Daniel Ferrell-Schweppenstedde

Former Policy and Public Affairs Manager

Charities Aid Foundation

Funding the future of civil society

The role of collective local and global infrastructure in nurturing democracy beyond Covid-19

16 March 2021

CAF’s Global Alliance (our international network of independent and locally-led organisations working at the forefront of philanthropy and civil society) recently held a Global Collaboration Forum, bringing together a wide range of staff to exchange ideas and best practice across CAF. It was fascinating to learn more about different civil society contexts around the word, as well as about the similarities that cut across all of our work.

Discussions centred on current trends in giving and philanthropy and how they link up with wider developments across civil society as a whole. Many of the issues and themes that are at the forefront of people’s mind were already evident before the pandemic, but Covid-19 has accelerated and reshaped them.

Philanthropy’s role in protecting civic space

Across the globe societies are facing increasing restrictions on their civic freedoms. Freedom of expression and assembly, political activism and press freedom are coming under pressure in a range of countries; often under the pretext of measures introduced to tackle the Covid-19 crisis. At the same time, many of the civil society organisations that could be challenging efforts by governments to curtail civil liberties are facing a financial and existential crisis.