionAid Federation (2013).|
|What was the internal response?||Federation put together Working Groups on closing space and institutional resilience, in order to develop solutions.|
|What measures were taken at the national level?||Country offices received training and support to build resilience.|
|What was the trigger?||Raid on ActionAid Uganda Office and bank accounts frozen due to their position on legal reforms (2017).|
|What was the response?||Scenario-planning and contingencies put in place; responses were deployed on political, legal, financial and communications fronts.|
|What were the outcomes?||Their bank accounts were unfrozen; ActionAid Uganda then integrated a civic space focus into their programmatic work.|
|Outcomes||ActionAid Uganda’s experience fed back to the Federation via a Learning Paper, and there are now resources and tools based on this.|
|Challenges||Resources; staff and sector insecurity; long-term impact of propaganda.|
|Lessons||Always keep your house in order; ensure all staff understand all processes for consistency of message; a rapid legal response is necessary; good media relations are essential; be relevant to civil society and your constituencies; and be transparent.|
This case study is one of six that reviews best practices, challenges, and lessons learned for both ICSO internal mechanisms and coalition responses to scrutiny and attacks. They show positive outcomes and new practices that were initially triggered by an undue threat or attack.
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.
Thanks go to our case study partners for making their learnings available to a larger readership.
The presented case studies reflect the status of when they were first written up in October 2019. Naturally, the political situation as well as the organisations’ and coalitions’ learnings have since evolved and are constantly evolving.