The Rwanda MCC Threshold Program / Civil Society Strengthening Project (CSSP) works to increase the operational, advocacy, and outreach capacity of national-level civil society organizations in order to make them more effective in contributing to national public policy formulation and implementation. The program also works with national-level CSOs to strengthen their working relationships with the government of Rwanda.
The Civil Society Strengthening Project (CSSP) is a two-year project funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), managed by the United States Agency for International Development, and implemented by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX). The goal of the project is to positively impact Rwanda’s MCC Ruling Justly indicators, specifically Political Rights, Civil Liberties, and Voice and Accountability.
-The operational capacity of national-level civil society organizations is increased, making them more effective in influencing national public policy formation and implementation
-The advocacy capacity of national-level civil society organizations is increased, making them more effective in influencing national public policy formation and implementation
-The outreach capacity of national-level civil society organizations and their ability to (legitimately) represent constituents’ needs is increased, giving greater voice and increasing civic participation in national public policy formation and implementation
-The Government of Rwanda (GoR) increases its engagement with civil society organizations, and is better prepared to receive their inputs to national public policy formation and implementation
In Rwanda, as in many countries, finding an effective role for civil society in policy formulation is a difficult but crucial process. The capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) is limited – and therefore their interactions with government are ineffective. When fully developed, civil society organizations play multiple roles in relationship to government: an advocacy role to encourage policies and actions that represent their constituents’ needs; a watchdog role, which serves as a check on the power of the government by providing feedback on its performance; and a partnership role, in which CSOs work together with government on policy implementation. Currently, national-level CSOs lack full understanding of their constituents needs and lack the understanding of policy formulation mechanisms and the skills to analyze data, leaving them unable to serve as effective monitors or to advocate for or against policies. Finally, as partners of the government, they lack the space and mechanisms for on-going dialogue.
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