WHO WE ARE
CIVICUS is a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world.
We were established in 1993 and since 2002 have been proudly headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with additional hubs across the globe. We are a membership alliance with more than 9,000 members in more than 175 countries.
Our definition of civil society is broad and covers non-governmental organisations, activists, civil society coalitions and networks, protest and social movements, voluntary bodies, campaigning organisations, charities, faith-based groups, trade unions and philanthropic foundations. Our membership is diverse, spanning a wide range of issues, sizes and organisation types.
Our Unique Contribution to Change
At CIVICUS, our identity is informed by:
- Our diverse global membership, with a strong presence in the global south.
- Our clear mandate to defend civic space and promote civil society.
- Our focus on strengthening citizen action and civil society writ large, working across issues, geographies and organisation types.
- Our role as a trusted convener and thought leader on civil society issues and trends.
- Our ability to amplify civil society voices and enable activists and organisations to speak truth to power.
- Our commitment to standing in solidarity with actors across civil society.
- Our capacity to incubate and support ambitious strategies and initiatives to improve civil society’s
- effectiveness and inclusivity.
Our work at CIVICUS is guided by these values and principles:
- We believe in justice and dignity for all, while putting the most excluded first.
- We believe that people and their organisations, working together, can change the world.
- We stand for a strong, independent and progressive civil society.
- We challenge power with principled courage.
- We are champions of accountability, diversity and inclusion.
- We are committed to global solidarity and believe in building from below and beyond borders.
- We seek systems change to tackle the universal and inter-related nature of the world’s most pressing challenges.
CIVICUS overarching goal is to strengthen civil society and citizen action for expanded civic and democratic space. For this period, we will work centering on five core objectives.
We will continue to produce and disseminate timely information on threats to civic and democratic space and develop new tools to track civil society action and to make a stronger case for how civic actions challenge inequality and injustice. We will curate data and information on civic and democratic space in compelling ways, anticipate impending restrictions and enhance our focus on actionable recommendations.
We will strengthen our ability to coordinate and sustain targeted advocacy for civic and democratic space. We will catalyse civic action for greater advocacy impact across borders and at scale, influencing relevant decision-making processes and holding public and private institutions accountable.
We will find and validate meaningful ways to support activists and organisations through solidarity, improved support mechanisms, and better relationships with the various stakeholders in the resourcing ecosystem, and work to better understand how to support and sustain civil society offline and online. We will support effective civil society resourcing and infrastructure across locations.
We will work more purposefully to shape and influence public discourse on civic and democratic space. We will develop and amplify people-centred narratives of change, focusing on the significant contributions of activists, peaceful protests, and social movements, online and offline platforms.
We will actively forge alliances with groups that are most affected by civic and democratic space restrictions and structural forms of discrimination. We will strategically convene diverse groups and coalitions and support civil society to challenge unjust social norms and build greater public trust.
How we make a difference:
Drawing on over 20 years of experience, we are working to build on our strengths while also exploring new ways of working. Given the nature and extent of the challenges facing humanity, it is our responsibility to take bold and brave action, and to strengthen citizen action and civil society by:
- Building solidarity among civil society across borders and at scale
- Supporting civil society to connect with others
- Producing timely and world-class knowledge and analysis
- Advocating for open spaces and systemic change
- Amplifying voices of those usually not included
- Promoting resourcing of diverse and resilient civil society
- Innovating and incubate bold initiatives
- Promote, model and disseminate civil society best practice