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  • Changing the Rules of the Game

    Workshop: Civil Society Empowerment – Political Vuvuzelas or Development Partners? Reflections from Zambia

    The independent and diverse capacity of institutionalised civil society is a balancing factor vis-à-vis government planning, decision-making and implementation. Civil society activity promotes checks and balances by demanding from the state transparency, accountability, and inclusiveness in its actions in response to the aspirations of society.

    The legitimacy and credibility of CSOs is essential, and the absence of common code of conduct and shallow operational procedures can undermine CSO positioning. Most of those that claim to be at the forefront do not back their advocacy with knowledge and lack capacity for engagement. We refer to these as “political vuvuzelas.”

    Our workshop will explore two elements. In the first instance, we will discuss collaborations and networking amongst anti-corruption campaigners: What do we find on the ground?

    1. Cooperation vs. competition? Is there genuine will to network?
    2. Can civil society show the impact of their work?
    3. What is the institutional environment and the state’s reception of CSOs?

    In the second part of our workshop our focus will be on Empowerment – How can the deficiencies of CSOs be bridged?

    1. How to restore public trust in civil society?
    2. How to professionalise the work of CSOs understanding the dynamics of corruption?
    Is there scope for utilising citizen centred tools to hold their public representatives
    accountable (with social audits, citizens-leaders development pacts)?
    3. How can CSOs position themselves as learning institutions?
    4. Is there scope for cooperating with partners, who promote capacity development in
    the area of good governance, to complement CSOs in their own efforts?

    In our conclusions we will seek to determine the approach that can be taken by CSOs for citizen empowerment.

    Contributor Team:

    • Makani Mzyece, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit Zambia
    • Goodwell Lungu, Executive Director, Transparency International Zambia

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