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Revitalizing civil society support in the face of crisis and opportunity

By Cath Long Civil society organisations are under assault around the world. As recently described in The Guardian and by networks such as CIVICUS, the past several years have witnessed a surge in government efforts to restrict local organizations’ ability to operate or access external funds. At the same time, development aid often exacerbates constraints


Why do local people often end up losing their community lands and forests, and see little of the profit that companies make from exploiting natural resources?

Many conflicts around community rights in natural resource management are caused by competition between companies and communities over access to and control of natural resources. Commercial exploitation of natural resources deprives communities of access to the spaces and resources on which they depend for their livelihoods and well-being, and local people usually see little if


The need to rethink collaboration between Cameroonian CSOs in order to increase their impacts on human and environmental wellbeing

Most of the civil society organisations (CSOs) that are involved in nature conservation and development activities in Cameroon are associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). They often try to work in synergy and to complement one another in their implementation of projects, but often fall short of their own expectations or those of donors and beneficiary


Building Potential to put Social and Environmental Justice at the Centre of Development

I am Wirsiy Emmanuel Binyuy and I work for Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch (CAMGEW), a non-profit organisation based in Oku, Cameroon. CAMGEW works to sustain the environment to ensure that people are free from poverty and gender inequality. CAMGEW works on forest conservation, environmental education, apiculture, agroforestry and eco-businesses like women’s microcredit schemes and


Strengthening Organizations – what do African CSOs need and want?

“We tend to talk a lot about the work on the ground, but focus much less on organizational development, even when the sustainability of actions on the ground depend on the strength of an organization…Organizational development is not like planting a bean seed where you will actually see the growth in two months, but instead


The value of conversations in organizations

While we may sometimes think of an organization as a structure, something more or less permanent, organizations are, of course, never static things. They are always in process – their visions change, as do their missions, structures, activities, donors, and staff. One of my biggest learnings has been that to truly appreciate the nature of


Eureka moment for an organisation development practitioner

Have you ever had a Eureka moment when a song describes exactly how you feel?  Yep, that OMG moment! I know the feeling. Now imagine what is being described in the song is not only how you feel, but also your perception of the world, your ideas of how to make a difference, your personal


What makes a strong organisation? Six insights from African CSOs

“One thing I’ve learned from our discussion, is that for an African organisation to survive, they need to either cope with having nothing or with having too much.” – Representative from an African CSO Over the last year Maliasili Initiatives and Well Grounded have worked together in trying to better understand key issues, challenges, and


Values and ‘deep culture:’ the roots of change

I was recently facilitating a session with civil society representatives in the Republic of Congo, and I asked them to reflect on their personal values, and how these values relate to their professional life. It was inspiring and enriching to hear their responses, and it made me think about how I would answer the question


What if we stopped telling other people what’s good for them and thinking and acting on their behalf?

A recent conversation brought to mind Gandhi’s observation “Whatever you do for me without me, you do against me…” I’d been facilitating a strategic process with an organisation whose executive director told me about an earlier experience with strategic planning in 2008: “… [it] didn’t really help us move forward, it wasn’t the right time