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Programming strategy

The Foundation works across the spectrum of civic voices to strengthen their capacity to engage in governance for sustainable development.

Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16) – Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provides a high-level frame of reference for the Foundation’s 2017-2021 strategy.  Advancing participatory governance, which implies creative and constructive interaction between citizens and government, regular or institutionalized processes where citizens can contribute to decision-making and, accountable and responsive institutions, is the Foundation’s contribution to SDG 16. Effective participatory governance promotes peaceful and inclusive societies. See pages 7-8 of the 2017-21 strategy for more on the Foundation’s mandate for participatory governance.

The Foundation’s support is focused on capacity development for constructive engagement – equipping civic voices to contribute to policy processes and governance accountability mechanisms; offering access to policy and decision making spaces and platforms; and, better enabling civic voices to craft and tell stories that have the potential to influence public discourse. See pages 15 – 19 of our strategy for more on our programmes.

The 2017-21 strategy commits the Foundation to working with ‘civic voices’. This term recognises that organised civil society organisations (CSOs) are no longer the only interlocutor with government and there are new citizen engagement approaches aimed at shaping development outcomes.  CSOs, alliances and coalitions continue to be important but other civic voices, such as collectives, social movements, groups and informal associations are effectively influencing governments and institutions.

The Foundation also has a specific interest in supporting the engagement of ‘less-heard voices’ in governance and in bringing their narratives into the public domain. By ‘less-heard voices’ we mean individuals, and groups that struggle to find opportunities to participate in decision-making processes and whose participation can make important contributions to public discourse, policy and accountability processes.

Another critical thread in the Foundation’s work during this strategic period is its promise to enhancing the capacities of civic voices to address gender equality in their accountability work as well as throughout the Foundation’s programme areas. The Foundation’s gender focus takes its inspiration from SDG 5 – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

The programme is organised into four main areas. Click through to read more about the programme areas and see associated projects.

Participatory Governance and Gender

Commonwealth Writers


Knowledge, Learning and Communications

The Foundation's annual workplan for 2019-20

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