Terms of Reference: Consultancy for developing toolkit for civil society on “Practical Tools for Protest Movement Resilience”.

Global civil society alliance, CIVICUS, is seeking consultancy support to develop an innovative, interactive toolkit for “Practical Tools for Protest Movement Resilience.” The Terms of Reference that follows contains all the necessary information for those interested in applying for this opportunity, proposal requirements.

Interested candidates are welcome submit their proposal in writing to Tor Hodenfield and Marianna Belalba by 11 March 2019.

Introduction to CIVICUS

CIVICUS is a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world. We were established in 1993 and since 2002 have been proudly headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with additional hubs across the globe, with a membership alliance with more than 7000 members in more than 175 countries. Our definition of civil society is broad and covers non-governmental organisations, activists, civil society coalitions and networks, protest and social movements, voluntary bodies, campaigning organisations, charities, faith-based groups, trade unions and philanthropic foundations. Our membership is diverse, spanning a wide range of issues, sizes and organisation types. Our staff is based across the globe in over 20 countries.

Consultancy Background

CIVICUS has recently released findings that demonstrates a mere four percent of people live in countries where the state properly protects, fulfills and enables the rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression. With institutional avenues for dissent increasingly under threat, social movements across the world are engaging in collective public action including protests, to address human rights grievances. While many of these expressions of freedom of assembly are spontaneous, many more form part of a sustained pattern in which citizens are coming together in social movements to confront entrenched and systematic problems and propose new solutions.

Even so, synergies between formalised civil society groups and social movements are yet to be fully realised. While CIVICUS has focused on describing social movements as a key changemaker in civil society, tangible steps to proactively engage informal, protest based groups are notably missing. In the context of mounting restrictions on civic freedoms at the national level, there is a need to create space for dialogue both between social movements and formalised civic groups. Through the prism of restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly, there is significant scope to explore notions of solidarity between protest movements in different locations, as well as facilitating a greater awareness of the contrasts between human rights approaches at the sub-national and international levels. As a widely recognised convener of civil society, CIVICUS has a key role to play as an interlocutor which can forge links between social movements themselves, as well as civil society writ large.

Through its 2017 State of Civil Society Report and new primary research based on the practical experiences of social movements, CIVICUS has sought to interrogate the current global climate for rights-based social movements and the environment for freedom of assembly. This research helps to identify trends that contribute to or undermine the sustainability of contemporary social movements in diverse socio-political contexts. The main finding of this research is that, in the face of domestic state-driven limitations on the right to freedom of assembly there is a lack of adequate support from a range of international stakeholders, including other protest movements, foreign states, United Nations (UN) bodies and international civil society organisations (CSOs). The study concludes that such support is essential for enhancing the sustainability of national protest movements, across all three contexts. This report complements growing scholarship from a range of United Nations and independent experts on the right to freedom of assembly, including the recent landmark practical recommendations “on the proper management of assemblies” mandated by the UN Human Rights Council.


CIVICUS is seeking to hire a short-term consultant to develop an interactive toolkit, transforming our various consultation outputs and existing research products including Enhancing the Sustainability of Protest Movements   into a user-friendly capacity development toolkit that will be useful to various partners and constituents in the civil society sector.

The consultant will work closely with the CIVICUS Advocacy and Campaigns, Civic Space Research and Capacity Development clusters.

The consultant will be responsible for developing a draft for the toolkit and delivering a final version, working with the CIVICUS communications team on design layout and delivering a dissemination and constituent outreach strategy following approval by the responsible CIVICUS officers.

Scope and objectives of the toolkit

General objectives:

The primary objective of the toolkit is to provide a space for a diverse range of leaders of social movements to share practical opportunities, challenges and strategies to support the sustainability of contemporary protest movements.

Specific Objectives:

  • Share strategies diverse socio-political national contexts which contribute to enhancing the sustainability of social movements;
  • Identify practical measures international actors can take to support the exercise of freedom of assembly and share responses to restrictions;
  • Explore what is practically needed to bridge the gap between social movements and “organised” or “formal” civil society;
  • Explore tactics used to form transitional support/solidarity network of civil society/social movements;

The scope of the toolkit within the context of this consultancy includes:

  • The design of the outline of the toolkit, that can expand as we continue to curate content
  • The development of capacity development products
  • License for CIVICUS to do content maintenance in-house on any of the content components created
  • Creation of a dissemination and outreach strategy

Indicative Activities

Consultancy activities include, but not limited to:

  • Scoping meeting with CIVICUS teams
  • Scoping and interviews with CIVICUS partners and protest leaders
  • Desk review of current toolkits within CIVICUS and best practice in the sector
  • Draft offline version of toolkit outline
  • Develop content components
  • Web layout and development of online toolkit structure and content
  • Development of strategy to disseminate among key stakeholders, including protest movements

Timelines and Deliverables

  • Submission of detailed toolkit outline                       01 April 2019
  • Submission of toolkit’s draft version                         20 April 2019
  • Submission of toolkit’s final version                           15 May 2019

Experience and Skills

  • Demonstrable experience (at least 5 years) developing interactive, innovative, capacity development products and toolkits that promote usability
  • Experience with protest movements and supporting freedom of peaceful assembly
  • Programme and/or capacity development experience in the international development, civil society fields
  • Experience in blended and adaptive learning approaches advantageous
  • Strong organisational skills with the capacity/availability to meet above deadlines

Application process

Interested candidates are welcome submit their proposal in writing to Tor Hodenfield and Marianna Belalba by 1st March 2019. Proposals must include the following:

  • Cover Letter describing personal and professional approach to this assignment with a proposal on how you hope to accomplish the objectives.
  • Full CV outlining relevant expertise in relation to the requirements of this assignment with examples of previous relevant capacity development products.
  • A financial proposal including rates and estimated hours for completion of this project (no travel is anticipated and consultants would operate from home location). Financial proposals should be in range of USD4000 to USD5000.

Deadline for application is 11 March 2019. Please contact Tor Hodenfield or Marianna Belalba if you have any questions.