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CSFS Background

The Facility is a result of the new approach announced in the communication on "A New Response to a Changing Neighborhood" of 25 May 2011. The approach advanced by the EU, based on mutual accountability and transparency and a shared commitment to respective universal values, international human rights standards, democracy and the rule of law, and entails a greater involvement of civil society in a policy-structured dialogue. In this regard, the EU supports civil society organizations (CSOs) to boost their capacities and possibilities to contribute to policy-making and hold governments to account.

The Facility is also referenced in the communication on “A Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean". This document embodies a response to the recent events in the Neighborhood South while building upon proceeding actions, like the regional programme Civil Society South implemented during 2009-2012. However, to build on what has already been achieved, it is necessary to enhance the credibility of the process, encourage more target-oriented approaches from organizations, by taking into account the development of policies, especially the European Neighborhood Policy.

In this regard, the initiative will align the assistance and the policy dialogue with the institutionalized political dialogue carried out by the EU with partner countries, in the context of the Association Committees and appropriate Sub-Committees of the ENP. It is thus essential to underline the commitment on promoting an enabling environment for CSOs and their participation in national reforms, at the political level.

CSFS Strategy

The CSFSouth Strategy is the Programme's first strategy paper, articulating the vision, mission, approach, objectives and accountabilities for the next three years (2015-2017).

Based on processes of critical reviews and consultations, the strategy seeks to confirm the support and solidarity with CSOs and groups working and living in exclusion and those most affected by the injustices perpetrated by unresponsive regimes. Our belief is in their capacity and agency in changing power relations and promoting alternatives for a life lived with identity, dignity and justice.

The strategy aims to develop solutions and alternatives that foster participation and accountability, facilitate an open space partner CSOs to work with youth and women leaderships, and start developing its collective of supporters and volunteers, who will want to contribute their part in the formation of democratic process and initiate a step by step structured policy dialogue.

This strategy has built its foundations on the historical events that have taken place in the Southern Mediterranean region over the past six years and the work of national and regional civil society and movements seeking more accountable, transparent and just governance. Based on learning from experiences working in the region over the past twenty years, the way we think and act, our character and distinctive competencies, which underpin the work, with strategic priorities and interventions determined by thinking globally and acting locally.

The strategy targets two areas of civil society in the Southern Mediterranean region:
a) Moving programmes from service provision toward demand driven and rights-based frameworks, and;
b) Fostering networks for active learning and advocacy at all levels.

These two objectives are geared toward empowering CSOs and youth and on increasing accountability in public institutions. The overarching objective of this strategy is to keep in motion the democracy movements underway in the region by establishing fair, just governance, creating dialogue at levels, document and disseminate lesson learned.

  • The CSF South operational strategy is to expand the knowledge and skills of CSOs to support effective national and regional dialogue, fair and just governance by working at three levels:

    1- With civil society partners
    • Adopting and promoting right-based approaches

    • Building national and regional coalitions

    2- With constituents, particularly youth

    • Empowering young people to create social and political change
    3- With local authorities
    • Increasing accountability in organizations and in public institutions

    This strategy will be implemented on the level of individual CSOs and youth, building their competency to affect change in their communities and gain a voice in local and national decision- making. The current flux in the region – where civil society has been largely absent – presents an ideal opportunity to institutionalize these approaches. It is CSF’s aim that its strategy for the capacity building of CSOs will lead to a renewed civil society in the Southern Mediterranean.
Vision & Mission & Approach

In supporting Civil societies, The CSF South builds on the European Commission’s vision of Non-State Actors involvement in development cooperation and the major steps to which they need to take part. This involvement is no longer limited to a participation in service delivery, but aims at strengthening the capacity of Non-State Actors to become key actors of democratic governance processes. Based on that, CSF South works to enhance CSOs’ role, through tailored capacity development and effective networking at both national and regional levels to capitalize on strong and vibrant civil societies across the region. Thus, to ensure CSOs participation in the decision-making with a collaborative approach between CSOs and state actors in the region and searching for sustainable development applying the tools of structured policy dialogue.

Our approach

To ensure sustainable and impactful support to partner CSOs, the CSF South programme promotes an evidence-based approach, builds on achievements and feedback from the field to improve the planning and development skills of grantees, CSOs and youth leaderships.
The programme is based on the idea that there is a significant potential to be tapped into through developing the capacity of CSOs and youth organizations. The CSF South regional program endorses the role of CSOs in the whole process and stresses the need to engage them to remain relevant in the region and to significantly increase the programme's impact.

The CSF Program will be working across 10 countries in the Region through a multi-layered approach, targeting and covering:

• CSOs, decision and policy makers, introducing them to more participatory governance and preparing them for a smooth process of a structured policy dialogue, to accepting ideas around: advocacy for rights realization and CSOs participation in policy making process,
• Civil society organizations – introducing them to, a demand driven capacity building, in order to boost up their contributions in the policy making process and encouraging the development of their capacity in monitoring actions towards governments and engaging both (CSOs and governments) in a deeper and structured dialogue.
• CSO's middle level management and involved committees within the participating CSOs – empowering them on best practices regarding internal governance and social accountability
• mechanisms through, motivation, training, workshops, seminar, symposiums and capacity development to develop their citizenship skills and engage them in expressing their opinions and concerns, and participating and even beyond,
• Youth groups – supporting their mobilization in order to work on social change initiatives that address root causes of rights violations and achieve positive changes in their spheres of life. Raise their interest and participation in the democratization and policy cycle within their communities; introduce them to tools of social accountability for policy dialogue issues and step by step structured participation on policy making, democratic governance, equitable development and inclusive growth. The focus was given to build up new leaderships who can stand for local elections of their CSOs, local and national municipalities and People’s Assemblies, the CSF Program will facilitate the creation of “Active Change Agents” within CSF South partners CSOs.
• Adopting a "learning-by-doing" approach enhances the effectiveness of capacity building by encouraging ownership, securing stakeholder “buy-in” and building technical capacity through direct engagement of local actors and institutions.