Organizational Resiliency in Closing Civic Space
In recent years, civic space has been shrinking at a rapid pace, with its restriction becoming the norm rather than the exception. As operating space shrinks globally, the civil society sector has been forced to rethink traditional organizational development models that are geared towards sustainability, an idyllic end state of equilibrium. Instead, civil society must think about what is necessary to navigate the short-term twists and turns on the road to reaching that end state. Organizational resiliency enables civil society to adapt to the impacts of quickly changing external conditions in order to prepare and respond effectively.
Different from traditional models of sustainability, resiliency gives CSOs the capacity to adapt swiftly and purposefully to shocks or impacts in such a way as to not only survive, but also thrive in an uncertain environment. PartnersGlobal developed the Resiliency+ Framework based on this need for a new organizational model. The first of its kind, the framework provides a nuanced understanding of how civil society organizations and actors operate, adapt, and thrive in response to multi-faceted and multi-dimensional changes to socio-political-economic dynamics.
The Resiliency+ Process
How do we know when an organization is resilient? Drawing upon peer interviews, studies and reports, as well as reputable indices developed by peer organizations, we identified seven core factors that contribute to organizational resiliency in the face of closing space, depicted in the graphic to the left. We then developed a process that guides CSOs through a series of phases to ultimately improve their adaptive capacities across the factors, thereby increasing their level of resiliency in the face of closing civic space.
PHASE ONE: ASSESS ORGANIZATIONAL RESILIENCY
CSOs will utilize a self-diagnostic tool devised specifically for this process called the Resilient Organization in Closing Civic Space (ROCCS) Assessment, which measures the capacity of an organization to withstand and thrive in closing civic space contexts. It also elicits a deeper understanding of both context specific external threats and the internal capacities of the organization going through the R+ process.
PHASE TWO: UNDERSTAND THE ECOSYSTEM
CSOs will then analyze what their civic space systems looks like by exploring the question, “What are the forces and capacities (and what are the dynamics among them) that make civil society resilient and able to participate openly and freely in civic life?”
PHASE THREE: DEVELOP A RESILIENCY+ ROADMAP
Using the analysis, CSOs will be guided through a process to devise a customized intervention using the Resiliency+ Matrix, comprised of strategies, tools, tactics, and approaches that correlate to different threat and resiliency areas and are intended to increase CSO resiliency.
PHASE FOUR: LEARN AND ADAPT TO EXPLORE NEW ROUTES ALONG THE WAY
Throughout implementation of the customized intervention, organizations will pause and reflect at various “Pit Stops” to determine if the road ahead is still the most suitable for increasing resiliency, and if not, change direction.
Peer mentors accompany CSOs throughout the Resiliency+ Process, serving as coaches and connecting organizations to other key resource partners with expertise in specific technical areas related to one or more threat or resiliency factor.
To access the full Resiliency+ Framework, click here.