Through our work with civil society networks, and civil society groups more broadly over the past several years, we have noticed that while there is a lot of exciting and important collective action and collaboration taking place, the intended impact of this work is not always realised. This is often due to interpersonal dynamics and conflicting interests amongst civil society actors, or at times simply poor communication. Similar tensions also exist in some instances between CSOs and their beneficiaries (communities) and between CSOs and their international partners.
In 2017, Well Grounded therefore decided to design and pilot an initiative to support two civil society networks working on forest governance and community rights in the region – a national CSO platform in the Republic of Congo and a local CSO network in Cameroon – to explore and address issues of conflict transformation, trust-building and negotiation.
The objective of this pilot initiative is to strengthen the capacities of CSOs working on forest governance and community rights to better understand and learn to prevent, resolve and transform conflict within and amongst their own organisations; between CSOs and communities; as well as between CSOs and INGOs.
Overall, we hope that this work supports a culture of collaboration and complementarity amongst CSOs, rather than competition; and that it provides CSOs with negotiation and other skills necessary to build equal and effective relationships with other actors.
You can read more about Well Grounded’s work with CSO networks in our discussion paper: Collective action between Civil Society Organisations: How can networks be effective?