Type: Description
Pages: 2 | Words: 321
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The civil society refers to the arena of unforced collective action around shared interests, purposes and  values (Edwards, 2004, p3).UNDP defines the civil society as a third sector existing alongside and interacting with the state and private industry(Edwards, 2004, p 5). UNDP views the civil society organizations as an important and recognizes that collaborations are necessary although there may arise contention. There has been a significant increase in the number of civil society organizations over the last two decades. The scope of activities conducted by these organizations has also diversified.  The civil society has campaigned and advocated for social justice and inequalities.  The civil society offers alternatives and sometimes supplements the government activities. Taking into consideration that majority of these organizations do not aim at making profits.  The civil society commonly embraces a diversity of spaces, actors and institutional forms, varying in degree of formality, autonomy and power (Edwards, 2004, p 19). The civil society includes organizations such as nongovernmental organizations, charitable organizations, community foundations, registered charities, faith based organizations, self help groups trade unions and social movements.

The civil society has been very important in countries whereby democracy has been suppressed. In such cases the civil society has been a very important tool for airing the grievances of the society and resisting oppressive rule. The civil society needs to be autonomous to be able to carry out duties appropriately. The civil society does not perform duties for prestige power or money (Edwards, 2004, pg 9).

The civil society operates at its best when there has been creative interaction between the government and other relevant agencies. This is best enhanced through creation of favorable legislation and creation of laws. In the recent years the civil society has made attempts to come up with an international charter to regulate and define a common code of ethics. Accountability of the civil society and increased dialogue with governments is essential for optimum performance of these organizations.

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