Civil Society (CS) 2.0 is an effort of the State Department to galvanize the technology community to assist CS organizations across the globe by providing capabilities, resources and assistance to enable CS organizations to harness the latest ICT advances and build their digital capacity. Through CS 2.0, new CS efforts will be cultivated and existing CS organizations will have ready-made avenues to quickly understand, access and use the latest technologies to better organize, communicate, raise funds, and advocate their goals and interests.
In promoting CS 2.0, there are three separate efforts which must be undertaken to reach its full potential:
Cultivating a CS 2.0 Technology Community: The State Department will assist in convening the technology community, CS luminaries and activists, and other ICT organizations to form a CS 2.0 Technology Community that can help address the needs of civil society organizations across many different areas. The State Department will facilitate the cultivation of such a CS 2.0 Technology Community by providing information, consultation, recommendations and liaison support, but State will in no way own, direct or manage such an initiative. In essence, this becomes an opportunity for participants in the technology community to take a leadership role in making CS 2.0 a reality. Products produced by and made available from the CS 2.0 Technology Community could consist of software, resources or personnel assistance, including:
CS 2.0 Promotion Organizations: A network of organizations like the State Department, foreign governments, USAID, UN organizations, and Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) like the World Bank, needs to form to help bring about partnerships between local and global ICT NGOs and local technology companies working with on-the-ground CS organizations. Facilitating such partnerships between technology and CS organizations will lead the technology organizations to gain a better understanding of the CS organizations' needs and, thus, will allow these technology organizations to provide appropriate assistance and training to increase CS organizations’ digital capacity. Guidance and liaison assistance provided by the Network of CS 2.0 Promotion Organizations would include:
Digitally Empowered CS Organizations: CS Organizations, such as those interested in humanitarian relief efforts, environmental issues, digital freedom initiatives, innovative education approaches, and women’s issues in developing countries, can benefit from the CS 2.0 effort. Those who take advantage of the CS 2.0 effort will be exposed to new methods and capabilities for raising their digital capacity to organize, communicate, raise funds and advocate their interests. This can happen either by directly tapping into the capabilities, resources and people in the CS 2.0 Technology Community, or by working through the Network of CS 2.0 Promotion Organizations. By participating in larger social networks of similar CS organizations, the expectation is that the CS organizations in each topical area will form greater bonds with one another, and will be able to learn from one another in mentor-mentee type relationships.
Overall Outcome: The end goal for the CS 2.0 Technology Community and the Network of CS 2.0 Promotion Organizations is to enable CS organizations to increase their ability to leverage technology to meet their real-world goals. It is anticipated that larger networked groupings of CS organizations will form around natural topic areas (digital freedom, humanitarian relief, women’s issues, etc.) and regions. New social networks should form while new “free agent” participants join the network. The end result is an environment which leads to networked, more capable and resilient CS organizations that will impact their target areas faster and more effectively than before.
Phase 1 Activities: For the initial phase of CS 2.0, the State Department will liaison with other stakeholders and partners in the technology community to begin institutionalizing CS 2.0 ideas. This will involve a framework for hosting CS 2.0 coordination and information-sharing conferences and CS 2.0 training events to develop partnerships between technology participants and CS organizations. This will include methods for attendees and trainers to connect online to a virtual CS 2.0 network. Specifically, the following actions by the State Department need to be taken:
Find out more by coming to the Tech@State event on November 4, and the unconference on November 5 - http://techatstate.eventbrite.com/