Civil Society

The challenge: Effective and efficient civil society organizations have been a hallmark of successful societies, whether it is in the form of farmer’s federations, arts clubs, or other non-governmental organizations. Civil society is when citizens come together to express their shared values and interests and take action for the public good. But around the world, trends indicate that the environment for civil society is becoming more restrictive, while funding – especially for women’s organizations – is decreasing. This is at a time when civil society is needed more than ever, to provide a safeguard against instability and exclusion and help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Our solution: We support diverse and active civil society at all levels, from school committees in rural villages to world-class research institutes in urban hubs. Our programs underwrite greater competency, legitimacy, accountability, and sustainability within civil society, which translates to long-term gains across our program areas. All this work is underpinned by a commitment to gender equality and pluralism, to ensure that all voices are heard and valued. A robust, efficient civil society – increasingly funded by local sources – is a key driver of the overall quality of life, both in developing and developed countries.

A sunrise over Kampala.

Dispatch from the field: Connecting the dots

Julia Tops was working at AKF Uganda as a Regional Partnerships Fellow, as part of AKFC’s International Youth Fellowship Program. When

Inspiring inclusion in Africa and Asia

This International Women’s Day, we celebrated changemakers who are driving social, economic, and political empowerment for women and girls.

One tune-up at a time: Meet some young trailblazers in northern Uganda

A wrench, a tire pump, a jug of motor oil. In northern Uganda, these are tools for women’s empowerment. In

Muhammad delivering a workshop centered around peer-to-peer exchange networking at the event.

From the ground up: A Canadian’s perspective on the importance of grassroots work and gender equality

“The first piece of advice I was given was ‘Respect the relationships and networks we have built.’” With a background

Dispatch from the field: Cycling for peace & prosperity

Emilie Chiasson is a Social Science and Behaviourial Change Fellow in Kampala, Uganda, supporting the Aga Khan Foundation’s education projects

Dispatch from the Field: The magic of the micro-forest

Gertrude and Peter are Regional Partnerships Fellows in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Read their reflections on working on the AKDN’s micro-forest initiative.

How two entrepreneurs are challenging gender inequality in Pakistan

Access to financial services like loans can be challenging in remote and rural communities, like Safia and Hameeda’s village in Pakistan.

How Canada supports girls in Afghanistan, India, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, and Tajikistan

On the tenth anniversary of International Day of the Girl, learn how Canadian investments are supporting and making a difference for girls in Central Asia.

Advancing gender equality through advocacy in the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan

In 2021, UCA’s Civil Society Initiative established the School for the Advancement of Gender Equality, the first of its kind in Central Asia.