We engage and support civil society to have the agency, space and capacity to enable the fulfillment of rights of people affected by conflict and displacement.
DRC's civil society engagement
DRC’s mandate for working in partnership with civil society is rooted in our rights-based approach to programming.
The civil society engagement unit:
provides strategic, analytical and operational support to engagement with relevant local, regional and transnational civil society across DRC operations;
implements Civil Society Engagement projects of a global nature; and
spearheads DRC's long-standing engagement with diaspora communities across Europe.
DRC recognises diaspora as crucial transnational civil society actors. DRC has since 2010 engaged directly with different diaspora actors to facilitate and strengthen their constructive engagement in countries of origin, transit and residence.
As stated in the statutes, DRC’s “… aim is to protect refugees and internally displaced people from persecution and promote durable solutions to refugee problems on the basis of humanitarian principles and human rights”.
DRC encourages and supports rights-holders to claim and enjoy their rights. An important element in expressing these claims is for rights-holders to get organised, and rights-holders’ associations, whether formally or informally organised, are an important part of what DRC defines as civil society.
A key role of civil society is to represent the interests of various groups of rights-holders and thereby promote and channel their participation in decision-making and in holding duty-bearers accountable.
Civil society organizations also play a crucial role providing services and support in emergencies, towards reaching durable solutions and to addressing root causes of displacement. DRC’s purpose in working with civil society is to support both aspects, in pursuit of the highest possible benefit to people affected by displacement.
DRC uses the common definition of civil society being the realm between the state, the private sector and the family.
Civil society encompasses a wide range of actors with varying interests, roles, and mandates.
Some of the civil society actors that DRC engages with include: community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, faith-based organizations, foundations, gender-focused and SOCIESC minority organizations, cooperatives, youth and women-led groups, civil society networks and alliances, and the not-for-profit media.
These actors might be local, national, transnational, and formed in the diaspora, and take on various roles in society.
DRC’s engagement with civil society is guided by a theory that articulates a desired change we aim to contribute to, one where civil society has increased agency, space and capacity to enable fulfillment of rights of people affected by conflict and displacement.
The full logical pathway to achieving this goal, including our key intervention areas, is illustrated in DRC’s global theory of change for civil society engagement, and can be found in our Civil Society Engagement Strategy here.
DRC’s impact statement articulated through the theory of change mirrors global discourse on civil society promoting change in the way the humanitarian system operates to enable a greater role for local civil society in humanitarian response.