Resilient, pluralistic civil societies play a catalytic role in enhancing and maintaining quality of life for all people, regardless of gender, ethnicity, beliefs, age, and background. The term civil society refers to ‘private voluntary energies for public good.’ This is advanced when individuals come together, outside of the auspices of government, to do good within their communities, countries, and across the world.
Civil society timeless and organic, dating back to antiquity and continuously evolving to meet changing situations and needs. Today, civil society is represented by an array of institutions, movements, and platforms devoted to education, culture, science and research; to gender equality and the rights of vulnerable and marginalised groups; to commercial, labour, ethnic and religious concerns; to health, safety and environmental matters; to humanitarian service, or arts and the media; as well as professional societies in law, accounting, banking, engineering and medicine.
The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) works in partnership with civil society actors around the world to strengthen capacities for collective action, improve essential service delivery, nurture values-based societies, enhance indigenous philanthropy, and foster transparency and mutual accountability. Doing so involves working closely with a wide spectrum of individual civil society actors, as well as forging new linkages and understanding between civil society, private sector, government, and philanthropy.