Our first-ever Innovation Report: Civil Society Innovation and Populism in a Digital Era features stories from people around the world who devised strategies, sometimes unintentionally, to respond to the challenges associated with populism. These are inspiring stories, full of innovation and creativity. We believe they can help others change and improve their world, that’s why we’re sharing them. To do this we need your help.
Below are some simple actions you can take to share inspiration that can be the creative spark in people and organisations, creativity that unites people and communities.
Additionally, we are still collecting stories, to grow our online report with your stories, ideas and actions for a stronger civil society sector. Here’s how you can help spread the word or contribute to our living report:
We will soon kick off the process for our 2020 report on ‘Civil Society Innovation and Urban Inclusion’. If you already want to register an interest in being part of this report please send Programme Manager Vicky Tongue an email to say you are interested
A new playbook for international civil society to put into action solidarity
Together with a newly formed Working Group of international civil society organisation (ICSO) and CSO colleagues, the International Civil Society Centre is now embarking on the next phase of developing a Solidarity Playbook.
For years now, civil society worldwide is facing increasing restrictions to their freedoms of association, assembly, expression and exchange of information. Likewise, their reputations have been consistently attacked. Human rights activists have always been targeted, however, even large ICSOs are now coming under pressure. There are growing fears over staff safety and the ability to deliver essential operations in varied contexts. Even when size does offer some cover, their partners are attacked. In turn, they require support and solidarity.
Many global coalitions have responded by making calls to action aimed at “providing solidarity”, and yet even in our highly value-driven sector, it often proves difficult to get the results we all hope for.
Why is solidarity playbook needed and how can it help international CSOs show “solidarity”?
Many organisations shy away from public proclamations of solidarity as they do not want to put staff members and operations at risk. Through many stakeholder conversations, the Centre has identified the need to approach solidarity differently and enable collective learning on how ICSOs can better support each other and their partners, particularly in contexts where confrontational advocacy is not an avenue they can pursue. Our conversations show that the need and the desire to cooperate better between different strands of civil society has never been bigger and our opportunity to turn this challenge into an opportunity never greater.
The International Civil Society Centre is working with ICSOs and their CSO partners to develop a new playbook for solidarity and cooperation, to be able to better respond to the clampdown, to be better prepared and to push back to the boundaries of what civil society restrictions have come to be.
The Centre commissioned a study on ICSO response mechanisms and national civic space coalitions to assess where we are collectively and to begin sharing and learning from each other. This study “Solidarity in Times of Scrutiny” was shared with some 40 delegates of the International Civic Forum, convened by the Centre on 29 October 2019 in Addis Ababa. The delegates, colleagues from ICSOs, CSOs and philanthropy, highly valued the space for exchange and the Centre’s initiative to facilitate shared learning and re-envision our solidarity mechanisms. They provided ideas and feedback for the Solidarity Playbook. The Centre is currently reviewing and discussing with the Working Group how to turn feedback and ideas into a format that best serves the sector. Throughout 2020, the Centre will be leading the development of the Playbook together with the Working Group and with the help of an Advisory Group. At the end of 2020, the playbook will be launched at the International Civic Forum.
Should you be interested in finding out more or joining our Advisory Group, please contact the project manager Miriam Niehaus (email@example.com).
Civil society organisations are innovators. They test new approaches to both traditional and emerging problems. One of today’s most pressing issues is the rise of populism, which can both erode and in some instances directly attack, these organisations’ legitimacy and impact. While civil society organisations have addressed these challenges, there is a significant opportunity for organisations to learn and benefit from the lessons others have encountered. That is the goal of this inaugural Innovation Report, titled: Civil Society Innovation and Populism in a Digital Era.
In this report, International Civil Society Centre partnered with JustLabs to highlight innovative, hopeful responses and solutions by civil society actors around the world, check out some of the case studies:
Visit our Innovation Website to find out more about the aims of the report and all the case study content: