Knowledge on, by and for civil society is a foundation for a strong and robust civil society that is effective in
achieving the change it wants to see in the world. As such, in 2010 CIVICUS focused on increasing and streng-
thening that knowledge. Activities under this theme were undertaken primarily under the auspices of the Civil
Society Index (CSI) [
Link] but also within other CIVICUS projects.


Key achievements

The Civil Society Index (CSI), a participatory action research project on the state of civil society, was being
implemented in close to 30 countries during 2010. The following are its main achievements:

  By the end of the year, 25 CSI diamonds had been completed followed by 25 country reports [
Link] on the
   state of civil society in early 2011.

  An impact assessment [
Link] for the 2003-2006 phase of the CSI was completed in early 2010 and helped
   to inform project objectives moving forward.

  A Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations Development Programme and the Foundation
   for the Future was signed to develop the CSI in the Middle East and North Africa Region.

  The CSI led to new organic initiatives, like the Cross Border Initiative [
Link] between Armenia and Turkey,
   implemented by local partners with support from the Black Sea Trust and USAID.

  CIVICUS' compendium of international legal instruments and other inter-governmental commitments pro-
   tecting civil society [
Link] was updated in 2010 and is now an important resource for civil society to carry
   out its advocacy in various regions of the globe.

  Research was conducted on the challenges faced by women human rights defenders in Africa, to be
   released early in 2011
[Link]

  In December 2010, a report entitled Civil society: The clampdown is real - Global trends 2009-2010 [
Link]
   was released outlining the trend in threats to civil society.


Looking Forward

In 2011, we will continue to focus on increasing and strengthening knowledge for, about and from civil society.
This work will include both leveraging knowledge that has already been developed and engaging in new know-
ledge generation and analysis activities. This includes a series of knowledge products based on the CSI data,
a publication on civil society participation and volunteerism, a study of civil society in situations of conflict and
on-going research on the state and trends for civil society around the world.


About the Civil Society Index

The Civil Society Index (CSI) [
Link] is an action-research project which is based on the belief that civil society
can and should exist, express itself and engage with other sectors - and that it will do so best when it creates
proper space to reflect, discuss and reach an evidence-based understanding of the sector.


The CSI project therefore aims to provide a space for civil society to come together with government, donors,
businesses and academic institutions to jointly assess the state of civil society and develop actions to further
strengthen the capacity of civil society to contribute to development, social justice and good governance.

The CSI project is implemented at a national level by partner organisations undertaking and convening research
and analysis activities.


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"The CSI is a very important tool that we can use - it is not just about the outcome but also
about the process which is important - engaging people in a debate is valuable."

- CIVICUS Stakeholder

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