Many international organizations, governments and NGOs recognize the importance of civil society in democratic governance and development. Despite this, growth has been slower in the number of initiatives aimed at assessing civil society compared to other governance areas, such as corruption.
Defining "civil society" represents a considerable challenge -- one that can be controversial, given that international development practitioners, national stakeholders and civil society organizations define civil society differently. This lack of a unified approach may have blocked the development of national as well as international assessment initiatives.
We argue that it is still possible and important to measure civil society despite the issues of definitions, and aim through these web pages to provide examples of ways to do so. In particular, we underscore key challenges, including how to make the assessment sensitive to the country context.