The political upheavals in the region have radically altered the landscape of civil society organizations (CSOs), as well as the environments which they operate in. As a result, the rising demand for wider political participation has driven CSOs to blossom, sharpening their focus on press freedom, advocacy and human rights issues. To better understand these changes, the Information and Research Center- King Hussein Foundation (IRCKHF) is undertaking the Civil Society Organization Sustainability Index to assess CSO activity in Jordan.
In 2011, CSOs in Jordan were classified as both ‘Impeded’ and ‘Evolving’ for the 7 evaluation criteria set by Management Systems International (MSI) in coordination with United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Jordanian CSOs have scored 'Impeded' for Organizational Capacity, Financial Viability, Advocacy and 'Evolving' for the dimensions: Legal Environment, Service Provision, Infrastructure, Public Image, placing the overall CSO Sustainability Index in Jordan.
The sustainability index in Jordan is a USAID funded project implemented by MSI in partnership with local organizations, intended to assess key components of the CSO sector in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Yemen, as well as West Bank and Gaza. According to USAID, the report “serves as a useful information source for CSOs, governments, donors, and academics to better understand key aspects of sustainability of the CSO sector.” The Jordanian section of the report has been conducted by the IRCKHF for the years 2011, 2012 and now the 2013 report is in progress (the 2011 report is available on HAQQI).
On the 22nd of October, the experts panel met to discuss and analyze the 7 interrelated dimensions of the CSO Sustainability Index. The meeting was attended by a panel of civil society experts including representatives from ministries, local civil society organizations, and a member of the Senate, as well as a member of the newly established Parliamentary Research Center. A different participant was selected to facilitate each session in accordance with their area of specialization to ensure a rich and dynamic discussion.