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Learning About Civic Engagement

Development today is moving increasingly toward partnerships among government, donors, private sector, and civil society as the most effective way to achieve sustainable economic and social benefits. In these multi-sector partnerships, civil society organizations (CSOs) play an especially critical role in helping to amplify the voices of the poor in the decisions that affect their lives.

Civic Engagement can…

  • Promote public consensus and local ownership for reforms and for national poverty reduction and development strategies by creating knowledge-sharing networks, building common ground for understanding, encouraging public-private cooperation, and sometimes even diffusing tensions;

  • Give voice to the concerns of primary and secondary stakeholders, particularly poor and marginalized populations, and help ensure that their views are factored into policy and program decisions;

  • Strengthen and leverage impact of development programs by providing local knowledge, identifying potential risks, targeting assistance, and expanding reach, particularly at the community level;

  • Bring innovative ideas and solutions to development challenges at both the local and global levels;

  • Provide professional expertise and enhance capacity for effective service delivery, especially in environments with weak public sector capacity or in post-conflict situations; and

  • Improve public transparency and accountability of development activities, contributing to the enabling environment for good governance.

Through the Civil Society Fund supported activities, grantees include people who have been historically excluded from society's decision-making processes, such as women, youth, people from racial and ethnic groups, people with low-income, and people from rural areas.

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