Hivos International

Civil Society

The world is not working well. For more and more people, life is unfair and insecure. In fact, for years now the global future has looked less rather than more politically certain, financially stable and ecologically viable. CDC introduces novel ideas about citizen efforts that can turn this alarming reality around. 

Since the late 1990s, the prospect of using ICT (Information Communication Technologies) to improve accountability, transparency, access to information, and monitoring authorities has attracted general optimism. However, early hopes that e-initiatives would be the panacea of all the problems have given way to more modest claims. An aspect that has not received much attention so far is the use of ICT in support to citizen agency; to involve and inform communities and interact with and influence authorities.

This policy brief describes the thinking behind and motives for a group of Dutch private aid agencies to support and help design the Civic-Driven Change Initiative.

This brief explores assessing risk in organizing civic-driven action. The exercise of citizens’ agency needs to be informed by a mapping of power/relations – class, caste, gender, space – amongst others. In addition, adequate support is called for to translate processes that increase people’s critical awareness into practical action without making those who take risks to change society more vulnerable in the process.

This policy brief explores the emergence of organizing as a method of citizen action for change, as it differs from mobilizing and other approaches to problem-solving. The focus of organizing is on developing civic agency as a central element of work on concrete issues. Civic agency is defined as capacities for self-directed collective action in open settings with no predetermined outcomes but a general orientation to the common good.covery’ of civic agency in aided development.

The Civic-Driven Change (CDC) Initiative provides a story and frame of reference which can add value to the work of (private) aid agencies. However, aid agencies vary, and the stage of development of this understanding - which competes with other methods - is such that a first engagement with CDC would be for agencies to critically reflect on their ‘being’ and ‘doing’ as civic agents of change. In focusing on what this might mean in practice, this briefing paper draws on essay 10 in the CDC volume and complements others policy briefs. It is not prescriptive. Illustrations of what CDC could entail for development strategy, principles and practices can help initiate public discussion, foster organizational debate and invite ‘rediscovery’ of civic agency in aided development.

This Policy Brief introduces civic-driven change (CDC) as conceived by the ISS initiative. It describes major concepts, terms and arguments. In addition it explains basic principles, preconditions and areas of disagreement. It addresses frequently asked questions (FAQs) that surround the concept.

This essay summarizes the features of civic driven change emerging from the essays that could give value to the being and doing of private aid agencies. It then focuses on the ‘Monday morning’ question of steps that agencies can take to consider adopting a CDC discourse and approach and types of measures that would help with strategy and practical implementation.

What happens when organisations within civil society ally transnationally with agendas that counter prevailing global political projects? Explanation of debates and struggles within the World Social Forum provides valuable insights and lessons about pursuing democratic processes of reform for global social justice.

Within the context of Asia, this essay tackles the prevention and erosion of democratic practices, abetted by mass media which portrays civic agency as a negative force for social justice. Attention focuses on the commercialisation of the public sphere and roots of political culture that endorse authoritarian leadership. The author describes strategies, methods and experiences that deepen democracy beyond confinement by electoral politics.