Resilient Roots


  • #SiConLasOSC - Yes with CSOs!

    By Oriana Castillo, CIVICUS

    In July 2019, the VUKA! Coalition, a group working to coordinate civil society actors to reclaim civic space across the globe, supported VUKA! ally Alternativas y Capacidades to bring together 25 CSOs from across Mexico for a pilot workshop on strategies to counteract the stigmatisation and demonisation of civil society in the country.

    Ori blog

    There is a growing perception of insecurity and corruption in the country, which has affected everything, including public perceptions of CSOs.[1] Mexico’s corruption index, as announced by Transparency International, is one of the worst in the region.[2] Furthermore, the CIVICUS Monitor lists Mexico’s civic space as “Restricted”, with many CSOs facing surveillance, harassment and intimidation from the government or other non-state actors like organised crime groups like the drug cartels.[3] One tactic used by actors who are trying to avoid scrutiny from CSOs is to undermine their legitimacy via campaigns to discredit their work and leaders, which has contributed to a narrative that CSOs are also part of the country’s corruption problem.

    Therefore despite a fairly strong institutional framework on paper, much of the country continues to lack a political and legal culture in which CSOs are able to operate freely and hold decision makers to account.[4] In order to maintain their independence from those in power, there is therefore much onus on CSOs to be transparent and rigorous in their approaches, as well as vigorously defend their space and access to resources.

    Against this backdrop, the workshop brought participants together to explore ways to directly confront the discrediting messages they face. This included via campaigns to share impact stories through videos and other accessible formats, to change the narrative about the role and work of Mexican civil society. As a next step, allies in Mexico created a civil society campaign called #SiConLasOSC (Yes with CSOs), which currently involves more than 200 groups. In particular, #SiConLasOSC aims to rebuild trust and awareness of the role CSOs play in the community and the positive effects their work has in the country.

    For example, CSOs are currently generating the equivalent of 3% of Mexico’s GDP and reinvesting that money in promoting social welfare, providing public services such as education and health to vulnerable population groups, renewing and safeguarding the environment, and preventing domestic violence directed towards women and children.[5]

    One of the coalition’s strengths is the diversity and plurality it represents, with a presence throughout the country, and most importantly, a clear understanding of the needs of the population. Now more than 1.5 million people work for organisations involved in the campaign, who have a further 2 million volunteers all around the country.

    They have gained legitimacy by listening to those communities they seek to represent, but also by working together they have generated fresh momentum for their respective causes. The organisation Fondo Guadalupe Musalem, for instance, which advocates for women’s rights, is helping members of indigenous groups to access formal education. Whereas another organisation, ASHOKA, created an alliance with American Express to host a workshop on Social Entrepreneurship for Development, in order to address needs related to income generation identified by the communities they work with.

    The support these organisations give to the excluded communities has proven to be effective in reclaiming spaces and overcoming previously hostile attitudes and perceived connections to the corruption and waste that continues to contribute to poverty, violence and lack of access to health and educational services.

    By bridging divisions, offering support, and fighting government laws that promote the use of “legitimate” force against protests, for example, the organisations involved in the campaign are attempting to strengthen a culture of citizen participation, accountability, and create a sense of community. Furthermore, the coalition has accrued legitimacy by constantly demonstrating how they are spending and investing their money, and explicitly communicating how their activities are helping community-embedded CSOs in Mexico to flourish. And, in doing so, they continue to say “yes with CSOs” and the fight for further public support. #SiConLasOSC!


    [1] Una fotografía de la Sociedad Civil en México

    [2] México detiene caída en el Índice de Percepción de la Corrupción: Transparencia Mexicana

    [3] CIVICUS Monitor: Mexico

    [4] Una fotografía de la Sociedad Civil en México

    [5] Picture translated by the authors. For the original version please visit Alternativas y Capacidades


  • 10 astuces pour recueillir un retour d'information auprès de vos principales parties prenantes

    Resilient Roots : s’approprier la boucle de rétroaction - Partie 2/5 « Collecte »


    Par Isabelle Büchner (Accountable Now) et Belén Giaquinta (CIVICUS)

    RR Blog2 FRN

    Dans le premier billet de cette série, nous avons partagé les 10 étapes pour créer voter mécanisme de retour d'information sur la redevabilité. Nous y avons abordé la manière de fixer vos objectifs et de restructurer l'infrastructure et les ressources nécessaires pour mener a bien votre travail. Si vous ne l'avez pas lu, nous vous conseillons de le parcourire avant de passer à l'étape suivante: recueillir le retour d'information.

    Dans cette deuxième partie de notre série de billets sur les mécanismes de retour d'information sur la redevabilité, nous souhaitons partager les défis communs auxquels nos partenaires Resilient Roots ont été confrontés en recueillant le retour d'information auprès de leurs principales parties prenantes, et vous donner quelques astuces pour rendre cette démarche utile. Vous contenter de recueillir le retour d'information ne fera pas de vous une organisation plus redevable, il est donc important de bien définir les données que le retour d'information doit réunir. Cela peut vous aider à déterminer les méthodes et les moyens de communication à utiliser, ainsi que les questions à poser. Tous ces aspects, ainsi que les 10 astuces suivantes, rendront votre collecte de retour d'information plus fructueuse, inclusive et productive. Par ailleurs, cela aidera votre organisation à établir une relation de confiance avec vos parties prenantes !

    Lire l'article en entier


  • 10 conseils pour « rectifier le cours » de votre mécanisme de retour d’informations sur la redevabilité

    Resilient Roots: Conquérir la boucle de rétroaction - Partie 5 de 5 : « La rectification du cours »

    Rédigé par Isabelle Büchner et Belén Giaquinta (CIVICUS)

    french blog 5 infograohic

    Cette série de blogs en cinq parties vise à briser ce processus autant que possible, d'aller au-delà des discussions théoriques sur la façon d'altérer le pouvoir au sein du secteur de la société civile et de proposer des solutions pratiques pour changer la culture organisationnelle par le biais du retour d'informations. Dans la dernière étape de la boucle de rétroaction, que nous appelons « la rectification du cours », nous misons sur les enseignements du processus de rétroaction que nous avons suivi, et utilisons ces connaissances pour informer les changements dans les structures et l'orientation stratégique de nos organisations (et le processus de rétroaction lui-même). Les 10 conseils suivants décriront comment aborder ce processus crucial, pour favoriser le changement de culture et vraiment mettre vos principales parties prenantes aux commandes de votre travail.

    Lire l'article entier


  • 10 conseils pour analyser les retours d’informations de vos principales parties prenantes

    Resilient Roots : conquérir la boucle de rétroaction - Partie 3 de 4 : « L’analyse »

    Rédigé par Isabelle Büchner et Belén Giaquinta (CIVICUS)

    RR 10conseilspouranalyser part3of5 FRN

    Dans le cadre de l'initiative Resilient Roots, 14 organisations du monde entier mènent actuellement des projets pilotes pour tester de nouveaux mécanismes de redevabilité envers les principales parties prenantes. Dans la plupart des cas, ces mécanismes se concentrent sur la collecte et l'utilisation des retours d‘informations des principales parties prenantes de chaque organisation.

    Le retour d’informations est un élément important de l'amélioration de la redevabilité, et pour que ce processus soit significatif, les mécanismes de retour d’informations doivent inclure les 5 étapes d'une boucle de rétroaction fermée. Vous pouvez en savoir plus sur la redevabilité envers les principales parties prenantes dans cet article de blog et en savoir plus sur la « fermeture des boucles de rétroaction » dans cette vidéo de 2 minutes.

    Dans cette série d’articles de blog, nous voulons mettre en évidence certaines considérations clés pour chaque étape de la boucle de rétroaction, et partager des solutions aux défis communs et des conseils simples qui peuvent vous aider à exploiter le retour d’informations pour améliorer la redevabilité envers les principales parties prenantes. Pour illustrer ce processus, nous utilisons des exemples et des enseignements tirés des projets pilotes de Resilient Roots.

    Êtes-vous prêts ? Commençons alors !

    Lire l'article en entier


  • 10 Steps to design your accountability feedback mechanism

    Español | French

    Resilient Roots: conquering the feedback loop - Part 1 of 5: “Design”

    By Isabelle Büchner (Accountable Now) and Belén Giaquinta (CIVICUS)

    AAA Blog Infographic

    In the Resilient Roots initiative, 14 organisations from all over the world are running pilot projects to test new primary constituent accountability mechanisms. In most cases, these mechanisms focus on collecting and using feedback from the key constituents of each organisation.

    Feedback is an important element of improving accountability, and for this process to be meaningful feedback mechanisms must include all 5 stages of a closed feedback loop.   You can read more about primary constituent accountability in this blog post, and learn about “closing feedback loops” in this 2 minute video

    In this blog series, we want to highlight some key considerations for every stage of the feedback loop, share solutions to common challenges and simple tips that can help you harness feedback to improve primary constituent accountability. To illustrate this process, we are using examples and learnings from Resilient Roots pilot projects.

    Are you ready now? Then let us dig a bit deeper! 

    Read the full article


  • 10 tips to ensure a meaningful dialogue with your primary constituents

    Español | French

    Resilient Roots: conquering the feedback loop - Part 4 of 5: “Dialogue”

    By Isabelle Büchner and Belén Giaquinta (CIVICUS)

    Blig en info final

    By now, you have designed your accountability feedback mechanism, and you have collected and analysed the feedback from your primary constituents. Now it is time for perhaps the most important part of building trust with your primary constituents: meaningful dialogue.

    Meaningful dialogue means going back to the people who gave you feedback and discussing the questions, findings, and responses together. This can happen in a number of ways that do not necessarily involve an in-person conversation. Below we list several examples of how Resilient Roots partners have done this. The dialogue step allows your primary constituents to directly inform the decisions and changes you make in response to the feedback you received, and like so “close the feedback loop”.

    In this blog post we want to share common challenges you may encounter during dialogues with your primary constituents, and 10 tips for how to make this process more rewarding.

    Read the full article


  • 10 tips to “course correct” your accountability feedback mechanism


    Resilient Roots: Conquering the feedback loop - Part 5 of 5: “Course Correct”

    By Isabelle Büchner et Belén Giaquinta (CIVICUS)

    Blog 5 EN infographic

    This five-part blog series tries to break down this process as much as possible, to move beyond theoretical discussions about how to shift power within the civil society sector and offer practical solutions for how to change organisational culture through feedback. In the final step of the feedback loop, which we call “course correction”, we capitalise on the learnings of the feedback process we followed, and use this knowledge to inform changes in the structures and strategic direction of our organisations (and the feedback process itself). The following 10 tips will break down how to approach this crucial process, to foster culture change and truly put your primary constituents in the driver’s seat of your work.

    Read the full article


  • 10 tips to analyse feedback from your primary constituents

    Español | French

    Resilient Roots: conquering the feedback loop - Part 3 of 5: “Analysis”

    By Isabelle Büchner and Belén Giaquinta (CIVICUS)

    RR blog3 Analyse

    In the first blog post of this series we shared 10 steps to design your accountability feedback mechanism. In the second blog post, you learned more about how to collect feedback in an accountable way and make these efforts fit for purpose. Now, you should have a lot of qualitative and quantitative data about the needs, opinions, complaints and wishes of your primary constituents. If you don’t, you should go back to our second post and check whether your collection method was fit for purpose.

    If collecting feedback from your constituents went well, you will now have information that can give you practical guidance on how to strengthen your work and build stronger relationships with those who matter the most to your organisation - the people whose lives are affected by your work.

    In this post, we will share common challenges you may encounter when analysing the feedback you collect, some tips for making this process more valuable and thorough, and help you check your assumptions about what your primary constituents want from you.

    Read the full article


  • 10 Tips to collect feedback from your primary constituents

    Español | French

    Resilient Roots: conquering the feedback loop - Part 2 of 5: “Collect”

    By Isabelle Büchner (Accountable Now) and Belén Giaquinta (CIVICUS)

     10 Tips to collect feedback RR

     In the first blog post of this series, we shared 10 steps to design your accountability feedback mechanism. Here we discussed how to set your objectives and layout the infrastructure and resources you will need to see this work through. If you missed it, we suggest you start there before turning to the next step: collecting feedback.

    In this second part of our blog series on accountability feedback mechanisms, we want to share common challenges our Resilient Roots partners have encountered when collecting feedback from their primary constituents, along with some tips for how to make this process meaningful. Simply collecting feedback won’t make you a more accountable organisation, and it is important to be very intentional about what feedback to gather. This can then help you decide the methods and channels you will use, and the questions you want to ask. All of these aspects, along with the 10 tips below, will make your feedback collection exercise a fruitful, inclusive and productive process. Ultimately, this will help your organisation build a more trusted relationship with your constituents!


  • Appetite, Buzzwords, and Capacity Gaps

    What the Resilient Roots accountability pilot project application process has taught us so far

    By Jack Cornforth

    The Resilient Roots initiative recently launched two open calls to find pilot projects around the world which will test the hypothesis that organisations that are more accountable and responsive to their roots - namely, their primary constituencies - are more resilient against external threats.

    A unique aspect of this initiative is that organisations have so much free reign to lay out what they want to do, over an extended length of time. As a result, this is an exciting opportunity for some really meaningful engagement, but also comes with much responsibility to get things right.

    Having personally spent several days reading through all 238 applications from the first call, this has been a truly eye-opening experience. My first impression was, “what have we created!?” The use of unexplained buzzwords, such as “empower”, “innovative”, and, of course, “accountability” itself, was really startling. Is our initiative, with its regular use of this terminology, only adding to this problem?   

    The organisations that applied are striving to address hugely important issues. However, a significant number did not provide a clear mission statement, so outlining the specific steps they would take to try and increase their primary constituent accountability was even more challenging. This could have been due to an absent theory of change, or challenges with written communication, especially if English isn’t their first language - something which it is of course our responsibility to address.


  • CIVICUS en RightsCon2019!

    Por Marianna Belalba Barreto y Belén Giaquinta

    RightsCon TunisiaTodxs aquellos interesados en la interfaz entre derechos humanos y la tecnología sabrán que el mes pasado se celebró RightsCon 2019 en Túnez. Por primera vez la conferencia que reúne una mezcla extraordinaria de más de 3000 activistas, personas defensoras de derechos humanos, organizaciones de sociedad civil, sector privado (incluyendo compañías como Google y Facebook), donantes, emprendimientos sociales, expertxs en tecnología y humanistas, tuvo lugar en el Medio Oriente.

    La celebración de una conferencia sobre derechos humanos de esta magnitud en un país parte del Oriente Medio y África del Norte es bastante significativo, ya que de acuerdo al CIVICUS Monitor,el espacio cívico se halla gravemente restringido en la región.

    Este año CIVICUS participó activamente en varias de las 450 sesiones organizadas durante los 3 días de conferencia, y tanto el equipo del CIVICUS Monitor como la iniciativa Resilient Roots estuvieron presentes. Quieren saber cuales son nuestras reflexiones?

    Por un lado, el CIVICUSMonitor participó en una sesión en alianza con RNW Media y activistas de Burundi, República Democrática del Congo y Libia. El objetivo fue intercambiar testimonios y experiencias de jóvenes activistas provenientes de países donde el ejercicio de las libertades fundamentales de asociación, protesta y expresión se encuentran seriamente restringidas. Con miras a promover y construir nuevas narrativas y espacios alternativos de activismo en contexto restringidos y sumamente polarizados, la sesión incluyó una breve descripción del espacio cívico a nivel global, seguido por testimonios y estrategias por parte de los y las activistas de los países mencionados.

    En tiempos donde el activismo y el ejercicio de los derechos humanos se encuentra sumamente restringido en la mayoría de los países del mundo, según data reciente del CIVICUS Monitor, hace falta resaltar la resistencia y persistencia de activistas para ejercer estas libertades fundamentales, quienes a pesar del contexto hostil, de manera creativa buscan espacios alternativos para continuar su labor.

    Resilient Roots, por el otro, organizó un taller interactivo sobre cómo crear lazos más fuertes con los grupos y personas para/con las que las organizaciones trabajan, a través de la rendición de cuentas. Uno de los (muy) pocos talleres en todo el programa, la sesión incluyó un breve mapeo de los grupos meta (stakeholders), seguido de una lluvia de ideas sobre cómo mecanismos de rendición de cuentas pueden ayudar a fortalecer estos lazos y generar más confianza en las OSC. También discutimos cómo una mejor rendición de cuentas contribuye al bienestar organizacional en un contexto donde las OSC están operando en entornos cada vez más hostiles.

    La sesión formó parte del #Wellness track, o la rama de eventos centrados en el bienestar, tanto individual como organizacional, y la resiliencia del tercer sector. Incluso dentro de nuestra rama temática, quedó claro que Resilient Roots (y nuestro enfoque) realiza contribuciones importantes y muy necesarias al debate que existe en nuestro sector sobre la #RendiciónDeCuentas y la #Resiliencia.

    A diferencia de aquellas sesiones enfocadas en la rendición de cuentas social (o de los gobiernos) o sobre la necesidad de tener una mejor rendición de cuentas en el sector privado - especialmente en relación al uso (o abuso?) de datos personales - Resilient Roots resaltó la importancia de la autocrítica para la auto práctica. Es decir, como los mecanismos internos de rendición de cuentas de las OCS también tienen que mejorar si queremos construir la legitimidad de nuestro sector, principalmente hacia las personas y grupos que se ven más afectadxs por nuestro trabajo (lo que se conoce como primary constituent accountability (PCA) por sus siglas en inglés).

    Similarmente con la resiliencia, donde la mayoría de las sesiones capitalizaron en la resiliencia financiera de las OCS o la resiliencia (salud) individual del personal, faltó argumentar a favor de la resiliencia como práctica estratégica y organizacional para hacer frente a las amenazas de espacio cívico.

    Principalmente, RightsCon nos sirvió para recordarnos, una vez más, de la importancia de seguir adaptando nuestra narrativa y ampliando nuestros diccionarios. Si nuestros objetivos incluyen crear espacios alternativos para el ejercicio de nuestras libertades fundamentales, entonces los lentes que usamos para entender los retos que hoy enfrenta la sociedad civil deben, y como resultado las estrategias que ideamos deben ser igual de flexibles.


  • Common challenges with implementing primary constituent accountability


    Case study 3 RRThe Resilient Roots (RR) initiative examines whether organisations who are accountable to their primary constituents, that is, the individuals and communities they support and serve, are better able to withstand external threats related to closing civic space.

    The first case study looked at three dimensions of accountability (giving, taking, and holding to account) and provided examples from the Resilient Roots cohort of pilot partners for each one. The second case study distinguished between organisations that are primarily service delivery focused and those who are more advocacy focused to examine some of the implications these differing approaches may have on primary constituent accountability (PCA) mechanisms. This case study examines the various common challenges that pilot partner organisations faced in the implementation of their PCA mechanisms.

    Read the full case study


  • Comprobando la hipótesis del proyecto Raíces Resilientes (Resilient Roots)

    Llegando al final del proyecto, comenzamos a trabajar con Triskuel Consulting para diseñar y poner en marcha una metodología que permita poner a prueba la hipótesis central de Raíces Resilientes (Resilient Roots) que consiste en que las organizaciones de la sociedad civil que son más transparentes con sus principales constituyentes son más resistentes a las amenazas relacionadas con el espacio civil. Descubrimos que, si bien no podemos decir con seguridad que una mayor rendición de cuentas de los principales constituyentes siempre conlleva una mayor capacidad de recuperación, podemos decir que ambas están conectadas.

    Aquí pueden consultar el resumen de nuestra metodología, los resultados y nuestras recomendaciones. 

    Dos estudios de casos nos han servido también para ilustrar la relación entre la rendición de cuentas y la capacidad de recuperación en el mundo real para dos de las asociaciones nacionales de Raíces Resilientes:

    Case Study 1   Case Study 2
    Estudio de caso 1       

    Estudio de caso 2


    El análisis estadístico exhaustivo utilizado para lograr estos resultados se puede consultar en este informe completo.


  • Constituent Accountability Mechanisms in Practice

    To illustrate what primary constituent accountability mechanisms actually look like in practice, we have produced a series of infographics outlining some of the real-life examples that our Resilient Roots national partners have developed. Each infographic provides some key context about the organisation, before explaining their specific constituent-related needs, the process by which the mechanism works, and the impact it has had so far.

    WhatsApp Plus
    Kusi Warma


  • Dans quelle mesure CIVICUS rend-t-elle compte de ses pratiques en matière de mise à disposition de ressources?

    AccountabilityAccelerator.ThumbnailChez CIVICUS, la redistribution des fonds à nos membres et partenaires est un moyen essentiel de travailler à la réalisation des objectifs stratégiques de l'alliance. Cette nouvelle mini-série Resilient Roots examine notre organisation de l'intérieur, montrant comment nous nous efforçons d'être plus transparents dans l'allocation de nos ressources et les domaines dans lesquels nous devons progresser.

    La première partie plante le décor, en soulignant le difficile équilibre que nous devons maintenir dans notre rôle d'"intermédiaires" entre les donateurs institutionnels et les acteurs de la société civile. Les parties suivantes analysent le succès de notre travail de dotation en ressources, qui est basé sur l'information, l'écoute et l'engagement direct de nos membres et partenaires, ainsi que la portée de l'aide que nous leur apportons pour améliorer leurs propres pratiques de responsabilité.


  • Deepening Roots: How our partners are doing nine months on

    PJL9 Symposium

    Photo: Projet Jeune Leader

    By Jack Cornforth, Resilient Roots Coordinator, CIVICUS

    Towards the end of 2020, we spoke to many of our national partners from the initial phase of the Resilient Roots initiative to find out how they are doing nine months after our financial and technical support for their pilot accountability projects ended (see them on ourinteractive map). Overall, the news was very encouraging, with the vast majority reporting sustained positive outcomes from this work, including ways it has enhanced their ability to cope with challenges related to Covid-19. Several key themes came through strongly:

    Deepening and expanding accountability policies and practices

    All partners have continued their accountability practices in one form or another, with most actually going a step further to deepen or expand their efforts. They told us this was because of multiple positive outcomes from the pilot phase, ranging from more engaged and active constituents, to a more collaborative and transparent internal working culture. 

    This ongoing work has included training more staff and partners on the topic, new rounds of surveying constituents to assess organisational accountability, the maturing of new constituent-driven organisational bodies like Video Volunteers Council (India),  or even electing constituent representatives to the board of directors (PCCDS, Palestine). For many partners, this has enabled them to go beyond simply asking for feedback about their performance, to adopting an inclusive planning approach that directly involves constituents and wider stakeholders. Projet Jeune Leader (PJL) in Madagascar, for instance, have expanded their now annual partner school learning and planning symposium to involve a wider group of constituents. This includes school directors, whose involvement has been vital for embedding their programmes within the curriculum, aligning goals and how to measure them, and reducing pushback from skeptical parents.

    In Peru, Kusi Warma has found that being more consultative when deciding what they do and how they do it - as well as transparent about how tight their budgets are - has helped the community to step up and take charge. For their new community kitchen project, for instance, the organisation provides support and advice but decisions are made by local people. Similarly, PJL is now attempting to run its programmes in twice as many locations by putting its trust in local delivery partners to roll out its activities more independently, whereas Poverty Reduction Forum Trust (PRFT, Zimbabwe) has enabled its constituents to play a more direct role in their advocacy work.

    Accountability to staff

    It was also wonderful to hear many organisations reinforce that being more transparent with their own staff, and taking a more inclusive approach to organisational planning and decision making is absolutely critical for both a healthy internal working culture and external accountability efforts. In Russia, OVD-Info has now created a specific action plan for increasing accountability to their staff, which includes clarifying their structure, values, and how decisions are made, while in Greece, Solidarity Now attributed its ability to more quickly close the feedback loop with its constituents to improved communication channels between different delivery partners. Others have started internal newsletters, and even developed a new scorecard system where educators can assess their supervisors and feel more energised as a result of having a greater voice. 

    Engaging in the context of COVID-19

    All partners reported a range of new challenges associated with the pandemic, including their ability to maintain a two-way flow of information with their constituents as virtually all engagement has moved online. Some have been able to help bridge the gap, such as PCCDS’ provision of microgrants to constituents for the purchase of mobile data. However, despite these efforts, many people have remained almost impossible to reach or include in activities. As a result, PRFT said that both the quantity and quality of feedback they’ve received has dropped. 

    PCCDS 2

    Photo: Palestinian Centre for Communication and Development

    Nevertheless, several partners said that they were better prepared for the shift to virtual-only engagement because of their improved understanding of who their constituents are and how they prefer to communicate, and having multiple online channels already up and running. Kusi Warma, for instance, switched to primarily engaging their communities through telephone conversations. But they have also regularly sent simple staff-shot mobile phone videos with information and advice, so people can see who they have been talking to.

    Adapting to new constituent needs

    Many partners told us that the upheaval from Covid-19 has required them to pause, ask what their constituents need during this time, and adapt their activities accordingly. This has ranged from providing badly needed new services, such as psychological support for families hit hard by the pandemic, or even helping ensure access to clean water - something totally new for child rights and education organisation Educo (Nicaragua). Other shifts have been more subtle, with human rights watchdog OVD-Info eventually meeting increasing demands from their constituents to provide guidance on quarantine-related restrictions, despite them initially seeing this as out of scope for them. Whereas FemPlatz in Serbia helped to address changing constituent needs more indirectly by connecting them with other organisations who could provide the services they needed.   

    Accountability for resilience 

    Several organisations explained that the ability to pivot and meet the changing needs of their constituents is itself crucial for organisational resilience. Even if their accountability practice isn’t directly helping to counter closing civic space, which has made the work of several partners during the pandemic not just harder but in some cases more dangerous, there was a clear feeling that maintaining community trust and support is key to organisational survival. Furthermore, several organisations have been able to successfully integrate their accountability work into subsequent grants - including from a new domestic donor for PCCDS - and use the positive outcomes from these efforts so far to sell themselves to donors in what has become an increasingly tough fundraising environment.  

    Supporting Others

    Many partners have also been able to share their new-found accountability expertise with wider audiences. By regularly telling the story of their successes and lessons learned, PJL has been building a new evidence base on how to effectively build community support for sex education programmes in socially consertaive contexts. In this regard, their regular magazine isn’t just important for closing the feedback loop with the communities they work with, it’s also a key advocacy tool. Similarly, PCCDS has produced what it believes to be the first guide to good accountability practice for organisations in the Palestinian context. And in Serbia, FemPlatz used their growing network and enhanced consultation skills to bring many of their partners together to discuss how the pandemic has affected their constituents, and how their organisations can adapt to help meet these changing needs. What’s more, they have also provided recommendations to both partners and donors about how to support women with disabilities, as a group hit particularly hard by the impacts of Covid-19. Overall, there was also much interest from the partners in engaging more with CIVICUS and its wider members on accountability work. 

    Beyond the progress made by each partner, reconnecting with these colleagues has been an important way for CIVICUS to sense-check our approach and validate our ongoing organisational commitment to taking this work to wider audiences. But it has also provided us with further lessons and good practices that others can learn from and adapt to their own contexts. In this regard, we look forward to continuing our collaboration with these important accountability ambassadors, including via the Dynamic Accountability Community of Practice (please do join up!). You can also read this summary of the Resilient Roots phase two, which we have been implementing since July 2020, and join our mailing list to receive updates and opportunities related to the initiative. 

    For more info, contact 

    A massive thank you to Hannah Wheatley and Oriana Castillo for helping to craft our approach and conducting the interviews, as well as to our amazing partners for doing such an incredible job at taking their constituent accountability practice to new heights!


  • Défis liés à la mise en œuvre des mécanismes de redevabilité envers les principales parties prenantes

    Case study 3 RRL’initiative Resilient Roots (RR) examine si les organisations qui sont redevables envers leurs principales parties prenantes, c’està-dire les individus et les communautés qu’elles soutiennent et servent, sont mieux en mesure de résister aux menaces externes liées à la fermeture de l’espace civique. L’équipe de Resilient Roots estime qu’il existe plusieurs façons d’examiner et de mesurer les changements dans la redevabilité envers les principales parties prenantes et, par conséquent, une cohorte de 14 ONG partenaires pilotes ont été soutenues pour concevoir et mettre en œuvre des mécanismes de redevabilité adaptés à leurs contextes distincts. Compte tenu de ces divers contextes et des divers défis auxquels chaque organisation est confrontée, les mécanismes de redevabilité utilisés varient considérablement. Afin de mieux comprendre l’importance de ces mécanismes dans le travail des partenaires pilotes, Resilient Roots présentera plusieurs études de cas.

    Lire l'étude de cas en entier


  • Does greater accountability mean greater resilience? Findings from our research so far

    By Kingsley Orievulu and Jack Cornforth

    When ActionAid Uganda faced attacks from the government for their work, including freezing the organisation’s bank account, unrelenting support from local partners and credible local leadership ensured massive popular support during the ensuing legal battle (and eventual victory) against the government.[i]


  • Ganar espacio desde la raíz

    Escrito por Analía Bettoni – Instituto de Comunicación y Desarrollo

    Analia Bettoni En su reciente artículo The revolution will not be televised: Can NGOs learn to adapt? , Dom Perera, investigador del CIVICUS Monitor plantea que si bien en los últimos 25 años ha habido un crecimiento explosivo en el número de organizaciones no gubernamentales (ONG), su papel en generar un cambio social se cuestiona. Su actuación se ha puesto en tela de juicio desde la propia opinión pública, mientras que gobiernos en muchos países imponen a menudo restricciones al trabajo de las organizaciones.

    El artículo plantea que, en este escenario hostil, sin embargo, los movimientos sociales están mejor posicionados. Esto se puede deber por ejemplo a que son creados y dirigidos por las propias personas que reclaman, tienen mayor flexibilidad y motivación para adaptarse, no se plantean objetivos de largo plazo y sus estructuras flexibles permiten sumar aliados en los momentos que se necesita, permitiendo la movilización, adaptación y participación de forma rápida.

    En 2012 la investigación La Sociedad Civil en la Encrucijada (Civil Society at a Crossroads), un estudio comparado de casos en todo el mundo presentaba como resultado una serie de desafíos para la sociedad civil organizada en total consonancia con estos estudios más recientes.

    De acuerdo con este estudio, en todos los continentes, las asociaciones formales, como los partidos políticos, sindicatos y ONG no estaban siendo capaces de proporcionar una voz colectiva a las necesidades de las personas. Éstas eligen unirse en movimientos sociales, que surgen como “explosiones” ciudadanas desconectadas de los ámbitos formales o más tradicionales de la sociedad civil. Estas movilizaciones ciudadanas logran convocar a las personas a través de formatos tradicionales como las marchas, las protestas, las ocupaciones, pero también a través de otras formas más innovadoras como el teatro callejero, el arte, la canción, la poesía, la música, el baile entre otras, como lo han demostrado los movimientos estudiantiles o de mujeres. Por el contrario, las organizaciones formales como las ONG, se fueron convirtiendo paulatinamente en estructuras jerárquicas, con modelos de gestión y eficacia institucional (similar al empresarial) en la búsqueda de la sostenibilidad de sus proyectos y estructuras, lo que las llevó en gran medida a desconectarse de sus raíces o de las personas para las que trabajan o representan.


  • Hacia la construcción de nuestra Política Institucional de Rendición de Cuentas

    Por Gloria Gonzalez Navarro y Enrique Blanco Lozada (Asociación Kusi Warma)

    Los cambios o impactos sociales suelen estar acompañados de adversidades de nuestro ambiente, las cuales evidentemente deben ser enfrentadas con esfuerzo. Esfuerzo que caracteriza a las grandes y pequeñas organizaciones que tienen como objetivo común: el generar cambios positivos.

    Kusi Warma, ONG de Perú que tiene como misión principal dar voz a los niños y niñas en situaciones poco ventajosas, no es la excepción a lo anteriormente mencionado. Es por ello que ha emprendido el emocionante camino hacia la construcción de su PIRC (Política Institucional de Rendición de Cuentas) como parte de la iniciativa Resilient Roots. Para ello el equipo del proyecto tuvo que seguir una serie de pasos iniciales que incluyó talleres de diagnóstico y devolución con la población con la que trabajaría los siguientes meses. Dicha población estuvo conformada por niños y niñas; sin embargo, debido a la relevancia y el papel que representan, también se trabajó con profesores y padres de familia.

    Producto de los talleres se pudo recoger propuestas, tanto de profesores y padres como de los niños y niñas. La mayoría consideró oportuno que se brindara más información sobre el propósito de Kusi Warma en su comunidad, a pesar que muchos ya tenían conocimiento de nuestra misión y objetivos, se sentían interesados en recibir más información e involucrarse más en sus actividades institucionales.

    Con la sugerencia y posterior aceptación por parte de la población involucrada, en febrero 2019 se inició el proceso de construcción de la PIRC utilizando el teatro como herramienta pedagógica. Los talleres se llevarán adelante durante 7 meses, incluyendo 4 sesiones y una puesta en escena cada mes. Para esto, cada sesión se dividió en dos, un primer grupo compuesto por niños y niñas entre 10 y 16 años; y otro compuesto por madres de la comunidad..

    El inicio del taller en la Comunidad 12 de Diciembre,realizado el 12 de febrero de 2019, fue bien recibido por los niños y niñas por lo novedoso que era participar de un taller de teatro, experiencia que hasta el momento era totalmente lejana para ellos. Con el pasar de las sesiones el grupo de niños aumentó y lo que inició con 20 participantes terminó superando por poco la expectativa inicial de 30.

    En el caso de las madres, se observó cierta reserva y vergüenza a participar en lo que entendían como “teatro”. Se logró mantener un grupo de 10 participantes activas que abrazaron el espacio íntimo y de libertad que el taller significaba para ellas. Pudimos ver cómo, según ellas, tenían un espacio en el cual escapaban de la cotidianidad de su vida y podían desenvolverse cada vez de forma más natural.

    Llegó el fin de mes y, con ello, la puesta en escena de ambos talleres. Los niños prepararon de forma colectiva un guion que explicaba “Qué es Kusi Warma” y las madres, también de forma colectiva, crearon un guion referente al Día Internacional de la Mujer.

    Aunque la previa se llenó de nerviosismo y un poco de temor a presentarse frente a toda la comunidad, ello pudo ser superado por la emoción que sintieron de poder expresar y transmitir lo que habían creado. Luego de esta primera presentación nos quedamos con la satisfacción de percibir que los niños y niñas de la comunidad tienen una imagen positiva del trabajo de Kusi Warma, dejando claro que para ellos representa diversión, salud, educación y una familia feliz. Del mismo modo, las madres dejaron claro que el impacto de una organización como Kusi Warma en la comunidad es algo que brinda más que ayuda, brinda una voz.

    Es justamente la voz de todas las personas a las que Kusi Warma se dirige, la que queremos escuchar, recoger y transformar en acción a través de nuestra PIRC. Es por ello que en las próximas presentaciones, luego de la puesta en escena, vamos a facilitar un espacio de reflexión y participación a fin de recoger las opiniones del público sobre cómo desean participar en la gestión de Kusi Warma, tanto en sus proyectos como en su organización, y cómo desean que les rindamos cuentas. Este desafío fortalecerá los lazos de confianza y respeto mutuo, lo cual nos hará una organización más resiliente, porque nuestra fuerza y legitimidad estará en la población a la que dirigimos nuestra acción, más empoderada y comprometida, para juntos afrontar las adversidades que se presenten.


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