How Funders Can Respond to Closing Civic Space

Peter Kostishack, Vice President and Director of Programs at the Global Greengrants Fund, shares valuable tips funders can use to support environmental activists in his new article, “Closing of Environmental Civil Society Space: Strategies for Support on the Frontlines.” The article draws upon Kostishack’s experience advocating for Chile’s indigenous Mapuche community whose activists have been imprisoned under anti-terrorism laws. The author notes that the situation confronting Mapuche activists – who were targeted after they organized community councils to address land grievances with the government – is representative of a broader trend of closing democratic space around the world.

Activists and civil society organizations (CSOs) around the world face restrictions on the right to access resources and foreign funding, limitations on freedom of expression and assembly, restrictions on forming organizations, and repressive laws that allow state authorities to use violence against dissenting voices. Funders can encourage local organizers to prepare for attacks by building strong networks, and establishing collective leadership models within organizations. Both strategies equip CSOs with the ability to leverage their connections and responsive decision-making processes when threatened. Read about more strategies here.

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