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IMPRIMER

Roles for Civil Society in Developing Countries

Within developing countries civil society organizations are a crucial means to

  1. provide an organized voice for the expression of interests of citizens, including poor and powerless people, in community development and policy-making processes;
  2. incorporate and extend democratic forms of national and local governance through innovative mechanisms for participation and the mediation and aggregation of interests within and between communities;
  3. promote human rights and protect the interests of those who are affected unfairly and/or excluded from decision-making in relation to individual cases, national policies and reform programs;
  4. act as bridge-builders between people with differing interests, between those engaged with the different social sectors and in innovative collaborations between the private, government and civic sectors.
  5. act as political intermediary between citizens and the state, and between donors and other civil society organizations;
  6. support capacity-building of grassroots popular organizations, and sometimes local government and national ministries, providing opportunities for learning and training in social change and development;
  7. respond to emergencies with detailed knowledge of local communities, and mediate social conflict in community-level processes;
  8. mobilize local resources and expand local philanthropy;
  9. mobilize voluntarism in society in self-help groups, in support of grass-root development, and the promotion of civic values;
  10. implement participatory, often innovative, programs in communities, particularly in the social sectors and income generation (production and savings and credit schemes);
  11. facilitate networking and sharing of experiences across regions in the countries and in the South.

From: CCIC, "Commentary on CIDA’s Draft Long-Term Strategy" (January 2001)

 

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