written by Magda Toma, Forus Director 

Dear members and partners,  

In a world where civic space is shrinking at a fast pace, going hand in hand with a rise of populisms, and where human right defenders are being murdered every day, organized civil society and networks have a responsibility to address these challenges. Forus is currently undertaking a mid-term review of our 2016-2020 strategy and planning for the next strategic period. 

Within this context, Forus and its members are thinking about alternative strategies for the mobilization, self-organization and increased connectivity of civil society as a key player of a reformed international multilateral system. In collaboration with like-minded partners, Forus and our members is planning to develop a new vision and contemporary public narrative for civil society in challenging times which will reinforce the relevance and effectiveness of the sector.  In this framework, Forus and its members will continue focusing the key elements such as capacity development for civil society; advocacy around the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and promoting civil society’s role; supporting an enabling environment for civic action, while continuing to look at the NGO sector itself, its modus operandi and the role of national NGO platforms, striving to support the thinking around the evolution and relevance of this model. We are excited to continue sharing updates with you about these strategic processes. 

We are also happy to launch the new Forus official & institutional video made with the involvement of 3 Forus Council members: Iara Pietricovsky, Executive Director of ABONG (Brazil) and Forus Chair, Emele Duituturaga, Director of PIANGO (Pacific Region) and Sam Worthington, Chairman and CEO of InterAction (USA) and Vice-President of Forus. We thank them and all the members who attended the 2018 Forus Strategic Week. The video aims to summarise our network’s mission and objectives, as well as to show the diversity of members and voices that we represent within civil society. It will be broadcasted through various communication channels, on our website and on our social networks. It is also available on Forus’ YouTube channel in 4 languages, so feel free to spread it widely!  Enjoy watching it! 

2019 is a key year for our network, including the mid-term evaluation of the current 2016-2021 strategy and preparing the pillars of the next strategic plan 2021-2025. These two key processes have already started during the Forus Strategic Week in 2018 and are being developed in 2019 in close collaboration and consultation with Forus national and regional members, as well as main civil society and institutional partners.   

The overall purpose of the mid-term evaluation is to gather evidence of change by evaluating both qualitative and quantitative data against the strategy’s indicators and support Forus in adjusting the processes for the implementation of the remaining strategy. The evaluation will contribute to Forus’ learning culture and will support the network on harvesting change and showcasing the lessons learnt, thus informing Forus’ future strategy. In parallel, consultations and brainstorming with governance, members and staff around the main pillars of the 2021-2025 strategy are being be conducted. In the coming years, Forus will continue acting on the 3 strategic directions given by its members:  

  • Connect NGO Platforms and Regional Coalitions to build joint actions, learn from each other and fight for an enabling environment for civil society organizations in their countries and internationally;  

  • Support and develop the capacities of our members for more effective participation in decision-making processes, using the network’s collective intelligence and innovative approaches;  

  • Influence public policies together with our members, by engaging in official negotiations, deliberations and public mobilizations at national, regional and international levels. 

In this framework, the legitimacy and accountability towards our constituencies will be a key feature. Key alliances with other CSOs and actors to counteract populism and fight closing spaces as well as to promote the role of civil society will also be at the core of the next strategy. Thank you for your continuous support and involvement, we are looking forward to share with you regular updates.