Project Implementation Stages:
1. Project Implementation
2.1 Identify Advisory Committee (AC) Members & Establish AC (formerly the NAG)
The National Implementation Team (NIT) carries out a preliminary stakeholder analysis and identifies the 12-20 individuals to form the in-country Advisory Committee (AC), which should represent diverse civil society and other stakeholder groups. The AC’s primary role is to provide overall guidance and assistance to the NIT in implementing the project. AC members should act as ‘ambassadors’ for the CSI and are expected to raise awareness and build support for the CSI among their constituencies and the broader public.
2.2 Hold 1st AC Meeting
The broad objectives of the first AC meeting are to invite feedback, validation and make decisions on conducted and upcoming research activities; Construct a Perception Diamond: The purpose of this exercise is to set a perception baseline of the current state of civil society that will be compared with the CSI project findings.
2.3 Conduct Organisational Survey and Analyse Data
The purpose of the organisational survey is to fill data gaps at the meso-level relating to the operations and governance of CSOs, among other items. These data will help to assess primarily three of the dimensions: Level of Organisation, Practice of Values, and Perception of Impact.
2.4 Conduct External Perceptions Survey and Analyse Data
One of the most important dimensions, but perhaps also the most difficult to establish, is the impact of civil society. One way to answer this within the CSI is a survey of 30-50 stakeholders and experts in key sectors about their perception of civil society’s impact.
2.5 Conduct Population Survey and Analyse Data
If current data are not available (e.g., World Values Survey 2005) on, among other items, the value dispositions of individuals, their activities within civil society, and their attitudes towards civil society, CIVICUS recommends that the NCO implement a population survey in order to ensure data comparability and to use the most up-to-date information to inform the country report and policy brief.
2.6 Assemble Data and Construct Civil Society Diamond
Once all primary data collection is completed, the NIT should assemble all quantitative findings from the surveys and secondary data sources and enter the results in the CSI Indicator Data Matrix.
2.7 Conduct Case Studies and Draft Case Study Report
The case studies are the qualitative counterpart to the Diamond, and allow the NCO to conduct an in-depth, systematic analysis of specific issues or aspects that might not be captured adequately by the quantitative data and to draw out and explore the strengths and weaknesses of civil society. As such, the case studies are not an optional part of the CSI methodology, but rather a critical input to develop a more complete picture of the state of civil society.
2.8 Hold Regional Focus Group Meetings
The objective of the regional focus group meetings are to couple research with action. The regional focus group discussions should concentrate on comparing the findings of the research (see Data Diamond) to the Perception Diamond generated by the AC at the onset of the project. Furthermore, the discussion should explore the main strengths and weaknesses of civil society in the country.
2.9 Hold 2nd AC Meeting
Once the data collection and the focus group meetings are completed, the AC should be brought together again to review and discuss as a group the findings. The purposes of this meeting are to place the findings in the context of the initial perceptions discussion, to assess the validity of the findings, and to define possible ways forward to be discussed at the National Workshop.
3. Project Validation, Analysis and Dissemination
3.1 Preparing and Holding the National Workshop
The National Workshop aims to bring together a broad range of civil society actors and partners in government, the business community, media, the donor community and academia to discuss the CSI findings, identify strengths and weaknesses of civil society and plan appropriate strengthening initiatives. It is meant to build a common understanding of the current state of civil society and a joint action agenda for civil society strengthening initiatives.
3.2 Data Analysis and Drafting Project Outputs
The two main outputs of the CSI are the Analytical Country Report and the Policy Action Brief. Both documents should be produced in the local language and in English, the cost for which would also need to be reflected in the project budget. The action brief, which is aimed at policy makers and a general audience, should present, in no more than 10 pages, the main findings, strengths, weaknesses and action agenda for the strengthening of civil society.
As a basic start in disseminating the results of the CSI implementation process, the analytical country report can be shared with key stakeholders, as identified by the NCO, whereas the action brief should be used for wider dissemination as the analytical country report will provide a greater level of detail and will serve as reference mostly for the actors that would be directly involved in steering the process for implementation of key recommendations and civil society strengthening activities. A press conference should be held to publicly launch the action brief. This event should be promoted via press release sent to the relevant media.
Thorough evaluation of the CSI implementation process should be undertaken with a view to answering the following questions:
- How would you assess the CSI implementation process?
- How would you evaluate CIVICUS’ coordination and assistance?