Democratic Governance and Human Rights – Support to Civil Society

Democratic governance and human rights is one of the Swedish focus areas in the development cooperation with Mozambique. Sweden believes civil society to be an important actor for the deepening of democracy and respect for human rights and therefore sees support to civil society as a crucial complement to the bilateral support to the Government of Mozambique.

The Swedish support to civil society in Mozambique is structured through a program called AGIR (Programa de Acções para uma Governação Inclusiva e Responsável) whereby four international civil society organisations (CSOs) with a common overall objective, support local partner organisations. The programme started in 2010 and its first phase ended in 2014. On the 1st of January 2015, the AGIR progamme’s second phase commenced which will last until 31 December 2020. The Embassy of Sweden (EoS) in Maputo has throughout phase one of the program been the lead donor. Other donors include the Royal Danish Embassy, the Embassy of the Netherlands and the Royal Embassy of Norway.

The four international organisations constitute so-called intermediary partner organisations (IPOs) and they are Diakonia, IBIS, Oxfam Novib and Swedish Cooperative Centre (SCC). Each IPO manages a sub-programme with a different thematic focus;

IBIS:             focuses on right to access to information, support to media including investigative journalism, support to parliaments at all levels, and support to community based change agents.

WeEffect:    focuses on rights connected to land and natural resources, on direct impact of                       extractive industries on surrounding communities, rural development policies,                       climate change and environment.

Diakonia:    focuses on the right to free and fair elections, multi-party democracy, and defence of  the human         rights of marginalised groups such as women, children and disabled, on legal assistance, SRHR and gender based violence.

Oxfam:        focuses on budget monitoring, expenditure tracking, social audits, tax justice, state resource allocation, SRHR and gender based violence, defence of      marginalised groups such as LGBT[1] and PLWHA[2]s.


  The core of each of the “sub-programmes” is the establishment of partnerships with a number of local CSO partners active in the specific thematic areas (click here for list of partner organisations).

By strengthening the capacity of local civil society organizations to influence in development processes and to demand accountability and respect for human rights of power-holders, the program is expected to contribute to improved governance and a deeper and more inclusive democracy in Mozambique.

The program gives support to local CSOs that are working to

  • enhance public participation in development processes
  • promote access to information
  • demand accountability from government
  • fight against corruption
  • monitor government policies and/or
  • promote the respect for human rights, including gender equality and child rights.

Development in these areas is fundamental for sustainable and equitable poverty reduction in Mozambique.

Guiding the support provided by IBIS, Diakonia, Oxfam and WeEffect in partnership with Sweden is a focus on good donorship, in which harmonization, civil society ownership, alignment to partner organization's existing systems and mutual accountability for results are important aspects. The aim is to provide as much as possible of the financial support through core support to the organizations.

Currently the total decided amount for the first 3 year period out of the total 6 year period amounts to 386 million SEK (approx. 45 million USD) , but agreements concerning the addition of Danish, Norwegian and Dutch contributions are presently in the process of being signed.

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On the right hand side you can find a draft of the Operational Guidelines that outline the Embassy of Sweden’s directions for partnering with and supporting civil society in Mozambique. They Guidelines serve to guide the Embassy in its endeavours of promoting discussion and coordination among the donor community within the sphere of partnering and supporting Mozambican civil society. They are, therefore, also used to inform civil society, the donor community and the Government of Mozambique of the Embassy of Sweden’s principles and strategic choices for, as well as objectives of partnering with Mozambican civil society. They are also developed to be a guide and steering document for staff at the Embassy of Sweden who deal with contribution management of support to civil society.

The approach, which was new and coupled to the previous guidelines from 2009, meant that the Embassy of Sweden did not provide financial support to civil society organisations outside its main civil society programme AGIR (Programa de Acções para uma Governação Inclusiva e Responsável) with the exception of a small number of interventions of a specific nature, for example, due to sensitiveness of the intervention, requirement of short-term distinct funding for special event (e.g. elections), or where incorporation was assessed to be technically unworkable. This approach remains valid for the strategy period of 2014-2020.

The Guidelines will be updated and replaced by final ones once the Swedish Government has decided on a new Country Strategy for Mozambique (2015).

 


[1] Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.

[2] People living with HIV and AIDS.