Sectoral Guide: Strengthening Civil Society

Wednesday, 23 August, 2006 - 10:59

In recent years, the number of organisations working specifically in support of the institutional development of the South African NGO sector has dwindled substantially

Supporting Civil Society for Social Transformation

In recent years, the number of organisations working specifically in support of the institutional development of the South African NGO sector has dwindled substantially.

The closure of the Development Resources Centre in the early 2000’s and the more recent closure of Olive OD&T  are worrying indicators of an unsupportive environment for the growth and progress of development organisations.

Civil society strengthening organisations that haven’t closed down, have survived either as a result of shifting their focus entirely or reducing their programmes substantially. Presently the majority of South African NGOs working in support of civil society have an interest in and are engaged in developing the capacity of grassroots community based organisations (CBOs). This trend is not in isolation of donor requirements to make an impact directly on the ground.

While the above trend is welcomed, it has not taken place in a manner that has balanced the needs of intermediary NGOs, many of whom face closure due to a lack of institutional support and funding. Moreover, the lack of a strong co-ordinating and networking body for the South African NGO sector is creating high levels of anxiety and uncertainty amongst traditional NGOs.

Finally, while many of the organisation's listed below highlight social transformation as a specific goal, the challenges associated with meeting this objective are apprieciated given the survivalist nature of grassroots organisations. 

For information about NGOs working in related fields, visit the PRODDER NGO and Development Directory.

Common Programme Areas for NGOs Supporting Civil Society:

  • Capacity Building
  • Organisation Development
  • Networking
  • Advocacy
  • Research
  • Social Transformation

NGOs Working in Support of Civil Society:

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To contribute information to this particular issue, please submit a query to editor@sangonet.org.za. We are particularly interested in information related to capacity building, case studies, debates, advocacy, research and other relevant links.

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