Member Blog

 

  • The Echo of

    By Ekaterina Porras Sivolobova, from Project 189, Kuwait and CIVICUS member delegate to the EC Partnership Forum 2018.

    partnershipforum2Let’s make sure that the echoes of the recent EC Partnership Forum in Brussels do not fade away. The event brought together Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and representatives from different governments to have a dialogue with the European Commission on how to collaborate to implement and localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – leaving no one behind.

    It was my first time in Brussels, and my first opportunity to engage with representatives from the European Commission. Hearing about the different struggles from civil society, from corruption to gender equality and the rising of the seas. I could not stop reconfirming that this is the time to double our solidarity with the European Commission and others, to roll-up our sleeves and get to work, to share our resources and do what has to be done.

    The decisions that will be taken in the coming years to achieve in unison the SDGs, will be important to pave the way to decentralised development, making sure not to leave anyone behind. I do hope that in the coming years, we all put our individual priorities aside, recognise the value of collaborative action and once and for all start creating a change, a real change. This form of solidarity is what will strengthen efforts and shorten and mitigate challenges.

     

  • “La inclusión es una ilusión”

    English | French 

    Ochoa Ayala, Fundación 11:11, México

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    ¿A quién no le gusta sentir que pertenece a un lugar, comunidad, espacio, algo? El sentido de pertenencia tiene que ver con la identidad que cada individuo va desarrollando a lo largo de su vida, da una muestra de quienes somos; por ejemplo yo, soy una mujer, joven, mexicana, activista, soñadora etc., es como me identifico y las palabras que elegí para describirme hacen que me conecte con personas afines.

    Al ser una mujer joven mexicana activista soñadora encontré a CIVICUS

    “Una comunidad mundial de ciudadanas y ciudadanos informados, inspirados y comprometidos en el abordaje de los desafíos que enfrenta la humanidad.”[1]

    Al leer su visón de inmediato supe que quería ser parte de esa comunidad y es que me sentí identificada, supe que al otro lado del planeta, en el hemisferio de a lado, existían personas con una visión muy similar a la mía, con la intención de cooperar y crear alianzas para que los problemas de la humanidad se combatieran de manera conjunta e unificando esfuerzos aislados.

    Ingrese mis datos y cada semana me llegaba información sobre sus boletines, actividades y demás, hasta que un día llego un correo invitándome a la convocatoria “the Global Learning Exchange and AGM” en donde se hablarían temas de inclusión y diversidad en Montevideo, Urugay; Sin pensarlo mucho tome una decisión y apliqué, sin imaginar que acababa de abrir la puerta a una de las mejores experiencias de mi vida. Meses después me confirmaron que fui seleccionada y el 13 de diciembre me encontraba en un avión rumbo al intercambio de aprendizaje.

    Fueron tres días donde hablamos sobre el significado de diversidad e inclusión, de entrada tanto las personas seleccionadas como los encargados de dirigir el intercambio teníamos diferentes nacionalidades, idiomas, aspecto, creencias e ideas pero eso no importo para intercambiar experiencias y crear conceptos nuevos, al interactuar entre nosotros le dimos vida y realidad a los conceptos de diversidad e inclusión, puesto que estás dos palabras no significan nada sino las llevas a la acción. Comprobamos de primera mano que las diferencias enriquecen las ideas y la disposición a escuchar da pie a la inclusión.

    Juntos concluimos que la diversidad es la riqueza de lo diferente y la inclusión es la bienvenida de eso, dos conceptos que coexisten puesto que uno necesita de otro para fortalecer cada acción que realicemos en pro de la humanidad.

    Antes de este encuentro veía a la diversidad e inclusión como una ilusión, tenía el anhelo de que en mi país existieran personas que fomentaran acciones de bienvenida a lo diferente, y es que ya llevaba un tiempo trabajando por ello pero no se materializaba.

    Lamentablemente vivimos en una Era de discurso y poco accionar, las personas hablan de aceptación, las leyes de inclusión, pero en la realidad parece más una exclusividad de lo diferente, es decir, “si eres diferente júntate con los que son diferentes como tú” pero entonces ¿dónde está la inclusión? ¿Es una ilusión inalcanzable? CIVICUS respondió mi duda al integrarme a un equipo donde lo que imperaba eran las diferencias, pero aprendí que la disposición, el respeto, la humildad, el reconocimiento, son actitudes que cualquier ser humano puede tener con otro y al hacerlo se da la oportunidad de conocerlo e incluirlo a su mundo.

    Recordemos que desde nuestra existencia pertenecemos a un mundo en el que todos coexistimos y al que todos tenemos la oportunidad aportar algo valioso.

    Gracias CIVICUS por hacer mi ilusión realidad.

    [1] https://www.civicus.org/index.php/es/quienes-somos/acerca-de-civicus

     

  • “Walk in My Shoes”: Change starts with us!

    By Patrick Newton Bondo
    Chief Executive Officer/ Social Justice Activist/ Main NGOs Representative To United Nations

    Every day we are inspired by the stories our girls, youth, women and young families share with us. The Outreach Social Care Project team’s job is to fuel their passions by giving them the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to turn their inspirational stories into real world actions that change lives forever. The Outreach Social Care Project wants a world where social and environmental development justice is assured and all people are able to live in a prosperous, healthy and peaceful environment, access to basic rights.OSCAR Project Thandeka Mabuza

    As a grassroots non-profit organisation, Outreach Social Care Project was pleased to have the opportunity to attend the launch of the former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s foundation at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg on United Nations Wold Social Justice Day under the theme “Walk in My Shoes”. The Thuli Madonsela Foundation partnered with Khulisa Social Solutions to host the event to empower the most disadvantaged and underprivileged communities.

    Social justice is a fundamental principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We advocate for the principles of social justice, promote gender equality and the rights of children, girls, youth, men, women and the LGBTIQ community. We advance social justice by removing barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability in South Africa and around the world. Working together we can make the world a better place for all.

    This event was an eye opener for where our resources are strongly needed and how we can continue being a light to many of our beneficiaries living in the most disadvantaged and underprivileged communities.

     

  • 5 CIVICUS members to attend the European Commission’s partnership forum

    Some months ago, a call was sent to CIVICUS members inviting them to apply to attend the European Commission’s partnership forum to be held on 25th and 26th June 2018. In order to ensure fruitful discussions during the forum, we needed members who understand cross-sectoral collaboration, the dynamics of professional networks and knowledge-sharing, and members who were able to envision future collective actions as CIVICUS members after the forum.

    We received over 160 expressions of interest from 75+ countries and we were very much impressed by the depth of the insights! We are delighted to introduce the five members who will attend the forum as the CIVICUS delegation.

    The CIVICUS delegation will be a rich blend of actors from the civil society: members from different regions of the world (including Francophone and Spanish speaking representation), working at different levels from local to regional, and ensuring gender and youth representation. The five members also deal with very different aspects which are key when it comes to multi-stakeholder partnerships, North-South collaborations, tackling key global challenges (e.g around migration and employment) and using diverse channels and means of communication (e.g. arts, media, high-level discussions etc).

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  • A Belgrade en Serbie, PJUD-BENIN ONG parle de la redevabilité au service de la démocratie béninoise.

    Par DJOWAMON  A. Cyrille, PJUD - Promotion Jeunesse Unie pour le Développement, Benin ; organisation membre votante de CIVICUS

    Cyrille 1La semaine internationale de la civile (the international civil society week ICSW) s’est déroulée du 06 au 12 avril 2019 à Belgrade en Serbie sous le thème : «Le Pouvoir de la Solidarité». Elle a donné l’occasion aux organisations, aux défenseurs des droits humains et aux activistes d’explorer les moyens par lesquels ils peuvent fédérer les efforts pour libérer le potentiel d’une l’action collective. Le programme de cette semaine constitué de plusieurs sessions a donné l’occasion à PJUD-BENIN ONG d’exposer ses actions sur la thématique de la redevabilité au Bénin. Autour du thème : « Government accountability towards Democracy and Rule of Law » le directeur exécutif de PJUD-BENIN ONG a partagé avec l’assistance constituée d’acteurs de la société civile mais également de partenaires techniques et financiers les efforts des OSC béninoises pour créer l’interaction entre les détenteurs de droits ou demandeurs de redevabilité et les débiteurs d’obligations qui offrent la recevabilité.

    Cyrille 3Avec une démarche pédagogique, il a démontré que le recul des trois obstacles fondamentaux à la construction d’une bonne gouvernance et d’un État de droit que sont : la corruption, le clientélisme et la captation des marchés n’adviendra qu’avec l’appropriation du concept de redevabilité tant par les détenteurs de droits que par les débiteurs d’obligations. Pour lui, la corruption, le clientélisme et la captation des marchés sont des maux à combattre avec vigueur. En effet, la corruption, outre qu’elle enrichit directement des bureaucrates individuels, fausse les marchés et entrave la fourniture du service.

    Le clientélisme, outre qu’il canalise de manière inéquitable des ressources publiques vers des groupes de clients spécifiques, altère les dynamiques de la compétition politique et mène à une fourniture inefficace du service public. Enfin La captation, outre qu’elle fournit des rentes à des acteurs économiques spécifiques, altère elle aussi grandement les marchés et aggrave la position des consommateurs, travailleurs et l’environnement entrepreneurial. Il a, pour conclure invité à une action à l’endroit de la jeunesse qui doit faire un parcours initiatique dans l’apprentissage de la responsabilité, de la culture de la vérité et du refus de la corruption sous toutes ses formes.        

     

  • A la 65ème session ordinaire de la commission africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples, PJUD-BENIN ONG dénonce la politique ultra-sécuritaire des pays et propose !

    By Cyrille Djowamon, PJUD - Promotion Jeunesse Unie pour le Développement, Benin

    BeninBlog1.jpg

    La 65ème session de la commission africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples s’est ouverte ce lundi 21 octobre 2019 à KAIRABA BEACH HOTEL à Banjul (Gambie). Elle a réunie autour de la vice-présidente gambienne 287 acteurs de la société civile venant de 36 pays africains. Les activités préparatoires entrant dans le cadre de cette session ont débuté le 14 octobre par un atelier sur le plaidoyer et le mécanisme africain des droits humains suivi du forum de participation des ONG et de la 39ème foire du livre des droits de l’homme les 17, 18 et 19 octobre.BeninBlog3

    PJUD-BENIN ONG, membre de la délégation de l’alliance CIVICUS, a participé activement à tous ces travaux. Dans sa stratégie de défense des droits de la jeunesse, des femmes et filles rurales, elle a invité toutes les parties prenantes à l’application de la résolution 2250 des nations unies. Dans sa déclaration intitulée : Advocacy for a youth at the heart of change (Plaidoyer pour une jeunesse au Coeur du changement), elle invite les Etats à repositionner la jeunesse comme une force positive de changement dans l’édification d’une société sûre, stable et pacifique.

    BeninBlog4En effet, Dans un contexte de mondialisation croissante caractérisé par l’omniprésence des préoccupations liées au terrorisme, à la criminalité transnationale organisée et à l’extrémisme violent, les perspectives concernant les jeunes sont faussées par des stéréotypes contagieux qui les associent à la violence. Ces stéréotypes négatifs ont pour principale conséquence de marginaliser et de stigmatiser la jeunesse en la présentant comme un problème à résoudre et une menace à contenir. Cette situation fausse de manière préjudiciable les interventions et les priorités programmatiques en faveur de la jeunesse, de la paix et de la sécurité au profit d’approches ultra-sécuritaires qui négligent la prévention. Continuer ainsi c’est foncé droit dans le mur, a-t-elle conclure en invitant toutes les parties prenantes à la promotion d’approche de sécurité communautaire.

     

  • A young rural woman activist at CSW62

    By Nadia Sanchez, She Is Foundation. Colombia, Member of CIVICUS Youth Working Group

    My experience at CSW62 as a panelist in the event "Shrinking space for the feminist movement"

    The 62nd Commission on the Status of Women - CSW62 was an experience that facilitated knowledge generation and transfer amongst women from more than 120 countries who met and shared their experiences, but also decided on the steps to take forward together. In the session on "Shrinking space for the feminist movement" organized by CIVICUS in collaboration with other civil society organizations, I first thought it would only be about discussing the theme of rural Women and economic empowerment, but the biggest outcome was connecting as activists and leaders to raise our voices, finding out that everything we shared had a strong connection, sharing around the work of women, rural women, peace and our own feeling as activists.

    Main outcomes of attending CSW62

    Nadia SanchezSharing our experiences with the UN allowed us to empower ourselves and generate valuable connections. But above all, it enables us to act together.

    CSW62 was also an opportunity to revive hope that we are doing the job well and that the time is now to continue dignifying our rights.

    I particularly connected and developed synergies with the delegation of my country, Colombia, who invited me to be in their sessions and to actively participate in a topic as important as peace.

    SHE IS, the organisation I founded, works with victims of the armed conflict, communities in situations of vulnerability and extreme poverty. It has not been an easy process, we have moved from indifference to our work to building a sustainable network that transforms lives.

    Now imagine what it has been like to share our work in this iconic venue, to raise our voice and being given the opportunity to exchange knowledge for a common good, which perhaps could be called a 'solidarity economy of knowledge'.

     

  • Agenda 2063: Youth taking charge of Africa's transformation

    By Esther Kariuki

    Every active citizen would by now have heard of "Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" or, simply, the SDGs. Every active African citizen would also have heard of Agenda 2063. The SDGs are a group of 17 global goals addressing social and economic development issues set by the United Nations. The goals apply to the world in its entirety and they do not distinguish between nations, whether ‘developed’ or ‘developing’. Agenda 2063, which is specific to African nations, is a strategic framework for development of the African continent with the vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in international arena”. Both are praiseworthy documents full of hope, but we are all aware that the biggest hindrance to the success of a development agenda lies in implementation. How are the SDGs and their respective targets going to be implemented by 2030? Is Agenda 2063 being executed across the entire African continent? The most important question for me, one that is rooted in citizen participation, leadership and accountability is, what is the role of African Youth in the implementation of both the SDGs and Agenda 2063?

    Esther blog 2

    I recently spent close to a week deliberating on this last question in the company of brilliant young minds from various countries within and outside Africa. This platform was provided during the second Afrika Youth Movement(AYM) Empowerment Forum that convened in Accra, Ghana, from 18-22 April 2018 to which, as a member of the movement, I was invited. AYM is a pan-African, action-oriented, youth-led movement that strives for the participation, development and leadership of African youth to transform Africa and achieve their rights to peace, equality and social justice. AYM further adds to its uniqueness of being the largest youth led movement with its promotion of the values that bind the African continent; ubuntu, self-determination, integrity and accountability in each of its endeavours. Did the forum provide an answer to the question I raised above? There is rarely ever one solution to a puzzle and the problem of development in Africa is surely a puzzle. My sole conclusion, however, is that our role as African youth lies in or begins with grassroots implementation.This position is in line with AYM as a focal point of empowerment of young people already working or those keen on working in their communities.

     

  • CIVICUS GLE Testimonial: Building communities for inclusive action

    French | Spanish

    by Vandita Morarka, One Future Collective, India

    VanditaI was a participant at the Global Learning Exchange and the ensuing AGM held by CIVICUS in Montevideo, Uruguay, 16th December, 2018, onwards, representing One Future Collective.

    As a participant I engaged in various discussions and actionable agenda items towards building the first step towards frameworks for inclusion and diversity. The representatives at the GLE in themselves were a stellar example of the beauty and massive knowledge exchange and learning that actual practise of diversity and inclusion can bring in.

     

  • CIVICUS strategy review workshop: a step into social cohesion and sustainable development

    By Mohammad Hasan, Yes Theatre Palestine

    YesTheatre Palestine3CIVICUS’ process to mid-term review its strategic plan (2017-2022) is almost finished. The plan reflects the vision, ideas, and priorities of over 8,000 members of civil society organisations distributed everywhere in our world. It also builds on CIVICUS’ Action plan for 2020-2022, which is focused on defending civic & democratic freedoms, strengthening the power of people to organise, mobilise and take action, and empowering a more accountable, effective and informative civil society.

    I still remember the words of Mrs. Anabel Cruz (former Chair of the CIVICUS Board) just before the launching of CIVICUS’ strategic plan (2017-2022): “As we launch our new strategic plan, we are fortunate to find ourselves in a position of strength at CIVICUS. With a stable financial base, a committed and diverse board, a broad and growing membership and a talented secretariat team, we are poised to be bold and brave”.

    The CIVICUS strategy review workshop on 6th November 2019 was a translation of Anabel’s words. The workshop was a space for participants to stress the importance of CIVICUS as a leader and model for diversity and inclusion, ensuring that civil society is empowered and active at all levels.

    Participants in the review sessions emphasized the importance of defining CIVCUS and its role as an international organisation that working side by side with multipliers of effect. People articulated the critical need for CIVICUS to partner with different actors to find creative ways to respond to the big global challenges for civil society and the world. Participants have agreed that the main job of CIVICUS is to connect, amplify and scale professional responses that lead to strengthening the citizens' contributions in realizing a more just, inclusive and sustainable world. YesTheatre Palestine

    Yes Theatre for Communication among Youth (YT) in Palestine is one of the CIVICUS voting members. YT has designed solutions grounded in a belief that theatre and drama are effective tools to empower right-holders to know about, and claim their rights. This goal goes directly with CIVICUS mission: “to strengthen citizen action and civil society throughout the world”. The review process was very relevant to the projects that Yes Theatre is running such as: the Completely Connected and Youth-Quack. These projects aim at encouraging the marginalised population to take an active role in fulfilling their needs and claiming their rights constructively and creatively, which will lead to the betterment of their livelihood as well as social cohesion and sustainable development. 

    CIVICUS, Yes Theatre and other members must learn and evolve. The CIVICUS strategy review workshop is just a step to transform our world into a different situation in which each human being lives in dignity and enjoy freedom. 

     

  • Civil society is blurring? Let’s remember our whys and get creative!

    Reflection from “Money, Culture and Change” - a participatory action research process on the sustainability of youth-led civil society organisations (CSOs) in Medellin, Colombia.

    By Gioel Gioacchino

    In the middle of a research workshop, Stiven got up and drew the picture below on the board.  Stiven is a civil society leader active in Castilla, a neighbourhood on the slopes of Medellin, Colombia. He has not studied any theories of civil society, but, with his drawing, he put his finger on a big wound within the sector. He used the picture to explain that funding, and CSOs themselves, should be seen as tools, trampolines to promote a gearing of economic development and social economies based on solidarity.Gioel Giaoacchino

    Stiven believes that social projects need to have economic models. “We need to move to an economy of solidarity,” he reflected, reminding us that there cannot be a community that lives in solidarity and justice without an economy of solidarity and justice.

    As part of a PhD program at the Institute of Development Studies (University of Sussex), for the last four years I have been researching how youth-led CSOs seek financial sustainability, and with what implications for their organisational culture and understanding of social change.

    Carrying out participatory action research with a group of ten youth-led CSOs in Medellin, Colombia we found a sort of double paradox in resourcing youth-led civil society organisations.

    A double paradox

    First, we noticed that youth-led organisations are more likely to want to do work that fits outside the buzzwords of the moment (read: they do not think of following the money). Yet, to do the type of work they value they do need resources.

    If they manage to obtain some of the scarce funding available, they are asked to fit within the cha-cha-cha of funding parameters which often limit their independence - they need to adopt practices that might feel incoherent or set priorities that might not be their own.

    Funding available to youth-led groups is scarceand often comes along with worldviews that disregard the contribution these organisations are making while emphasizing the more ‘technical aspects' of development. The risk is that CSOs will become more homogenous, less able to be in touch and respond to the needs they perceive in their communities.

    They work with the crumbs of funding available, while having to digest the practices and values of a system they would not want to support.

    Many youth-led organisations tend to be critical of our economic system and they would like to be truly independent, while they continue resourcing themselves from within a system that they struggle to fundamentally question - because it feeds them.

    The other option is to generate funding by engaging with the market (e.g. Social entrepreneurship) - but many youth-organizations ask: how can we solve the challenges of a society, that we think are deeply tied to the injustice of the neoliberal economic system, by working with the same logic?

    To make it all more complicated they often associate funding with negative emotions - they might think: ‘we do need funding, but money sucks’. It’s hard to attract funding when you think it sucks.

    In short, the idea of an independent civil society seems redundant.

    Looking at the future of civil society

    A turning point in our research was a two-day participatory foresight workshop. Young civil society leaders and representative from donors’ institutions in Medellin came together to construct a range of eight scenarios for the future of civil society in 2035.

    One of the most striking observations during the workshop was that, across all eight scenarios, participants expected differences between the public, private, and civil society sectors would blur even further.

    Today, CIVICUS defines civil society as: “the arena - outside of the family, the state, and the market - which is created by individual and collective actions, organisations and institutions to advance shared interests”. In short, the current definition of civil society is tied to the idea that there are three sectors.

    As they expected these boundaries between sectors to become thinner, participants were challenged to distil the meaning of civil society. If the structure and resourcing modalities of civil society were to change radically; if CSOs, as we know them today, were to disappear – what would be left of the concept of civil society?

    To explore these scenarios, we had to go back to the essence. Why does civil society matter?

    Across all eight scenarios, civil society was understood by participants as providing opportunities for questioning, reflecting, re-imagining and renewing social values and norms. A discussion on the question “What is the role of Civil Society?” suggested that civil society is a space where alternative values can be articulated, nourished, and explored. Someone argued that civil society seeks to “resist all the pressure to suppress citizens’ ability to express themselves”. Civil society generates well-being: it seeks to work in collaboration with others, it builds strong social ties, it crafts communities. Someone summarised the discussion by stating that civil society “promotes coexistence as intrinsically important”.

    This research pointed out that many young people in Medellin are thirsty for different ways of being together and experiencing alternative community constructions: they are craving meaning. Consciousness, spirituality, and connection with nature were at the core of their work.

    The youth-led CSOs in this study realised that resources matters beyond being instrumental to their work. Through funding, they create ties and conversations with other sectors. As we admitted civil society is not so independent, we realised that CSOs can only sustain themselves when they can co-construct realities with others, so as to pull together resources and energy.

    For this type of work to happen, the current funding logics need to be transcended. Now, this won’t happen overnight - there is a lot to learn.

    Experimenting!

    So the youth-led CSOs that took part in this study are engaging in constant experimenting.

    They seek financial sustainability by trying different strategies that can uphold their views, while learning to engage with market-forces selectively. In other words, they are responding to market forces as a necessity, while trying to uphold their worldview as a way to work toward their visions. We found that the CSOs in this study were developing their ability to also speak the language of the market as a way to expand their opportunities, comprehend their ecosystems, and contribute to shaping it. Meanwhile, they organize rituals, exchange their products and services, build meaningful relationships with people from different institutions, support local artists and artisans, grow their own food, and resist getting in competition with one another. They choose solidarity and collaboration at every corner.

    Civil society cannot afford to sit around and question an economic system without looking to find new ways to sustain itself. We all need to play, experiment and get creative.

    CIVICUS is currently analysing trends and practices of resourcing youth-led groups and movements in Africa and Latin America. We hope to gain more insights on trends and challenges that could provide useful recommendations for both funders and youth-led groups. The analysis will be led by the author of this blog who has been researching extensively on the sustainability of youth-led groups.

    If you’d like to input/engage in this analysis, reach out to

     

     

  • Climate change as a matter of peace

    By Flávia Bellaguarda, Co-Founder and COO,Youth Climate Leaders

    FlaviaThe Youth Climate Leaders (YCL) was honored to be selected to attend the first edition of the Paris Peace Forum, from 11th to 13th November, and to showcase our startup in the environmental village among other 119 projects from all over the world. Youth Climate Leaders would like to give a special "thank you" to CIVICUS for supporting us to attend the Paris Peace Forum. It was a well-organized and bustling event.

    The opening ceremony was full of Heads of State, Heads of Government, and leaders of international organizations. It was a life-time experience to share the same room with President Trudeau, President Macron, President Putin, Chancellor Angela Merkel, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Nobel Peace Nadia Murad, just to name a few. A crucial part of YCL mission is to enable young people worldwide to increasingly occupy those spaces.

    President Macron opened the ceremony stating that the world is in a different path because in the centenary of the 1918 Armistice we had in the same room 84 heads of states peacefully reunited in Paris under the Arc de Triomphe. The Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that peace must be pursed, and the first step is to recognize that the world is facing severe crises. She emphasized the refugee crisis we are facing saying that countries must be united in order to solve the situation providing real support for those in need.

    Additionally, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted that climate change is the biggest challenge of 21st century and that multilateral efforts are crucial for us to take actions as we are gearing up for COP24. He complemented Merkel saying that in the context of climate change, demography and migration issues are the second most important challenge of our century. It reminded me of the amazing lecture that Dr. Caroline Zickgraf gave to us in Paris about the intersection of climate change and the refugee crisis during the #YCL2018Immersion.

    The main purpose of the Paris Peace Forum was thus to produce two primary outputs: testifying and mobilizing in favor of collective action and multilateralism, and advancing concrete projects of global governance. Altogether, the Forum featured three spaces: (1) a Space for Solutions showcasing governance projects in five “Villages” (peace and security, environment, development, new technologies and inclusive economy); (2) a Space for debates where initiatives from the Villages as well as cross-cutting themes were discussed; and (3) a Space for Innovation which invited developers and programmers to devise digital solutions for the identified challenges.

    It was a difficult task to decide which discussion I should participate in, as there were so many interesting topics! Fortunately, the YCL stand was always full of people keen to learn more about our startup and we had the chance to network with amazing people from all over the world. For that reason, I did not have time to participate in a lot of panels, so I chose the panels “Finance for Climate: a Way to go Forward, a Way to go Faster” and “Fleshing out 2250: A Role for Youth in Global Stability”.

    We had three intense days at the Paris Peace Forum, where we could foster important connections to strengthen our ability to solve the challenges mentioned by President Macron. I was happy to hear in the closing ceremony that the next edition of the Paris Peace Forum they will have more open spaces for youth. We were not well represented in many panels, both as speakers and participants, nor as project leaders showcasing projects in the Villages. On the other hand, I was proud to see organizers recognizing this issue and that in order to pursue peace and have a multilateral effort to solve the world problems the youth must be included.

    So, I hope to see many of you on the next edition of the Forum!

     

  • Comment le fond de solidarité de CIVICUS contribue-t-il à la protection des droits de l’Homme au Bénin

    Par Jean-Gilles Gbewouenondo Houmenou

    Date : 6 Novembre 2019
    Pays : Afrique du Sud
    Ville: Johannesburg
    Organisation: CIVICUS
    Evénement : 2017-2022 Plan stratégique : Examen à mi-parcours

    Jean Gilles Gbewouenondo Houmenou

    Le mercredi, 6 novembre passé, j’ai participé  en tant que qu'éducateur/formateur en Droits Humains et membre de l’organisation CIVICUS à l’atelier de révision de la stratégie à mi-parcours de CIVICUS. Cet atelier a été très édifiant pour moi et je me sentais très engagé au cours de cette journée, car pour toute organisation qui veut évoluer, il est important de s'arrêter pour évaluer les outils de fonctionnement ainsi que le travail qui a été réalisé jusque-là, analyser les échecs et les cas succès et voir s'il est important de changer de stratégie de travail ou non. Et ce qu'avait fait CIVICUS ce 06 Novembre 2019. De même, les informations présentées lors de cette journée, m'ont permis de comprendre davantage le travail de CIVICUS, sa mission ainsi que les nouveaux défis auxquels elle est confrontée.  Notons que ce Plan Stratégique 2017-2022 de CIVICUS répond exactement aux besoins urgents de la société civile Béninoise qui est actuellement réduite au mutisme par un régime autoritaire qui foule aux pieds les Droits de l'Homme. Mon travail au Bénin en tant que citoyen est sur deux volets : je milite en tant que consultant/formateur en Droits Humains contre la restriction des libertés publiques et des cas de violation des droits de l'Homme. Je milite également pour le Droit à l'éducation et à une éducation inclusive au Bénin dans mon organisation (LA CHRYSALIDE Association pour l'Intégration des Personnes Handicapées Intellectuelles) en tant que Psychoéducateur. L'objectif est que l'Etat Béninois adopte des décrets pour la mise en application de la Loi N°2017-06 du 29 Septembre 2017 portant à la protection et promotion des Droits des Personnes Handicapées en République du BÉNIN.

    A travers son fond de solidarité, CIVICUS peut aider les organisations du Bénin dans plusieurs domaines spécialement dans le domaine de la promotion et de la protection des droits des personnes handicapées sur la base de son plan stratégique. Ceci permettra de renforcer l’action citoyenne de la société béninoise en matière des droits de l'Homme en général et des droits des personnes handicapées en particulier. Merci de votre engagement. 

     

    Le fond de solidarite de CIVICUS et sa contribution dans la promotion et protection des

     

  • Decluttering Diversity and Inclusion

    French | Spanish

    By Jose Maria “Lloyd” Nunag, Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and CIVICUS member from the Philippines

    ‘What does Diversity and Inclusion means to you?’

    046bc8d0 d141 45db 9af2 8f41668951b1This is a question I have been pondering (and decluttering) in the last few years and even until now. Growing up as a young, queer person from a poor, rural family in the Philippines, and now as a migrant worker in the United Kingdom, my vision of diversity and inclusion has been emerging. Today, I define it as a world where everyone knows and claim their rights in which human rights and justice are enjoyed without discrimination.

    Global Learning Exchange

    In December 2018, I was able to take part in an ambitious CIVICUS programme of work on diversity and inclusion mainstreaming and integration across the civic movement called Global Learning Exchange (GLE) held in Montevideo, Uruguay.

    The program made me build on and re-energised my commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and to transform our ways of working to better meet our strategic aims.

    It aimed to capitalise on the potential of diversity and inclusion across the CIVICUS movement and beyond: to create space for dialogue and peer-to-peer sharing among the participants; to identify effective approaches that can contribute to social justice; AND to strengthen ways of working, including sharing good practices as well as joint strategising, within the global CIVICUS CSO (Civil Society Organisations) network.

    What have I learned?

    In this learning journey towards a more accountable civil society sector, I have realised that we need to successfully challenge the inequality, structural oppression and intersectional discrimination which shapes our societies and is the primary cause of human rights violations. How effective we are in meeting these challenges will depend heavily on our own ability to understand these forces; to confront them and find ways to counteract their impact within the civil society movement and our ways of working; as well as meaningfully raising the voices of people who are marginalised around the world. Continually striving for excellence on how we mainstream and integrate diversity and inclusion in our work is therefore of fundamental importance to our aim of building a truly global movement for justice and human rights.

    Highlights and Recommendations

    In order to help implement this work that CIVICUS is doing, they gathered more than 15 informed and dynamic individuals who, through their experience and expertise, can help improve CIVICUS and partner CSOs’ culture, ways of working and impact so that we can better challenge structural inequalities and oppression, intersectional discrimination and demonising narratives. Hence the Global Learning Exchange (GLE) happened.

    As one of the participants in the GLE, I hope the steps that would be undertaken as a result of this program will be guided by the overarching goals and principles of:

    -promoting social justice and human rights

    -recognising and making visible that different aspects of people’s identities and lives interact to structurally affect their experiences of discrimination, marginalisation, privilege, and power.

    -making CIVICUS and other CSOs a better organisation to work with for staff, volunteers, and partners who experience systemic discrimination

    -transformation, not tokenism

    Overall, I would like to affirm the importance of CIVICUS’ efforts to improve its practices, culture, and outcomes with respect to diversity and inclusion, prioritising improvements related to their ways of working, governance, and areas of acute and chronic issues.

    I didn’t expect the event to have this kind of positive effect on my personal life; it’s pretty cool to derive personal benefits from an advocacy project.

    What’s next? Be involved?

    Over the next few months, CIVICUS is piloting a network alliance on diversity and inclusion. This would entail regular calls or communication, providing some time and expertise on Diversity & Inclusion for civil society and working towards a common commitment of dynamic accountability and support. If you would like to discuss this program in more detail please contact: Suhani Bhushan on . We are hoping this will be a participative process from inception.

     

     

  • Desde Perú a Bélgica, juntos somos más Fuertes

    English 

    Por Jorge Vallejo, de la Red Latinoamericana de Jóvenes por la Democracia, Peru, y miembro de la delegación de CIVICUS al foro de asociación de la CE 2018.

    partnershipforum4Para mí fue una enorme satisfacción recibir la confirmación de haber sido seleccionado al Partnership Forum 2018 de la Unión Europea gracias a la convocatoria que lanzó CIVICUS. Recuerdo que la noche en que preparaba mi postulación era el día previo al inicio en Lima de la semana de la Cumbre de las Américas en la cual mi organización, la Red Latinoamericana de Jóvenes por la Democracia, tuvo participación. Ser notificado semanas después de que estaba invitado también al Partnership de la Unión Europea fue una gran alegría. Así, este año, a ambos lados del charco, tuve la oportunidad de seguir buscando alianzas estratégicas entre actores para el fortalecimiento de nuestras democracias y el respeto de las libertades, generando más ciudadanía para la vida comunitaria. Eso fue lo que me motivó a presentarme, y el foro me ha brindado una perspectiva más global en los temas y con más herramientas en dicho trabajo, escuchando valiosas experiencias de los 5 continentes.

    Entre nuevos aprendizajes y nuevos retos

    Ahí estábamos con Lusanda (Sudáfrica), Pek (Bután), Ekaterina (desde Kuwait) y Cathryn del equipo CIVICUS ¡los viajeros ya en Bruselas! Punto resaltante en la reunión ha sido la Agenda 2030 y el hacer que los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible lleguen a un aterrizaje local que permita efectivamente “no dejar a nadie atrás”, remarcando la relevancia de las alianzas para alcanzar objetivos (ODS 17). Hay muchos casos por mencionar, pero quisiera en este espacio hablar de la experiencia de Senegal y sus presupuestos participativos, teniendo una “certificación ciudadana” como evaluación para la acreditación de los actores locales como buenos administradores de recursos, algo rescatable y replicable en camino a la transparencia (Aliou Sow, Presidente de la Comisión del Alto Consejo de las Autoridades locales y regionales de Senegal).

     

  • Digitaalinen turvallisuus kuuluu kaikille

    English

    Auli Starck, Kepa, Suomi, CIVICUS-jäsenjärjestö

    DigitalSecurity FollowupGDPR-viestit, uutiset Facebookin tietoturvaongelmista ja sähköpostin tietojenkalasteluviesteiltä. Oman yksityisyyden suojaaminen on digitalisaation myötä yhä olennaisempaa myös kansalaisjärjestöille.

    Mutta miten digitaalinen turvallisuus liittyy kansalaisyhteiskunnan tilaan? Parhaimmillaan se tukee sananvapautta ja turvaa kansalaisyhteiskunnan oikeudet toimia. Pahimmillaan sen puute on turvallisuusriski. Digitaalinen turvallisuus on kuitenkin myös paljon muuta.

    Osallistuin kesäkuun alussa Civicuksen ja Access Now:n koulutukseen digitaalisesta turvallisuudesta ja sen linkittymisestä kansalaislaisyhteiskunnan tilaan. Armeniassa järjestettyyn koulukseen osallistui Euroopasta ja Aasiasta kattojärjestöjen edustajia sekä ruohonjuuritason toimijoita ja aktivisteja, joiden toimintamahdollisuuksia ja jopa turvallisuutta riittämätön tietoturva uhkaa.

    Itse mietin koulutuksen aikana digitaalista turvallisuutta pitkälti siltä kannalta, miten meidän suomalaisten järjestöjen kannattaisi toimia, jotta emme tahtomattamme aseta kumppaneitamme vaaraan. Kun toimitaan maissa, joissa internetin käyttöä rajoitetaan, puhelimia kuunnellaan, sähköpostia seurataan ja viestintää sensuroidaan, on tärkeää tiedostaa ja ennaltaehkäistä riskit. Näillä vinkeillä voit lähteä liikkeelle:

     

  • European Youth Event 2018: from reflection to action

    By Elena Ceban, Center for Intercultural Dialogue

    European Youth EventImagine a space where over 8000 young people would come together to discuss, debate, share their opinions on political, social and cultural issues and have a dialogue with policy makers on how the life of young people can be improved. This space is the European Youth Event, a festival held every two years that celebrates youth participation in one of the most beautiful ways possible. It brings together youth from all over Europe and beyond for a 2-day marathon of discussions, sessions, workshops, musical/theatre/circus performances, rap battles, games and simulations, all with the purpose of bridging the gap between youth and policy-makers, and collecting fresh and innovative ideas on how to improve the life of Europeans in all aspects, whether economic, social and labor-related, environmental protection or political participation. The event is held inside and next to the European Parliament, which means that for 2 days the whole space around the European Parliament turns into a vibrant hub of energy, laughter, good vibes, music and positivity.

    This year´s edition of the EYE revolved around the motto: "The plan is to fan this spark into a flame" (Hamilton, My Shot), and covered the following topics: keeping up with the digital revolution, calling for a fair share, working out for a stronger Europe, staying alive in turbulent times and protecting our planet.

    It was amazing that so many young people could benefit from the opportunity of sharing the same space with decision-makers and learning more about how their ideas can shape the future of Europe. What was even more incredible was that the programme was shaped by the young people themselves! In a complex procedure that starts way before the event, youth organisations and youth groups are invited to apply with an idea for a workshop or activity that covers one of the topics mentioned above. This feature creates an amazing diversity of methodologies used for the proposed activities, and the participants get the chance to meet and learn about the work of multiple national and international youth organisations from Europe.

     

  • Faire partie de CIVICUS nous a permis de défendre les droits des prisonniers au Burundi

    English | Spanish  

    A l’occasion des25 ans de CIVICUS, SABUSHIMIKE Mamert, Président del'Association des Amis de la Nature (AAN) et chargé de la communication et du plaidoyer au sein de la Coalition du Burundi pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme, exprime comment faire partie de CIVICUS -l’Alliance Mondiale pour la participation des citoyens – a permis à son association d’avoir un impact pour l’amélioration des conditions des prisonniers au Burundi et le respect de leurs droits. @mamertsabushim   

    Faire partie de l’Alliance Mondiale pour la participation des citoyens (CIVICUS) est une innovation importante et une très bonne chose pour moi, pour les membres de mon organisation : Association des Amis de la Nature et pour certains prisonniers du Burundi.

    J’ai reçu de nouvelles connaissances en plaidoyer grâce à CIVICUS, qui ont été à la base de l’amélioration des conditions de vie, d’hygiène et d’assainissement des prisonniers du Burundi, particulièrement dans la principale prison du pays MPIMBA qui enfermait 3664 détenus en janvier 2018 avec une capacité d’accueil de 800 détenus.

     

  • Global Citizenship Education as a Sustainable Development course: My first class

    By Claudia Cassoma, writer, student in special education and teaching and CIVICUS member

    Claudia2Considering Sustainable Development as the program of study, the major, perhaps the end goal; let's look at Global Citizenship Education as the required course and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the elective ones.

    On 3 October, I attended my first ‘class’ on Global Citizenship Education. It was held at the lavishly elegant Les Atéliers des Tanneurs, in Brussels, and wAas conducted by Bridge 47, a network of experts on the seventh target of the fourth Sustainable Development Goal, quality education. The classroom was filled with minds from different points of the world thirsty for knowledge. I did wish it was a little more culturally diverse; nonetheless, I loved that from the very beginning I felt inspired. From The Leap Manifesto, Maya Menezes opened the meeting with a simple sounding yet highly potent line that left me thinking ‘til the end. In her words, to change everything we need everyone. I held that in the muddle of my mind as I lived through that remarkable experience.

    As we continued “unlocking the power of 4.7.” and deciphering the role of “Global Citizenship Education in achieving sustainable development” I was thinking about the most impactful way to deliver my own presentation. Yes! On the very first day of class I already had a presentation due. Being placed under the “changemakers” session was a responsibility I did not take lightly. I went in insisting on delivering nothing less than a true “story of impact”. I had an idea of what I wanted to say; however, as I got to observe the room and listen to all of those brilliant minds, that idea started conflicting with the question I had during my preparations: What exactly is ‘Global Citizenship Education’ and why does it matter to me as educator, humanitarian and as citizen of a country that barely knows the SDGs?

     

  • How ICSW empowered me to become a better activist

    By Augustine Macarthy, Sierra Leone

    AugustineLast month, I had the opportunity to attend International Civil Society Week 2019 (ICSW). It was a turning point for me, as my participation gave me the opportunity to share experiences and ideas with brilliant civil society representatives from every corner of the world. The event built my skills and gave me access to tools and resources that will effectively steer my future work.

    Firstly, this year’s theme, “The Power of Togetherness,” helped me better understand the relevance and impact of collaboration. Building alliances with other civil society actors, stakeholders and community members which will contribute towards a sustainable civil space and strengthen our interventions. Collaboration and co-creation are key in responding to some of the pressing challenges we face as activists.

    ICSW 2019 also helped me realize the scope of the challenges facing civil society in an increasingly restrictive civic space. Activists have it harder than ever: according to the CIVICUS Monitor, nearly six in ten countries globally are severely impeding on people’s freedom to protest, engage in activism and defend human rights. In this context, collaboration is key. Working together will be essential in   ensuring respect to civic space. This event has inspired me to keep the momentum and continue promoting civic freedoms. Human rights are fundamental and universal, and defending them is crucial in order to  initiate changes and address social issues.

    As per the sessions, one that turned out to be particularly useful for me was organized by Bridge47. Under the title “Global Citizenship Education: the Power of Sharing Power,” the event inspired me with new ideas and resources for collaboration. Moreover, this session introduced me to the concept of Global Citizenship Education, a transformative approach meant to develop the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes needed for a more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable world. Since I am involved in an education, peacebuilding and youth organization, becoming acquainted with this concept has been a crucial development, and I will definitely use the learnings from this session to improve our strategies.

    One of the most inspirational stories I heard came from Dessy Aliandrina, Executive Director at Sociopreneur Indonesia. Dessy uses entrepreneurship and innovation to boost the creativity of the young generation in Indonesia. Through education and experimentation, her organization fosters an environment where future entrepreneurial leaders can thrive and create the jobs that are required to solve people’s problems. This is a fundamental undertaking: not only does Dessy help ensure the availability of crucial skills to tackle important challenges, but she also plays an important role in training Indonesian youth to boost their self-reliance and realize their potential.

    Furthermore, my organization Movement towards Education and Youth Empowerment-Sierra Leone was one of the six partners that helped plan the Youth Assembly, which took place the weekend before ICSW in Novi Sad, Serbia. As a planning team member, I had the privilege of working for four months with a group of very bright youth leaders from across the world. We were tasked with designing a program that would strengthen young activists’ skills to become resilient against threats and more effective in responding to other challenges. This not only gave all of us the opportunity to share ideas ahead of the event, but it also enhanced my ability to take action, use my creativity, and improve my communication skills.

    As a young changemaker, I will employ all this knowledge and skills and I will tap into the networks I contacted during the event. My community is experiencing pressing humanitarian crises, and the strategies we develop to respond to them will be largely informed by learnings from ICSW 2019.

    If you would like to connect with Augustine, you can find him on Facebook.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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