Challenges to Afghan civil society highlighted
KABUL (PAN): Afghan civil society organisations (CSOs) have made important gains in recent years, but their progress toward ensuring improved standards of human rights and accountability remains fragile, a new study warned on Wednesday.
Tawanmandi, one of the largest civil society-strengthening programmes in Afghanistan, listed inability to engage effectively with the government, lack of coordination, low-capacity levels and inadequate coherence in advocacy efforts as some of the weaknesses of CSOs.
The study that covered 13 provinces of the country said that the flaws were more pronounced among CSOs based outside Kabul and a few other regional centres.
Abdul Basir, executive director of Tawanmandi, said: “There is a clear need and demand for more support for CSOs in the provinces and they should be involved in deciding how this support should be given.”
Simultaneously with the launch of the mapping report, Tawanmandi announced the first major round of project grants. This is part of a comprehensive grants and capacity development strategy that has been developed after a series of extensive consultations with CSOs to ensure the programme responds to the actual needs.
With project funding to be decided through a transparent process, the programme promised that CSOs working in the fields of human rights, access to justice, peace-building/conflict resolution, anti-corruption and media would be given a chance to apply for assistance.
“We encourage CSOs to work together and be innovative in the way they are seeking to address issues. We place a major emphasis on the involvement of women, youth, people with disabilities and out-of-Kabul civil society,” Abdul Basir remarked.
A new initiative and a multi-donor trust fund, Tawanmand was launched on Oct 31, 2011 to strengthen civil society organisations to improve living conditions for ordinary people in remote areas of the country.
While backing civil society to help people improve accountability and transparency in the government, the Tawanmandi is a $65 million Afghan-led trust fund seeking to empower civil society -- particularly youth and women.
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