The world has changed; why haven’t we?

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Norwegian Agency

The world has changed dramatically since the turn of the century.  Selfies, smart phones, and instant communication are the norm across much of the world. Our lives are on the cloud and our offices are virtual. We're connecting across borders like never before.

We’re being confronted by our failures, such as the increasing number of scary weather events caused by global warming, along with deepening divides between the rich and those living in poverty. But we are also seeing people fighting back in new and creative ways, from the #MeToo movement in the United States to #FeesMustFall in South Africa. Innovative tools have made it easier than ever before for people to come together and take collective action, injecting new ideas, formations and energy into civil society.

For the past 25 years, CIVICUS has had a consistent mission, namely “to strengthen citizen action and civil society”. Yet, over the years, CIVICUS has worked mainly on the conditions for and effectiveness of civil society organisations, rather than the broader spectrum of citizen participation and action.

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) will support CIVICUS and its members to understand and navigate trends related to 21st century citizen action, with a focus on the role of people power, non-formal civil society formations and unusual collaborations.

Over a 5-year period, we will work within and beyond our alliance to test ideas on how to support individual activists and a new generation of changemakers who may not associate themselves with organised civil society.  We will also explore how to increase the scale and effectiveness of resources available to smaller and spontaneous civil society formations, and how to move resources more directly and democratically to those civil society actors on the frontlines of social change.

Through participatory, co-design processes we will work with our members to contribute to a more resilient, diverse and vibrant civil society that has the agency and resources necessary to initiate 21st century responses to current challenges.

If you would like to join us on this journey, sign up here to receive regular updates and engagement opportunities.