Effectiveness Of Civil Society Organizations In Advocating Change In The Society
1.1 Background Of The Study
Civil society organizations (CSOs) play an increasing important role in governance and development around the world. In many countries, CSOs have become important actors in the delivery of social services and the implementation of other national development programmes to complement what States sometimes fail to provide to their citizens (Ulanga, 2009).
First, CSOs act at a local and national level. They provide a certain amount of services to the population, public authorities and even businesses. In several countries, they play a key role in the fulfillment of social, cultural and welfare services, be it as a separate self-financed organization or in cooperation with national governments and local public authorities. They are thus involved in public missions and public services which are facing new challenges and may experience tremendous changes in the future. To a great extent, the development CSOs and their relationship to the state on governance issues has been a reflection of the prevailing socio-economic and political environment (Kiondo, 2004).
According to Diamond (1999), a vibrant civil society is sine qua non to the sustenance of any nation‘s development. Studies have shown that the role of civil society groups is vital in the political, social and economic development of African countries.
Before independence, there was a dominance of about 51 religious organizations, labour, linguistic and ethnic organizations and dance clubs. However, several studies reveal that even those few organizations which sometime during the struggle for independence were vocal and autonomous were later on when the country went into single party banned while others were decentralized and fall under the control of the state. For example, the Ruvuma Development Association was banned in 1969 because the regional authorities saw its autonomy and emphasis on democracy as a threat (LHRC, 2011).
In the late 1980s and 1990s Kiondo (2004) says that, Nigeria underwent major social economic and political transformation. In the economic sphere, it moved from a centralized economic system to economic liberalization while in the political sphere the country moved from a single party system to multiparty system. This new orientation created a space for voluntary action in the form of civic associations. As such in the 1980s and 1990s Nigeria witnessed an unprecedented growth of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
While some CSOs are doing notable work in the area of advocating the rights of vulnerable groups, especially women and children, other CSOs deal with good governance and poverty reduction strategies (Civicus, 2008). For instance in Nigeria, political parties and a number of other CSOs have been providing opposition to the ruling political party that has wielded the reins of power since independence in 1961. Close to the times of general elections, which are held once after every five years, several CSOs get involved in raising voters’ awareness on election matters, and during elections, they help in the monitoring of electoral process. The economic reform programmes have also been an area of interest of CSOs, some of which have been actively involved in ensuring that the benefits of economic reforms reach people at the grassroots level, through such initiatives as public expenditure tracking (PETS) (Civicus, 2011).
For over two decades now, the process of globalization has been influencing the socioeconomic environment in countries. While globalization provides new opportunities for economic development to countries through trade liberalization, foreign direct investment, capital flows, information exchange and technological transfer, it has meant increased deprivation for those nations which have been unable to adjust to the new requirements of global society. Thus, on one hand while we witness rapid economic growth and prosperity in some regions, there are more than a billion people who continue to live in poverty with purchasing power of less than a dollar a day. In the poorest countries, about one fifth of the children die in the first year of their birth, nearly half of those who survive are malnourished and a significant proportion of the population does not have access to clear water, sanitation, basic health services and education.
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
While many of the civil society organizations in the country strive to influence the government and policy makers on various issues of people’s interest, the government continues to mistrust them and even misunderstand their roles. Many CSOs express concerns that although the government has changed its attitude towards the private sector as a partner in development process, it has not changed its attitude towards Civil Society Organizations (Ingelstam and Karlstedt, 2007).
Although several studies have contributed towards exploring the key problems facing CSOs in Nigeria, most of them have not examined the effectiveness of these CSOs in advocating change in the society. It is this reason which has inspired the researcher into carrying out an analytical examination of the effectiveness of civil society organizations (specifically Nigeria Labor congress) in advocating change in the society.
While trying to fulfill these functions, governments all over the world, have pursued policies that were generally considered to be unpopular, insensitive and inimical to public interest. Some governments have also taken certain actions which inadvertently trampled on the rights and liberties of the people. Yet other government policies have been similarly adjudged as environmentally unfriendly. Some government policies may sometimes unleash momentary hardships onto the people and this goes uncontested in reality. But considered on the whole, the long term benefits society may derive from such very policies, sometimes, could be beyond measure.
1.3 Objectives Of The Study
The general objective of this study is to examine the effectiveness of civil society organizations in advocating change in the society, a case study of Nigeria Labor Congress. The specific objectives of this study include the following:
- To find out the perception of the Nigeria Labor Congress on the necessity of advocating change in the society.
- To ascertain the areas Nigeria Labor Congress has been successful in advocating change in society.
- To assess the mechanisms used by Nigeria Labor Congress in advocating change in society.
- To examine the factors limiting Nigeria Labor Congress in advocating change in society.
1.4 Research Questions
The relevant research questions related t this study include the following:
- What is the perception of the Nigeria Labor Congress on the necessity of advocating change in the society?
- What are the areas Nigeria Labor Congress has been successful in advocating change in society?
- What are the mechanisms used by Nigeria Labor Congress in advocating change in society?
- What are the factors limiting Nigeria Labor Congress in advocating change in society?
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Frequently Asked Questions
How do civil society groups in Singapore advocate for change?
In the face of a multitude of challenges, civil society groups in Singapore have devised strategies that have proven effective in advocating for change to the government. One important element of this process lies in creating awareness and building support among the public.
Should governments and CSOs have a dual role in civil society?
But in many parts of the world, where strictly adversarial roles between governments and CSOs have been the norm, or where civil society is less robust, such a dual role for civil society will be quite new and challenging.
What is the role of civil society?
Civil society organisations provide important aid; as one example, with families in lockdown, domestic abuse hotlines are lightning up. Around the globe, other organisations advocate for people without running water, without internet access, for minorities and for the poor. 2. Watchdog Civil society acts as the democratic watchdog.
Why should civil society participate in the OGP?
Civil society organization participation in OGP at the international level has supported stronger processes and outcomes at the country level. Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University and a steering committee member from US civil society, tells a similar story.
What is the role of civil society in Singapore?
Speaking on the role of civil society in Singapore, Siew Kum Hong, vice-president of human rights advocacy group MARUAH, said that the People Action Party government’s stance that civil society must be “something to be chosen or not chosen, something to be approved or disapproved, something to be controlled” lay at the core of the matter.
Is Singapore’s tight grip over civil society stifling its growth?
(Photo courtesy of NVPC) The Singapore government’s tight grip over civil society is stifling its growth, according to activists that took part in a panel discussion on the issue on Wednesday.
Which are the 10 NGOs in Singapore advocating for Human Rights?
10 NGOs in Singapore Advocating for Human Rights 1 MARUAH 2 Transient Workers Count Two (TWC2) 3 Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) 4 Think Centre 5 Sayoni 6 Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME) 7 Advocates for Refugees 8 We Believe In Second Chances 9 Project X 10 United Women Singapore (UWS)
Why advocates for refugees in Singapore?
Through its advocacy work it hopes to achieve changes to improve the lives of this affected population in Singapore. Advocates for Refugees is an NGO based in Singapore that works on raising awareness on the issues of refugees and forced migration in Singapore. It advocates and campaigns for the rights of refugees in the country.
What is the role of CSOs in good governance?
CSOs and Nexus with Good Governance Perhaps, the most conspicuous role played by CSOs is in the area articulating citizens’ interests and demands is an important function performed by Civil Society Organizations, CSOs.
What are civil society organizations (CSOs)?
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) therefore refer to a wide of array of organizations: community groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), labor unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, and foundations.7
How can civil society organizations promote transparency and good governance?
Civil society organizations (CSOs) can play an important role in enhancing transparency and good governance in developing countries by contributing to increased public debate on issues surrounding the formulation and implementation of government budgets as well as in supporting greater transparency of public revenues.
What is the most conspicuous role played by CSOs?
Perhaps, the most conspicuous role played by CSOs is in the area articulating citizens’ interests and demands is an important function performed by Civil Society Organizations, CSOs.
What civil society can do to develop democracy?
Promoting political participation among the people is another important role that civil society must do to develop democracy. Civil society is to educate people about their rights and obligations towards the nation/state. Encourage or even to provide assistance to register as voters; (since we have yet to have automatic registration).
How does OGP work with civil society?
OGP’s rotating leadership group also comes from both sectors, with two government co-chairs and two civil society co-chairs. Additionally, within OGP, the Independent Civil Society Engagement team (CSE) works to broaden, strengthen and engage a strong civil society network to participate in OGP, particularly at the national level.
What does the OGP Support Unit do?
The CSE supports national civil society actors to help them make better use of the OGP process — including the design, implementation and monitoring of OGP action plans — for achieving their own advocacy objectives. Meet the OGP Support Unit Civil Society Engagement staff.
What is the independent civil society engagement Team (CSE)?
Additionally, within OGP, the Independent Civil Society Engagement team (CSE) works to broaden, strengthen and engage a strong civil society network to participate in OGP, particularly at the national level.