The 2016 CSO Sustainability Index for Asia

INTRODUCTION

USAID is pleased to present the third edition of the Civil Society Organization (CSO) Sustainability Index for Asia, which reports on the strength and progress of the CSO sectors in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.


The Index relies on an expert panel of CSO practitioners and researchers in each country, who assess and rate seven interrelated dimensions of CSO sustainability: legal environment, organizational capacity, financial viability, advocacy, service provision, infrastructure, and public image. The panel proposes a score for each dimension, which can range from 1 (indicating a very advanced civil society sector with a high level of sustainability) to 7 (indicating a fragile, unsustainable sector with a low level of development). Dimension scores are averaged to produce an overall sustainability score. The Index groups all scores into three overarching categories—Sustainability Enhanced (scores from 1 to 3), Sustainability Evolving (3.1-5), and Sustainability Impeded (5.1-7). An editorial committee composed of technical and regional experts reviews each panel’s scores and the corresponding narrative reports, with the aim of maintaining consistent approaches and standards so as to allow cross-country comparisons. Further details about the methodology used to calculate scores and produce corresponding narrative reports are provided in Annex A.


The Index is a useful source of information for local CSOs, governments, donors, academics, and others who want to better understand and monitor key aspects of sustainability in the CSO sector. The CSO Sustainability Index for Asia complements similar publications covering other regions, which in 2016 include reports on twenty-four countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia, thirty-one countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and seven countries and territories in the Middle East and North Africa. These editions of the CSO Sustainability Index bring the total number of countries surveyed to sixty-nine.


A publication of this type would not be possible without the contributions of many individuals and organizations. We are especially grateful to our implementing partners, who played the critical role of facilitating the expert panel meetings and writing the country reports. We would also like to thank the many CSO representatives and experts, USAID partners, and international donors who participated in the expert panels in each country. Their knowledge, perceptions, ideas, observations, and contributions are the foundation upon which the Index is based.

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