In recent years, CSF country office initiatives focused on good governance and social accountability with most programs supporting civil society organization capacity building, inclusion and human rights, youth empowerment and partnership development, all critical components to advancing the civic engagement agenda.
CSF grants in governance have funded themes and tools such as budget transparency, procurement law monitoring, community scorecards, private and public sector service delivery monitoring and participatory community decision-making.
Improving Governance in Nigeria: Civic Engagement in Public Procurement
|In recent years, Nigeria achieved progress in increased transparency of public resource management and decreased corruption, but complex governance challenges remain, especially at the state and local levels. The World Bank strategy and Government Agenda all highlight the importance of civic engagement and CSO participation in public procurement processes. To this end, the Nigeria CO awarded CSF funds to CSOs working on enhancing public procurement effectiveness and transparency in different regions. At the national level, a public procurement and budget monitoring network of CSOs was established, and trained on monitoring and evaluation tools. At the local levels, town hall meetings and public lectures were organized to raise awareness on public procurement. For continued engagement, CSOs used community score cards and trained local "public procurement monitors."|
Capacity building of civil society organizations; learning and knowledge sharing components of the CSF feature prominently in many country programs. For example, Sri Lanka supported knowledge sharing between rural farmers for successful local development. The project linked up farmers in the South to farmers in the North in order transfer knowledge of a successful model for banana cultivation practiced in Hambantota to the farmers in Jaffna.
Demonstrative of inclusion and human rights, several CSF activities targeted disabled persons, indigenous people and ethnic minorities, the elderly, conflict-affected people, refugees and internally displaced people, people with HIV/AIDS, migrant workers, workers in the informal economy, former and current inmates, the urban poor, communities affected by natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons, the Roma, and waste pickers. In combination, CSF funding engages with and gives voice to a large spectrum of vulnerable and marginalized populations.
Dialogue to Enforce Labor Rights of Migrant Workers in Thailand
|In FY10, the Civil Society Fund in Thailand funded multiple projects supporting migrant workers. Funded CSOs organized consultations with legal and illegal migrant workers, and workers in the informal sectors to find out about their working conditions and to raise awareness of their rights. Based on these consultations, the CSOs submitted recommendations to relevant government agencies on the issues of labor rights, health and safety conditions, child labor and human trafficking.|
Youth civic engagement and empowerment has remained a high priority for CSF over the years. This trend may well reflect the World Bank’s and the Social Development Network’s continued emphasis on youth, as underscored by the World Development Report 2007: Development and the Next Generation: "With 1.3 billion young people (age 15-24) now living in developing countries - the largest ever youth group in history - there is a critical need to invest in youth at this time. A failure to train them more effectively to be active, responsible citizens, could lead to widespread disillusionment and social tensions."
CSF projects working with youth span a wide range of themes and activities, such as youth civic engagement and volunteerism, participation in the work force and reduced unemployment, inclusion of marginalized youth in school and society in general, crime and violence prevention, youth awareness and advocacy on environmental protection, HIV/AIDS, drug use, reproductive health etc. The table below provides examples of projects addressing different concerns of youth, dependant on country contexts.
Empowering Youth in Different Country Contexts
Youth represents about two thirds of Liberia’s population, and civic participation and employment of youth are major concerns. In FY10, the CSF funded five grants focusing on youth volunteerism and civic engagement. CSOs organized community-based youth volunteer clubs in different localities in the country. Capacity building of these youth clubs aimed to increase their engagement with local political leaders, thereby making community development processes more inclusive and equitable. Trainings, workshops and panels for capacity building focused on volunteerism, life skills, conflict management and peace building, community youth empowerment, and youth leadership.
Internally Displaced Youth
Georgia prioritizes meeting post-conflict and vulnerability needs. In line with this priority, the CSF concentrated grants activities on youth internally displaced by the 2008 conflict. Internally displaced youth received job search, career orientation and entrepreneurship training through seven grants. One grantee CSO arranged for selected IDP youth to work as interns in local businesses. Other grantees strove to improve access of youth to job vacancy information through distribution of vacancy brochures and publicizing of an internet database.
The CSF grant activities in FY10 focused on human capital development in working with inner-city marginalized youth for crime prevention. Grantee CSOs targeted differing groups of youth with distinct needs: In-school youth were provided with conflict resolution methods, communication skills and school work support to keep them productively engaged in school. Unemployed and out-of-school youth received communication skills training and job interview coaching for entry into the formal labor market. One project innovatively worked with unengaged teen fathers on counseling and parenting skills in order to repair their relationships with partners.
Reduction of Youth Qat
The government of Yemen is committed to addressing Qat use in the country. Qat use takes a heavy toll on the productivity, employability, and social and family relations of youth. The CSF funds in FY10 mobilized CSOs to work with youth to develop innovative ideas on how to reduce youth Qat consumption. Grantees organized youth competitions and a football tournament, produced a documentary film and prepared awareness-raising television ads against Qat use.