In this lesson, we will look into the risks and challenges CSOs face in performing their different roles.
There are different roles which CSOs play to combat corruption. More concretely, CSOs provide education, conduct research, perform monitoring, awareness-raising, advocacy, mobilization and organization of activities promoting good governance. Performing these roles however can sometimes be challenging, even impossible in certain instances. Challenges vary depending on location and work being conducted by CSOs. Some of the images below reflect the differences in context.
CSOs and individuals involved in the fight against corruption often face the risks of being harassed, harmed and compromised by people who are in power. They are on the receiving end of public threats from high-ranking officials and other politicians. Many of these threats are accompanied by the familiar allegations that civil society organizations are working with foreign powers to overthrow or destabilize the government and preceded with the approval of restrictive legislation designed to control the activities of civil society.
As more activism takes place online and new avenues for citizen mobilization becomes available in the virtual space, the Internet has also posed risks to those working to fight corruption. Many bloggers and online activists have threatened, detained and sometimes imprisoned. Social media and the use of the Internet have also been regulated to constrain freedom of expression.
Internally, many CSOs, that underfunding and especially the inconsistency in funding is the greatest hindrance to the effectiveness of their work. “Jumping from grants to grants” impairs long-term implementation and continuation of successful programs. They can also benefit from developing their capacities to dialogue with different stakeholders by strengthening their knowledge on the issue, advocacy, organizing, and other relevant skills, and tools and mechanisms for performing different CSO roles.
Activity: Reflection Questions