CIVICUS has created the Civil Society Index (CSI) project, a “participatory needs assessment and action planning tool” designed to strengthen civil society worldwide.
According to Katsuji, the top three challenges facing civil society today are:
1. Accountability and transparency
2. Infrastructure and organization
3. Maintaining engagement
The project’s goal is to create a learning network to improve the state of civil society around the globe, he said.
“There are a broad range of actors in civil society, not just NGOs,” Katsuji explained.
That group of actors can sometimes include “uncivil elements”.
CSI is designed to measure the following dimensions of civil society:
1. Civil Engagement – the extent to which individuals engage in social and policy related initiatives.
2. Level of Organization – the level of institutionalization that characterizes civil society.
3. Practice of Values – the extent to which civil society practices core values.
4. Perceived impact – the extend civil society impacts the social and policy arena.
5. External Environment – the four above elements analysed in the context of the socio-economic, political and cultural variables within which the civil society operates.
Katsuji, a member of the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network, flies back to Tokyo on Wednesday, in time to join the Innovators Network reunion on February 6. (Daniel Rosenblum)