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Voices on Power: Recommendations for a more effective Dutch policy framework ‘strenghtening civil society’

Although the Dutch Policy Framework ‘Strengthening Civil Society’ is internationally recognized as one of the most progressive of its kind, there is also a mismatch between the ambitions in the progressive policy framework and the actual practice and implementation in reality.

As part of the Partos Shift the Power Lab 2.0 recommendations were developed that provide a critical reflection on the Dutch policy framework for Strengthening Civil Society. Focus is on limitations in the current Framework to achieve more balanced power relations between the Global South and Global North, and on finding new ways to work towards more equitable partnerships in the next policy framework (expected from 2025).

Policy paper: Recommendations for a more effective Dutch MOFA policy framework ‘Strengthening Civil Society’

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In this policy paper a critical reflection is presented, focusing on two questions:

  • Which mechanisms are anchored in the policy that limits CSOs in the North and CSOs in the South in their efforts to achieve more balanced power relations?
  • In which ways should the successor of this policy framework be different to create a more enabling environment for CSOs to achieve more balanced power relations?

Voices on Power

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The policy paper is complemented with a separate report, comprising in-depth interviews with representatives of Global South organisations, participating in one of the 21 Power of Voices partnerships, and in one of the 7 partnerships under the SRHR Partnership Fund. Power of Voices and the SRHR Partnership Fund are two substantial grant instruments under the overarching Dutch Policy Framework for Strengthening Civil Society.

The interviews in this report give an interesting insight from a daily lived reality. The interviewees speak directly to the reader. The reader cannot talk back, but just has to listen. One by one they share food for thought from their own specific context on the themes selected in the policy paper. The message may not always be comfortable, but is fair and necessary.

What’s next?

Following these publications we will embark on a collaborative journey together with our colleagues from the Ministry to explore how we can integrate these recommendations in the next policy framework.