Representatives from Washington-based civil society organizations helped the Global Civil Society Team deliver four training sessions to staff from the Middle East and North Africa (MNA) region. The training session “Civil Society: Why and How to Engage Effectively” focused on improving the quality of civil society engagement, and is one of the initiatives of the Regional Action Plan devised in response to the Yemeni Inspection Panel Case. The session was offered to all MNA operational staff based in Washington.
Representatives from the Bank Information Center (BIC), World Learning, and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) participated in panel discussions organized as part of the half-day training sessions. The CSO colleagues provided insight into how they view their role vis-à-vis the Bank. They also gave examples of what they think has worked well, and what not so well in their engagement with the World Bank.
In addition to the panel discussion, the sessions covered the definition and characteristics of civil society, the history of Bank – civil society relations at the global and regional levels, and challenges and lessons learned for effective engagement (see agenda, learning objectives, and CSO guiding questions).
Staff who participated in the four training sessions gave overall high marks for the sessions and reserved their highest ratings for the CSO panels. In addition to these staff training sessions, the Regional Action plan also calls for workshops with local CSOs in Bank country offices in the MNA region over the coming months.
In a related story, BIC has expressed its support for the MENA Action Plan. In a recent article on their website, BIC analyzed the Action Plan, calling it “one that has the potential to be a model for engagement and partnership with civil society.” Nadia Daar of BIC's MENA program, writes that the Inspection Panel case has now “led the Bank to re-evaluate its relationship with civil society across the MENA region, with “positive and unexpected” consequences. (read post)