Communicating with impact

With the CIVICUS World Assembly just over a week away, I’ve started to explore the programme and identify those activities that interest me the most. One that stands out is a workshop being hosted by representatives from the Inter Press Services (IPS) and Al Jazeera around advocacy communication in the context of the increasing role played by social media.

While I am fascinated by the impact and role of social media, I often find myself wondering whether there all the attention on new trends like social media takes attention away from the more fundamental questions and challenges for civil society’s communication efforts. This feeling is echoed by Mario Lubetkin in his recent article on the need for civil society to communicate with impact. Continue reading

Meet CIVICUS World Assembly 2011 Bloggers

Bloggers, passionate about CIVICUS’ goal of a just world, spend time sharing thoughts, analysis and opinions on issues around this theme in the CIVICUS World Assembly blog: http://citizenshift.org/blogs/civicus; in this podcast invites all to the World Assembly in Monytreal next month

Tipping Points: Tripoli, Delhi, DC, Montreal?

Events with far-reaching consequences unfolded this week as people power regained momentum that had appeared to wane after initial successes in Tunisia and Egypt. In Libya, the six month-long struggle to dislodge the tyranny of Muammar Qaddafi entered its endgame. In India, the movement to ensure effective legislation to create a powerful anti-corruption ombudsperson swelled, drawing unprecedented support from an urban middle class constituency that has seemed apathetic and cynical with regard to politics in recent times. In Washington DC, protestors against a proposed pipeline that would transport tar sands oil from Canada adopted civil disobedience strategies that haven’t been seen in those surroundings for a while. Continue reading

Meltdown – Economic, Social and Political

As India commemorated 64 years of independence this week, hundreds of activists were jailed for their attempts to protest proposed legislation to create a super ombudsperson to tackle corruption. In the UK, individuals have been arrested for allegedly using social networks to organise the recent riots. In California, internet access was jammed to prevent the organisation of protests. Continue reading

CIVICUS reaches out to the Caribbean

By Ciana-Marie Pegus

On Friday 12 August, CIVICUS hosted a lively discussion organised by teleconference on strengthening civil society and citizen action in the Caribbean. Seasoned civil society experts and dynamic young people came together to share their concerns and aspirations for the region.

CIVICUS Board Member and regional ambassador Amsale Maryam, Chairperson of the Jamaican Association of Development Agencies, welcomed the participants and reflected on both the diversity of the Caribbean as a multilingual, pluri-ethnic region with different political structures and levels of development and the commonality of the challenges faced by the Caribbean as small island states in the 21st century. The need for a development strategy in line with citizens’ interests was highlighted by insightful presentations delivered by friends of CIVICUS in the region. Continue reading

Failing to respond to the mounting threats

A recurrent theme at the Interaction Forum in Washington DC has been the growing constraints on civil society space across activities and countries. Humanitarian agencies working in the Horn of Africa and in conflict zones around the world are experiencing unprecedented barriers to their work from non-state actors and governments alike.

In Washington DC I met Lun Borithy of the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia  who reiterated the urgent need for international intervention to stay the imminent NGO regulatory legislation being proposed in Cambodia. CIVICUS and others have tried to little avail to press the Cambodian government to include civil society input to the draft legislation which, if passed, would hamper even the simplest forms of citizen association and permit the government near unlimited powers to harass, intimidate and muzzle groups who are in any way critical of it. Other participants at the Interaction Forum, from North and South, were no less insistent that urgent, concerted action is necessary. Continue reading

‘Yes we must!’ Not ‘Yes we can!’

Last week, in my role as CIVICUS’ Gender and Diversity Mainstreaming Officer, I attended the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance meeting and the re-launch 50/50 campaign in Harare, Zimbabwe. The following are my reflections from the event.

The recent meeting in Zimbabwe was hosted by Genderlinks and Women in Politics Support Unit (WIPSU) to learn how countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region have been taking the gender agenda forward, to share the gender barometer and to learn about the 50/50 campaign for gender parity in government. With a keynote address by Dr. Olivia Muchena, the Zimbabwean Minister for Woman Affairs and Community Development, the meeting was attended by members of the SADC Gender Protocol Governance Cluster, partners of Genderlinks and WIPSU and local government officials. Continue reading

CIVICUS World Assembly: Are you ready for Montreal?

In Johannesburg and in Montreal, the CIVICUS World Assembly team has all but forgotten what their families and friends look like, but as the clock ticks down to the global event, its attendance list reads like a who’s who of the civil society “world.”

It’s official. It’s now exactly one month until an expected 900 plus civil society enthusiasts descend on the cobbled streets of Montreal for the CIVICUS World Assembly. Specialised workshop sessions have risen to 48, nearly double the number the event has held before. Accommodation in the Canadian city has been all but booked up under names like Google, Al Jazeera, the World Bank, UNDP, Oxfam and ActionAid among many others. Continue reading

Sri Mulyani Indrawati to attend the CIVICUS World Assembly

The 2011 CIVICUS World Assembly is only 1 month away and the planning is kicking up into high gear!  One exciting new development is that Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director at the World Bank and former Finance Minister in Indonesia, will be speaking at the first plenary called “Civil Society’s Role in Political and Social Transformation: Before and After the Revolution.”

Indrawati recently wrote an editorial entitle “Winning the Transition” which provides some incite into how she will address this topic. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Winning the Transition

Is the Arab Spring turning into a gloomy autumn? With brutal crackdowns in Syria, a bloody civil war in Libya, and Yemen teetering on the brink of chaos, the number of skeptics is growing. Although Egypt and Tunisia’s pro-democracy movements achieved rapid regime change, uncertainties remain in those countries, too. After a brief period of hope, many observers now wonder whether the region is capable of producing viable, and economically vibrant, democracies. Read more.