Civil society & social movements

Social capital in Yemen

Social capital in Yemen is informed primarily by tribal affiliation, particularly in rural areas and in the north. Other important sources including faith based institutions, local community solidarity initiatives, civil society organisations and support from the diaspora. While social capital has been eroded due to political, social and economic changes in recent years, the ...» more

CSOs supporting accountability in cash transfer programmes

Cash transfer programmes, like most social protection programmes, are vulnerable to fraud, errors, corruption and misuse of funds, which undermine their achievements.  Civil society organisations (CSOs) have supported, or provided, accountability mechanisms in countries around the world: working to improve transparency to help citizens hold authorities accountable; checking ...» more

Social movements

Social movements as contentious politics Social movements are large, often informal groupings of people who come together against power holders around a common cause, in response to situations of perceived inequality, oppression and/or unmet social, political, economic or cultural demands. At their core, social movements are not about “polite debate” or “invited spaces” of interaction between…» more

Social movements

Social movements express social, cultural, political or economic concerns locally, nationally or transnationally, and they are found in both democratic and repressive states. A variety of actors use social movements to champion a cause and direct, promote or resist change. This topic guide introduces some of the key literature and debates on social movements and collective ...» more

Southern philanthropy, social justice and human rights

Fabiana Leibl and Ine Van Severen

This discussion paper addresses the question of how philanthropists in the global south could better support the activities of civil society organisations (CSOs) to promote human rights and social justice, including actions that focus on advocacy, accountability and mobilisation. The paper is informed by interviews conducted with 12 representatives of philanthropic foundations ...» more

State-society relations and citizenship

State-society relations, citizenship and socio-political cohesion are areas of great importance to statebuilding and peacebuilding and are crucial to an integrated approach. State-society relations are defined by DFID as ‘interactions between state institutions and societal groups to negotiate how public authority is exercised and how it can be influenced by people. They are ...» more

Getting good at disruption in an uncertain world

Lila Buckley and Halina Ward

What does ‘disruptive change’ mean to NGO leaders and highly experienced development practitioners in middle- and low- income countries? This working paper summarises insights into how NGOs in the global South are addressing disruption in their external and internal operating environments. Beyond natural disasters, emerging technologies, political shifts and climate change the ...» more

NIMD Country Programme evaluation

Laure-Hélène Piron

The Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy commissioned an institutional evaluation of the period 2011–2014, with a focus on three country programmes (Georgia, Guatemala and Mali). The first objective of the evaluation was to assess the extent to which NIMD achieved results in the period 2011–2014. The second objective was to assess the extent to which the NIMD ...» more

Effectiveness of UK civil society sector in building support for international development

A priority for the development community in donor countries is improving understanding of public attitudes towards international development and support for aid. UK civil society organisations (CSOs) have used a variety of strategies to build support for development. Available evidence on their effectiveness suggests some success in short-term popular mobilisation national and ...» more

State of the world’s volunteerism report 2015

UN Volunteers

Volunteerism provides a key channel for the successful implementation of a more inclusive future development agenda advocated by the SDGs. The report analyses the relationship between volunteerism and governance and some of the core governance issues amenable to volunteer action locally, nationally and globally. It argues that volunteerism is an additional resource and vehicle ...» more

CSOs holding governments to account

This report summarises interventions by more than 30 civil society organisations (CSOs) to increase government accountability in varied sectors and contexts. CSOs use a wide variety of different media to gather information from citizens, which they then use to press for accountability. Their strategies and tactics for engaging with local and national government ...» more

Restricting space for civil society

There is consensus in the literature reviewed for this rapid query that the space for civil society to act has been increasingly restricted in the past decade. This is a global phenomenon – occurring in different ways and not in all countries – but in all regions of the world. It is occurring in all regime types – not just authoritarian countries. However, at the same time, in ...» more

Unlocking innovation: Enabling and blocking factors in developing innovative programmes in Oxfam GB

James Whitehead

The aim of this research is to explore uncommon but successful behaviours or strategies that have enabled certain teams in Oxfam GB to find better solutions to problems. The researchers undertook semi-structured interviews with respondents across 13 innovative initiatives. The researchers chose these projects based on a review of a wider set of Oxfam programmes, choosing those ...» more

Rights and social action for risk management: Reflections on local, national and international roles and responses

Maximillian Ashwill, Andrew Norton

This report explores the links between risk management, rights and collective action through a set of case studies. Risk is defined here as the possibility of loss. Case studies involving elements of social mobilisation across Ecuador; Bangladesh; Brazil; South Africa and Zimbabwe demonstrate ways in which the language and practice of human rights can support better conditions ...» more

Realising the Potential of Civil Society-led South-South Development Cooperation

Tshidi Moilwa

Civil Society Organisations from the BRICS countries and Mexico are leading a huge range of South-South Development Cooperation (SSDC) initiatives. New research shows how these initiatives are promoting social accountability, supporting post-disaster reconstruction and effectively sharing rural and urban development knowledge. Given this experience and expertise, these ...» more

In search of the game changers: rethinking social accountability

Fletcher Tembo, Jenny Chapman

This paper speaks to a number of current debates regarding the effectiveness of accountability programmes. Drawing on lessons from the five-year Mwananchi social accountability programme, the authors argue for greater innovation and flexibility from donors, and analyse the need to identify and support project interlocutors with the power to really 'change the game'. This paper ...» more

The Role of Crowdsourcing for Better Governance in Fragile State Contexts

Maja Bott, Björn-Sören Gigler, Gregor Young

This study offers an overview of crowdsourcing as a resource for development, crisis response and post-conflict recovery. The paper reviews the factors necessary for crowdsourcing success (vision, trust, human capital, among others) and the challenges. It provides examples from important crowdsourcing and interactive mapping phenomena and initiatives in Haiti, Libya, Sudan and ...» more

Why women participate less in civic activity: Evidence from Mali

Jessica Gottlieb

This paper finds that a randomly assigned civic education course in Mali widened the gender gap, when it increased civic activity among men while decreasing that among women. Qualitative evidence reveals mechanisms by which the intervention generated perverse consequences for women. In a place where women are traditionally unwelcome actors in the public sphere, the course ...» more