The history of civil society organizations (CSOs) in Sudan dates to the country’s colonial period under Anglo-Egyptian rule
, from1899 until Sudan’s independence in 1956. During this time, there were a small number of cultural, literary, and artistic societies of limited membership in Khartoum. In the mid-1940s, however, political movements started to become active in Sudan in the struggle for either Sudan’s independence or, alternately, a union with Egypt. The most active organization was the Graduates Congress (in reference to the graduates of Gordon Memorial College), which was founded by political leaders from various sectors of society who established political parties based on their various social, tribal, ethnic, and regional affiliations. These new parties eventually played a role in the negotiations for the post-colonial future of Sudan and are considered to be the first CSOs in Sudan’s history.
Following Sudanese independence, CSOs working on civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights formed across the country, especially in Khartoum. The legal and operating environment for CSOs varied significantly in subsequent years, however, depending on the nature of the government in power. Sudan has had three parliamentary democracies and three military governments since independence, including the current government, and CSOs have tended to fair better under civilian rule.
Now in this era of globalization, all civil society organizations have to undergo a real reform and as we see this is now the norm on all aspects in the world , from the United Nations to local and national institutions.
The concept of organizational development is that of the planned efforts that encompass the whole organization and administrated and monitored at the highest level to increase the organization management efficiency and administration. This is done vide a planned operations using knowledge and human behavior sciences. The target is the efficient use of human and financial resources to attain the organization automat goals.
The most important six components of this concept are; strategic leadership and management, human resources , program management and quality control, external relations and communication, financial stability and, accounting and financial management.
The strategic management is the vision for the world or country that the NGO inspire to see, for example free basic education for all. This also include the main mission and messages, which in compose how and where and when the organization will implement this vision. This must include adherence strictly to the principles of transparency and accountability in all activities and programs.
The organization must study the environment surrounding the implementing of any program, then design the program accordingly accompanied by sustainable mechanisms of monitoring and evaluation, this aspect is critical to drew attention to any challenges during the program implementation so that they can be addressed before it is too late.
Human resources is an important component and not only in recurring the most competent staff but also by continues training to upgrade their skills and strengthen their capacity in the performance for their tasks. In addition, NGOs have a pool of volunteers and trainees who can be an excellent asset for its manpower resources.
Communication and public relations is essential to acquaint the stakeholders of the NGO progress and development and to insure a sustainable relation with the donors, funding institutions and all the stakeholders.
Financial sustainability is critical for the survival of any institution and in particular NGOs and this can be attained by a sustainable relation with the donors and funding agencies and same time always to seek for more donors and financial partners. It is important to build a strategic financial reserves for any contingencies, In addition to deal with the general running cost with a strategic vision for sustainability. But what is essential in this respect but must be accompanied by a strict and efficient financial and accounting systems for the best possible control on the financial resources. This in turn will sustain the confidence of the donors and funding institutions and encourage more to join them.
In this context it is important to refer to the “Istanbul Principles”.
The Istanbul Principles, as agreed at the Open Forum’s Global Assembly in Istanbul, September 28 -30, 2010, are the foundation of the Open Forum’s Draft International Framework on CSO Development Effectiveness.
Civil society organizations are a vibrant and essential feature in the democratic life of countries across the globe. CSOs collaborate with the full diversity of people and promote their rights. The essential characteristics of CSOs as distinct development actors – that they are voluntary, diverse, non-partisan, autonomous, non-violent, working and collaborating for change – are the foundation for the Istanbul principles for CSO development effectiveness. These principles guide the work and practices of civil society organizations in both peaceful and conflict situations, in different areas of work from grassroots to policy advocacy, and in a continuum from humanitarian emergencies to long-term development.
1. Respect and promote human rights and social justice
CSOs are effective as development actors when they … develop and implement strategies, activities and practices that promote individual and collective human rights, including the right to development, with dignity, decent work, social justice and equity for all people.
2. Embody gender equality and equity while promoting women and girls’ rights
CSOs are effective as development actors when they … promote and practice development cooperation embodying gender equity, reflecting women’s concerns and experience, while supporting women’s efforts to realize their individual and collective rights, participating as fully empowered actors in the development process.
3. Focus on people’s empowerment, democratic ownership and participation
CSOs are effective as development actors when they … support the empowerment and inclusive participation of people to expand their democratic ownership over policies and development initiatives that affect their lives, with an emphasis on the poor and marginalized.
4. Promote Environmental Sustainability
CSOs are effective as development actors when they … develop and implement priorities and approaches that promote environmental sustainability for present and future generations, including urgent responses to climate crises, with specific attention to the socio-economic, cultural and indigenous conditions for ecological integrity and justice.
5. Practice transparency and accountability
CSOs are effective as development actors when they … demonstrate a sustained organizational commitment to transparency, multiple accountability, and integrity in their internal operations.
6. Pursue equitable partnerships and solidarity
CSOs are effective as development actors when they … commit to transparent relationships with CSOs and other development actors, freely and as equals, based on shared development goals and values, mutual respect, trust, organizational autonomy, long-term accompaniment, solidarity and global citizenship.
7. Create and share knowledge and commit to mutual learning
CSOs are effective as development actors when they … enhance the ways they learn from their experience, from other CSOs and development actors, integrating evidence from development practice and results, including the knowledge and wisdom of local and indigenous communities, strengthening innovation and their vision for the future they would like to see.
8. Commit to realizing positive sustainable change
CSOs are effective as development actors when they … collaborate to realize sustainable outcomes and impacts of their development actions, focusing on results and conditions for lasting change for people, with special emphasis on poor and marginalized populations, ensuring an enduring legacy for present and future generations.
Guided by these Istanbul principles, CSOs are committed to take pro-active actions to improve and be fully accountable for their development practices. Equally important will be enabling policies and practices by all actors. Through actions consistent with these principles, donor and partner country governments demonstrate their Accra Agenda for Action pledge that they “share an interest in ensuring that CSO contributions to development reach their full potential”. All governments have an obligation to uphold basic human rights – among others, the right to association, the right to assembly, and the freedom of expression. Together these are pre-conditions for effective development.