What is the meaning of civil society?
Civil society is a space between the family, the state and the market where citizens gather to promote common interests. It is a society of citizens, their initiatives, groups and organizations that have their own structure, their own governance and non-profit status.
Civil society includes numerous movements, organisations and institutions, differently composed, with differing objectives and sizes, but sharing common characteristics that make them different from the state and the market. In the broadest sense, it represents citizens who organize to point out a problem or a need in the community and have them solved. It all starts with active citizens.
There are different reasons why citizens organize. They can include social problems (such as poverty or climate change), the needs of a particular group of citizens (like persons with disabilities) or common interests such as culture or hobbies. The citizens can act informally, as individuals organized around a civic initiative, or they can come together and form organizations.
The mosaic of civil society organisations is very colourful, ranging from local grassroots organisations to nongovernmental organizations called NGOs, churches and faith groups, cooperatives and collectives, unions and foundations.
Interested in finding out more? Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org for a link to watch a webinar on Civil Society given in 2022.