As civil society grows and becomes more visible in the public eye, it is important that we can be held accountable for our actions. This should be done in a dynamic, evolving way, where accountability is not a report, but a constructive relationship with stakeholders that improves the agency and credibility of civil society organisations.

At CIVICUS, accountability means we are transparent about who we are and what we do. It also means we answer to our partners, donors, civil society and ourselves on what we have achieved and how we achieved it.

This is underpinned by our Accountability framework that aims to:

  • Position CIVICUS as an adaptive, change-seeking alliance.
  • Put people at the centre of our work, enable more iterative and participatory programming and allow faster responses when changes in direction are required.
  • Work with mixed-method approaches to measure our contribution to social transformation.

How we’re building accountability into our work

Our new strategic priorities

We listened to thousands of members and partners across the world to shape our strategic plan for 2017-2022. Through the consultation process, we heard people’s deep concerns about challenges facing humanity, how civil society can best address these challenges, and how we can best support civil society to enact change.

Read or download our new strategic plan and our annual reports (including financials).

Our accountability framework will help us to consistently and systematically track our progress and impact against our new strategic priorities, meet our accountability commitments and enable learning. It will be grounded in Utilization-focused Evaluation, recognising that in complex environments, where social change is difficult to measure and attribute to one single effort, evaluation needs to be purpose-driven.

Accountability reporting

Civicus is a founding member of Accountable Now, a platform of organisations focused on strengthening transparency and accountability within civil society. With the 26 other current members of Accountable Now, we strive to be transparent, responsive and focused on delivering impact. The accountability commitments ensure that we deliver on our promises and make fair, justified decisions in our work.  Every year, CIVICUS reports to an Independent Review Panel on our economic, environmental and social performance. You can read these reports and the external assessment of them on the Accountable Now website.

Online monitoring & evaluation system

As of 2018, CIVICUS is storing and analysing its data using Dev Results, a web-based M&E and portfolio management system that tracks programme data. This platform will house the majority of the data that CIVICUS collects in one central place, further enabling data-driven decision making.

Gender and diversity

CIVICUS incorporates gender and diversity issues in all our programming and internal operations. We’ve also adopted a rights-based approach in our work, centred around the rights of marginalised groups like women, the disabled and those marginalised on racial grounds.Recently, we participated in a staff-wide external Inclusion Audit to work towards the best possible inclusion policies and practices for CIVICUS Alliance and the Secretariat, and share learnings and outcomes with the Alliance.

Read more about our Gender and Diversity work here.

Youth action team

Our Youth Action Team was set up in 2016. Following an extensive, open selection process looking for the right blend of expertise in CIVICUS youth membership, we appointed a diverse array of action team members to champion for youth and their role in civil society. This team aims to: provide strategic, informed advice on youth participation in our programming and civil society in general, collaborate to build new partnerships and  resources for scaling up initiatives on youth participation, and champion and foster social innovations and cohesion related to youth engagement in civic space.

Read more about CIVICUS youth work here.

How we’re empowering a more accountable, effective and innovative civil society

In addition to the various accountability initiatives within Civicus, we are also working with members and partners to foster growing, dynamic accountability within the sector. Projects include:

  • AGNA working group on legitimacy, transparency, accountability and impact assessment promotes sharing and learning between the network’s members on how to improve public trust and the credibility of their activities through enhancing their accountability systems.
  • The Resilient Roots initiative tests whether organisations who are more accountable and responsive to their roots - namely, their primary constituencies - are more resilient against external threats.
  • We are also working together with PartnersGlobal, we are developing a framework that combines resilience in financial, programmatic and organizational management with ethics, accountability, transparency, and contextual resilience to closing space dynamics.

Further reading