Civil society advances the public good with institutions powered by private energies
In an era of rising expectations and unmet needs in the developing world, civil society plays an essential role in providing social services, protecting marginalized groups and promoting good governance. Civil society’s role is especially critical where governments are weak or non-performing, as in situations of failed democracies or post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction.
Where civil society organizations (CSOs) fail to perform well, or face a hostile environment, development stagnates. Where civil society organizations function well, development indicators improve. CSOs constitute a wide array of social and civic institutions including village and women’s organizations, NGOs, unions, professional associations, neighborhood self-help groups, microcredit groups, coalitions and advocacy groups.
Central to the Foundation’s work is the belief that communities must take ownership of their development if they are to overcome problems of poverty, lack of education and poor health over the long term. The Foundation has supported the growth of village organizations whereby local citizens get together to achieve what they consider to be important.
Our support of CSOs provides communities with the resources and tools to help citizens’ groups take the lead in solving community problems. The Foundation makes sure that we support programs that are initiated by the communities so the investment continues on over the years with the commitment of the local people themselves.
We have developed programs to strengthen local governance in Afghanistan and women’s empowerment in Pakistan. In Tajikistan, 2,500 jobs were created and 500,000 people have benefited from the work of villagers organizing projects democratically to repair and rebuild schools, clinics and infrastructure.
To learn more about our civil society work, please see our flyer here.
Project Spotlight: Read more about our work in civil society