Margit van Wessel, B. Rajeshwari, Farhat Naz, Yogesh Mishra, Suparana Katyaini, Sarbeswar Sahoo, Reetika Syal, Nandini Deo
The Dialogue and Dissent Theory of Change takes the starting point that CSOs can contribute to inclusive and sustainable development. Articulating and communicating the voice of the people, they can address important inequalities in society. In our research, we relate to five (implicit and explicit) assumptions in the Dialogue and Dissent Theory of Change regarding this representative role of CSOs. These assumptions all concern the nature of the representative role of CSOs and how these are shaped in interactions between CSOs, in the contexts in which they move and operate.
Firstly, we relate to the assumption that CSOs represent societal groupings and interests and thereby can contribute to inclusive development. Secondly, we relate to the assumption that collaborations with Northern NGOs and donors contribute to the enabling of representative roles for Southern CSOs. Thirdly, we relate to the assumption that CSOs requires autonomy and ownership to perform their representative roles. Fourthly, we engage with the assumption that different types of CSO have different and complementary representative roles. Finally, we relate to the assumption that the strengthening of civil society’s representative roles will contribute to inclusive and sustainable development.