Donor Support for Civil Society Advocacy in BiH
Sarajevo : Peace Academy
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External research report
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SubjectNON-RU research; Onderzoek niet-RU
A strong civil society (CS) which is able to successfully advocate for groups of citizens is often seen as central to democratization and peacebuilding. Yet, after 17 years of donor support for CS, there are few signs of improvement in this direction. What have been the direct and indirect outcomes of previous efforts? What have both donors and CS actors learned from this? Can donors constructively and effectively support change agents within CS? In order to better understand the topic, the authors approached and interviewed the 10 donors providing the most funds for CS and reviewed documents regarding their programs. In addition, 10 CS activists with experience with advocacy and receiving donor funds as well as a reputation for independence were also interviewed. The policy brief is also connected with an independent research project related to the legitimacy of CS actors and is based on additional interviews and academic literature. The authors attempted to understand donor constraints and rationales and to seek a balanced perspective on both donor responsibility and the limitations of Civil Society Organizations in the present Bosnian context, with the goal of making realistic recommendations. The brief addresses 3 key issues: which topics and forms of advocacy are most helpful; the effectiveness of donor support in building advocacy capacity; and the role of the EU.
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