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Lessons for working with civil society groups


Find the right partners and build relationships with them. As an organisation that mainly works at the policy level WBG can be far more effective in partnership with organisations working with women at the grassroots level. These relationships take time to build, but this means that projects such as a one-day training workshop have an impact beyond the day itself.

Tap into existing networks

Many local areas will have existing networks of civil society organisations and campaigners who work on economic policy nationally and locally. Taking time to find out about these networks and getting to know the key actors can help access several groups at the same time, find out what campaigns and relationships already exist, prevent replication and amplify the results of the project.

Recognise different forms of expertise

Civil society organisations, particularly those working at the grassroots level, can bring knowledge and expertise of the impact of policy on women’s lives. Involve civil society organisations in the design of projects so they are relevant from the outset.

Recognise barriers to participation

Members of grassroots organisations may face many barriers to participation including limited time because of paid work and unpaid care, lack of money for travel expenses and a lack of knowledge of how to influence local decision-makers. Build funding into budgets for travel and other expenses and organise meetings at a time that suits participants. Recognise that some groups may need extra time and support to build knowledge, capacity and confidence to engage in particularly technical areas of policy-making and build that into the project.

Follow up

Make sure the goals of working with civil society organisations are clear and that their engagement is meaningful. Likewise, if your aim is to train organisations or individuals, consider how these skills will be used beyond the training and include time to follow up with participants.