From March 15-17, 2010, Mr Sharad Joshi and Mr P.M. Paul from Cecoedecon visited Context Utrecht with the goal of entering into a partnership agreement. The Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (Cecoedecon) was founded by a small group of young, committed social workers to provide immediate relief to the victims of devastating floods in Jaipur/North-India in 1982. Over the years, Cecoedecon has evolved into a civil society organisation pursuing integrated participatory development and advocating human rights.
A longstanding and fruitful cooperation between Cecoedecon and Context inspired both organisations to explore the possibility for a partnership. The relationship has evolved from client service providers to partners. With this partnership Cecoedecon and Context aim to strengthen the capacity for development with regard to Civic Driven Change (CDC). CDC will provide for the theoretical and strategical framework of the operationalisation and implementation of activities in support of setting the conditions for a civil society by development projects, defense of people’s rights and interests, lobby and advocacy. A special focus will be given on the position of children and their development in their community and environment.
The overall goal of the partnership between Cecoedecon and Context is to create a platform for exchange of knowledge and information by the development, introduction, implementation and dissemination of the concept and results of Social Return on Investment (SROI). SROI is the methodological framework of Cecoedecon’s monitoring and evaluation system of CDC; it provides the material learning base of the development praxis and subsequently the necessary and dynamic relationship between learning and organisational development of Cecoedecon and its partners in order to continuously improve the performance of actors in South and North. For Context staff it is a unique opportunity to learn directly from development practice.
After three days of meetings about several topics, a mutual understanding between both parties was reached and on March 17, the partnership agreement was signed.
From March 8-10, 2010 Context, international cooperation facilitated a Civic Driven Change workshop for the Together4Change Alliance in Limuru, Kenya.
The Together4Change Alliance (T4C) consists of International Child Support (ICS), Wereldkinderen (WK), Wilde Ganzen (WG) and SOS Kinderdorpen (SOS). The Alliance is strengthened by a range of (inter)national and local organisations working in Africa, Asia and Latin America: the Together4Change network. Through collaborating in this alliance the organisations hope to strengthen their work and increase impact for the well-being of children.
As the main purpose of forming an Alliance is increased impact through collaboration and coordination, it was important for the members of the network to get to know each other, exchange experiences and learn from each other. The workshop was organised in order to facilitate this process. The focal point of the workshop was on Civic Driven Change. CDC has been embraced by the Alliance as one of its core themes.
The workshop consisted of: information sharing by the organisations in the network on their context, organisation, programmes and relationships, a story telling exercise in small groups about current practices, introduction to Civic Driven Change, sharing practical cases in groups, discussing what CDC means for the involved organisations’ work, information sharing about follow-up and evaluating the 3-day workshop.
For more information about the workshop, please read the full workshop report here.
In December 2009, Hivos, ISS, Cordaid, Social Evaluator, Broederlijk Delen, DGIS and Context were informed that their jointly proposal 'Civic Driven Change: Implications for policymakers and practitioners´ will be funded by the Development Policy Review Network (DPRN). The aim of this project is to stimulate dialogue between development experts about what Civic Driven Change (CDC) implies for policy and practice of international cooperation. Three thematic sessions will be organised, focusing on different aspects of bringing CDC into practice and policies with groups of practitioners, policy makers, academics and business representatives with specific experience on the following themes: CDC and local politics, CDC and private enterprise and CDC and development policies.
For each of these sessions, a short position paper will be prepared, presenting current policy and practice on the theme, as well as a succinct introduction to literature and research to ensure informed discussion during each of the events.
Finally, a public event will be organised to synthesize the outcomes of the thematic meetings, disseminate the findings to a wider public and define ways forward.
Several organisations are involved in the process: ISS, Hivos, Cordaid, Social Evaluator, Broederlijk Delen, DGIS and Context. Every organisation will play an active role in one or more of sessions. Context will coordinate the overall of activities.
In November 2009 Context organised a five-day workshop on Social Return on Investment (SROI) in Anantapur, India. Twelve participants from various development organisations attended the workshop. The main goal of this workshop was to gain more in depth knowledge of SROI in practice and to reinforce SROI as a practical methodology for planning and M&E to support development efforts. For more information about SROI, please visit the website of the SROI Seminar in March, 2009.
The workshop was organised according to the principles of ‘Participatory Learning and Action’ (PLA). This methodology implies that the experiences from practice of the participants form the main basis for the contents of the workshop. The latter part of the workshop was organised devoted to an intensive writing exercise and application of the methodology in order to prepare a practical guide on SROI. This guide is expected to be published by autumn 2010.
A journalist who attended and facilitated part of the workshop has published an article In The Hindu of November 27, 2009 under the headline, “A new tool to measure the impact of development efforts on society”. It is available on Internet at the following link: http://www.hindu.com/2009/11/27/stories/2009112753770300.htm
From August 31 – September 2, 2009 a group of 24 practitioners from around the world came together in Doorn, the Netherlands to jointly reflect upon our experiences and distill lessons from practice about Civic Driven Change. To learn more about this Joint Learning Workshop, click here.
In the past 12 months, nine Action Learning Case Studies (ALCS) were undertaken by the Centre with a variety of partner organisations. To read some interviews with several of these partner organisations, visit the 'Stories of Change' section of this website.
The purposes of the Joint Learning Workshop, with representatives from all these case studies, were to:
a. distil lessons on how Civic Driven Change processes take place;
b. reflect on implications for development/change policies and operational guidelines;
c. reflect on how citizen's initiated and led change can be applied/enhanced in practice;
d. review the Action Learning Case Study methodology
In addition to abovementioned purposes the workshop aimed to contribute to the emergence of a community of practitioners on Civic Driven Change processes.
The full report of the workshop can now be downloaded from this website.
Some 150 people participated in the workshop 'The Practice of Civic Driven Change' which was co-organised by Context, international cooperation and the ISS and held on June 22, 2009 at the ISS. Most of the participants were practitioners from a large variety of Dutch development organisations.
After a plenary session, the participants were divided into subgroups. In total, 25 cases with diverse examples of CDC in practice were presented in these thematic workshops. Examples of themes discussed were: civic action and markets; promoting responsible citizenship; CDC in fragile states and children and civic action. At the end of the day, some of the major outcomes were discussed with the entire group. The words 'inspiring' and 'useful exchange' were frequently heard during the drinks afterwards.
For more information, the flyer, the final programme as well as a report of the workshop, click here.
From end 2007 several conversations on CDC between civil society representatives in Cambodia and Context, international cooperation took place. The experience of these individuals and their organisations reflected a great deal of insights that would enrich the debate on CDC. The organisations saw the potential of CDC as a useful approach and concept to strengthen their work in Cambodia. These conversations have resulted in a CDC dialogue in Cambodia which will take place in July 2009. At a meeting on the 2nd of July a group of social activists, civil society organisations and other interested parties will be brought together for a dialogue on the ideas of CDC in the Cambodian context. Furthermore an Action Learning Case Study will be carried out with a community group in the Battambang Province in Cambodia.
Are you actively involved in community life? Are you working for a common cause, for positive social change? Are you engaged as a group or organisation in activities, which can be described as people-driven?
Maybe you always wanted to create more space to hold on and reflect on your work and its impacts. Or you are interested in gaining new and deeper insights into your own working practice - in any case, an Action Learning Case Study (ALCS) might be something for you. It gives you the unique opportunity to deeply reflect on and learn from your own activities and experience in a participatory action learning process, and provides boosts of inspiration for carrying on with your important contribution to a more civic society.
For further information, please click here.
Voor informatie in het Nederlands, klik hier.
You can also contact Lieke Ruijmschoot (lr(at)developmenttraining.org), or Marieke Sterenborg (mst(at)developmenttraining.org), Tel.: 030-27 37 500.
In April 2009 two staff members of the Centre conducted an Action Learning Case Study (ALCS) together with local partners of the organisation Shri Jagdamba Samiti (SJS) and apple farmers in the state of Uttarkhand, North India. Read more about how the apple project contributed to economic and broader social changes in the region.
In a recent article Harry Boyte, who was an advisor in Barack Obama's election campaign team, critically reflects on the President's first 100 days in office. Partly related to the media's constant pressure to explain how he intents to solve the pressing challenges his country is facing, his rethoric recently seems to undergo a shift from 'we', who are as active citizen jointly responsible for bringing positive change about, to 'I' - the traditional view on a state leader, who solves problems for his people. Click here to access the full article in the Startribune.
Context, international cooperation has just completed a study focusing on the work of a local Dutch development organisation (COS Zeeland) on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.
The study covers the contribution of COS Zeeland to Dutch political and public support for global issues. On April 20, 2009, the Dutch Minister of Development cooperation, Bert Koenders, received the first copy of the report during the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of COS Zeeland.
Click here for the full report, ‘De kracht van verbinding’ .
On 16 March 2009 Context organised an international seminar on Social Return on Investment (SROI) - a unique, participatory approach to 'measuring' the outcomes of civic development initiatives. Please visit the SROI website to find background documents of the seminar, as well as the seminar report and several presentations that were held at the event. The site can be accessed on http://www.sroiseminar2009.org.
Harry C. Boyte, a distinguished scholar, community organizer and activist spoke on civic action during the Context MasterClass. He gave vibrant examples from the succesful Barack Obama campaign and the civic engagement philosophy. Furthermore he explained the relevance of the organizing method for the development sector. Click here for the full report of the lecture given by Boyte.
In summer 2008 the Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants' Society (CECOEDECON) - a Jaipur-based non-governmental organisation - started organising a series of regular dialogue meetings for discussion and exchange on CDC related issues in Jaipur, India.
Click here to read the report of the latest dialogue meeting.
Click here to read an article from THE HINDU about the kick-off event in June 2008.