Reality of Aid Africa (RoA-A) focuses on civil society organizations, recognizing that the constituencies and roles for such organizations in society are very diverse, and operate at many levels. Its contribution to the measurement of progress for Indicator 2 is therefore focusing on progress in enabling conditions affecting civil society organizations at different levels.
Focus is made on two key areas of an enabling environment for CSOs 1) the implementation of an enabling regulatory and legal framework for CSOs (consistent with human rights norms for the right to organize, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech), and 2) the existence of inclusive policy processes and facilitative institutions (democratic ownership). These are both consistent with the current monitoring framework for Indicator 2, proposed by the OECD/UNDP Secretariat as introduced in the background.
In Malawi’s own experience, it is therefore apparent that as complex as they are, development agendas cannot just be left only to the State. A nation’s growth and even its very survival, requires private initiative (both for-profit businesses and non-profit civil society organizations) to make full and effective use of the country’s human potential, generate material resources, and develop a vibrant and robust socio-economic base.
The promotion of an enabling environment would thus entail an embodiment of laws and policies that allow favor and mainstream a socially responsible private and civil society sector. Such an environment stimulates local initiative, triggering a positive chain of multiplier effects and draws inward investment. Both of these can therefore have rapid and dramatic effects on the development results agenda and outcomes that are likely to usher in far reaching positive impacts.
In conclusion, the promotion of an enabling environment remains a fundamental challenge, which requires not only a strategic joint reflection, but also a shared responsibility among a broad range of actors.