In times, when democratic principles and the rule of law are threatened by public violence or conflict, civil society has a potential to react and transform it into a less violent or peaceful and constructive interaction. Especially networks of citizens and Civil Society Organizations (CSO) will act as advocates for freedom of speech, equality and solidarity. They must be strong for involving in public discussion, addressing conflicting issues, opening public disputes, explaining, discussing and negotiating their own missions and agendas and keeping on operating publicly.
“Civil” refers to the way discussions, negotiations and disputes are conducted. CSOs contribute to fairness, peace, non-violence, participation and collective solution orientation.
Resilience describes the ability of CSOs to adapt to new conditions, develop resistance and be able to renew by rethinking their actions, catalyzed through external impulses.
Civil Resilience of CSOs
CSOs’ impact depends on how they are able to include values into their structures, create communication channels toward other sectors and actively involve in interactions especially at the crossroads between civil society and other social sectors.
People induce change. They develop ideas, connect with others, collaborate, and shape organizations. Civil Resilience is the ability of citizens for proactive, self-responsible, democratic-minded action – civic competence. The following aspects seem to influence the ability to civil resilience of organisations.
|Institutional Trust |
Organisations offer people opportunities to trust in others and they also prove this with their internal and external credibility. A network of trustworthy organisations constitutes democratic public sphere. Through this they mobilise and generate social trust by defining balance: between cooperation and competition, between drawing people and building bridges between them to other social groups.
|Systems & Political Thinking |
Social life is an interaction of different spheres, logics and organisations. CSOs impacting entire society need to look at their mission as a bigger picture. Systems thinking combines attitude as well as willingness to change. As a capacity this implies tackling the fundamental questions that concern a society as well in the operational work, such as: the rule of law, corruption, fairness and solidarity. Democratic Resilience includes understanding of political issues and how one relates to the fundamental ethical-normative ideas.
|Robust Civility |
Constructiveness, humanity, diversity consciousness or democratic rules are needed in good and bad times. Robust civility is the ability to (re-)establish freedom of speech and ability to get constructively involved in conflicts in a peaceful way.
|Inclusion & Democratisation Representation and participation require open spaces for individual engagement. Inclusive CSOs develop fair and participatory governance. They combine an inclusive attitude with democratic standards such as responsiveness, transparency or clear and legitimate responsibility.|
|Collaborative Impact |
Common spaces require common sources. Why not perceiving ourselves as democratic Commoners? When organisations share and exchange resources, they contribute to new common goods. Providing open access to them they give grounds to collective impact. This also becomes a backbone for social innovation.
Creating communication across media, the ability to campaigning, combatting blackmails and fake news are key especially for actors in authoritarian environments. Communication means the sum of of communication, behavior and design efforts for shaping relations to the internal and external spheres.