Civil Society Organizations Involvement In Policy [Political Science Notes]

CSOs Involvement in Policy
CSOs are increasingly requesting to be included in the policy-making process. In
addition, they claim that they now play a significant role in putting the government’s
policies into action. CSOs believe that their engagement is required for the
government to establish policies that are appropriate for sustainable development
because they work for development and can provide essential inputs to the policymaking process. This engagement with CSOs in policy issues will increase the
possibility that CSOs will properly comprehend policies and ensure that policies are
suited to people’s needs, practical, and implementable. They can capitalize on
grassroots innovations and experiences to develop better policies and strengthen
local capacities and institutions for continued public participation.
CSOs can give critical information (education strategy) for the creation of policies
that are based on the needs of the communities they are intended to serve. CSOs
can exert pressure on the government to ensure that proper policies are enacted and
enforced by acting as watchdogs. Furthermore, they can keep an eye on how laws
are being applied and, where possible, establish programs that complement rather
than contradict government policy. CSOs have programs that complement
governmental policy goals and programs, such as the Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs), in most developing countries. However, for the execution of those
programs it a needs strong collaboration (collaboration strategy) between
governments and civil society organizations in the creation of policy.
Grassroots organizations and support organizations provide those who have been
historically marginalized a voice and give them a vehicle to exercise their rights and
keep government accountable. In addition, they have an important role in promoting
democracy and citizenship skills, both of which are necessary for healthy societies.
CSOs efforts to influence policy may or may not create conditions in the future that
encourage greater popular participation. However, policy influence campaigns can
be carried out in a way that strengthens grassroots organizations and gives them a
direct say in issues that impact them. The latter may result in the development of a
civil society with a robust professional advocacy sector but a poor grassroots
foundation.
CSOs have also employed strategies that help influence policy namely education
strategy, persuasion strategy, collaboration strategy, litigation strategy and
confrontation strategy. In addition, the education strategy includes CSOs attempting
to provide the government with the information, analysis, and policy options. On the
other hand, through the persuasion strategy CSOs act as a pressure group, lobbying
for policy changes and demonstrating public support. The goal is to persuade the
government that the CSO-supported policy or policy change should be
acknowledged and adopted into law. The collaboration strategy is one in which a
CSO and the government work together in harmony. Whereas, through the litigation
strategy CSOs use the courts to fight for policy change. Finally, confrontation entails
various types of protesting for policy reasons.
In conclusion, CSOs tend to play a very important role in the policy process and that
their role is proven to be very crucial for the implementation of policies, and the
strategies employed by CSOs tend to be very helpful in influencing policy. Overall,
the role of CSOs is crucial to the policy process.

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