Workshop 1: Promoting responsible citizenship

Civic Action22 Jul 2009The Broker

Author: Corine Mengers Chair: Kees Biekart

Presenter 1:

Paula Dijk; ICCO; Uganda change agents associations

  • Promoting development based on self-reliant participation
  • Philosophy: people in communities explore root causes of poverty and solutions themselves and participate in development activities.
  • Major activities: – training of change agents – support for the change agents executing development work in their communities and setting up self help groups
  • Change agents pay contribution to the association. They will continue this because of their good position in the network and community; they are proud of their achievement.

CDC because

  • development is practiced by community people
  • it involves empowerment and self organisation
  • agents practice what they preach themselves

Presenter 2:

Eva Schmitz; Both Ends; Joke Waller-Hunter initiative, a leadership programme for young promising leaders in the environmental movement.

  • Strengthening sustainable development through stimulating leadership of individuals
  • Philosophy: Strengthening capacities of individuals in organisations strengthens the capacities of the organisation and community as a whole.
  • Main challenges: – selecting the right candidates- monitoring and evaluation
  • Both Ends is not a donor, but facilitates between the donor and the partners in the field.
  • Young people with leadership skills should present their own plan of change.

Discussion after both presentations

  • Are these cases civic driven or cause driven? Difficult to separate because civic driven change only exists when there is a cause. Then it is impossible to promote civic driven change by a donor because it is not civic anymore. Change always connected to a cause. Training people to explore themselves what is needed to be changed. With personal values and passion as background of change, it is civic.
  • Only concrete developments are measurable, change is not, only the outcomes of change. Hard to see the results of promoting and facilitating civic driven change. Only concrete development.


  • Everyone agrees with the difficulties of the term civic driven change because it is difficult to see when something is civic driven or cause driven.
  • Change is not purpose, but development has to be achieved by change driven by civics.

Differences in opinion

Are these cases civic driven?What is civic about them, especially the latter one? Yes, because personal values and passion are motivators of the change, but not because too much influence of donors on the change process.

Inspiration and innovative of both cases

  • individual motivation and self confidence as starting point for community development
  • capacity of individuals for common needs

Lessons learned

  • NGO’s should recognize their own role as change agents in civic driven change.
  • NGO’s are never neutral.
  • Real change can only be measured on the long term. Monitoring and evaluation important.
  • Build on the ideas of the community which change is needed.

Implications for strategy

  • Be explicit about your values, cause and theory of change as NGO .