Democratic states have proven successful in building stable societies with competitive economies and functioning public service systems. In established democracies, civil society acts as a watchdog for human and people’s rights and it has a substantial influence on setting or questioning the political agenda.


© GFA/SDC For decades, support for young democracies was high on the agenda of international development organizations. The focus in supporting civil society (CS) lay primarily on assisting in the creation of a legal framework, in mapping, training and capacity building for non-state actors. As a result, a vibrant CS has developed in many countries. In recent years, however, an authoritarian backlash can be observed. The space for CS is shrinking globally. This gradually changes CS support programs as related explicit and implicit measures are now strategically intertwined.

GFA concept and services

GFA has been involved in a variety of projects supporting CS, from capacity building and training of non-state actors to fund management. This comprises the promotion of trust between state and non-state actors through structured dialogue and the strengthening of links between CS organizations (CSOs) and their constituency. Consequently, CSOs are supported in their involvement in local and regional development planning. In addition, GFA implements communication and visibility programs for stakeholder engagement, and promotes human and people’s rights.


Dr. Birgit Boetius
Senior Consultant
E-mail: birgit.boetius[at]


English French Spanish