Citizen participation is a driver of democratic change and a fundamental way to empower citizens. In the digital age, the ability of civil society organizations (CSOs) to adapt to and take advantage of technological change impacts their ability to drive the broader societal changes they seek. Groups that represent the interests of women and marginalized communities – such as youth, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQI+ communities – face particularly daunting challenges to their participation online and in civic spaces. Read more on NDI.org
Cyberattacks against civil society organizations have significant consequences such as disrupting operations, damaging reputation, or stealing information. NDI works with political parties to navigate and mitigate cybersecurity challenges through customized consultation and the following resources. NDI works with CSOs to navigate and mitigate cybersecurity challenges through customized consultation and the following resources.
- Cybersecurity Handbook for Civil Society Organizations
- Cybersecurity Handbook for Civil Society Online Course
- Think10 Online Safety Planning for Women in Politics
Civil society organizations have an important role to play to ensure that governments and the private sector are held responsible for adhering to universal human rights and reinforcing norms about an open internet. NDI works with civil society groups and open internet advocates to preserve the open and accessible internet and promote the Democratic Principles for an Open Internet.
- The Democratic Principles for an Open Internet
- The Open Internet for Democracy Advocacy Playbook
- Open Internet Leaders Program
Civil society approaches to countering disinformation encompass a variety of program types, including fact-checking, digital forensics and research, advocacy to governments and platforms, digital and media literacy, networking and coalition building, and international cooperation. NDI works with partners and and in coalition to monitor elections online, promote information integrity in civil society, and engage with platforms on key issues. NDI also works with civil society organizations to help them identify disinformation campaigns, including those that target marginalized groups or that exploit existing gender norms or social divisions, and to mobilize broad opposition and responses to these campaigns.
- Countering Disinformation Guide: Building Civil Society Capacity to Mitigate and Counter Disinformation
- Combating Information Manipulation: A Playbook for Elections and Beyond
- Data Analytics for Social Media Monitoring
Technology tools are enabling new ways for civil society organizations to organize like-minded citizens toward common goals, and social media platforms have become an important space for political engagement. By working together, the civic tech and civil society communities can scale the impact of their individual efforts both locally and globally. DemTech works to reinforce networks and support tools that facilitate this collaboration.
Civil society organizations struggle to stay on top of emerging trends that could alter how they operate. NDI’s emerging technology resources provide overviews of the opportunities and risks to CSOs and democratic actors that result from technologies like digital identity, blockchain, and 5G infrastructure.
- 5G and the Future Internet: Implications for Developing Democracies and Human Rights
- Identified but Unheard: Assessing the Impact of Digital ID on the Civic and Political Participation of Marginalized Communities
- Building Trust in Democracy: The Potential of Blockchain
Accessible, intuitive, and easy to use technology products and services are an increasingly important way to organize communities and share their message. NDI works with civil society organizations to help them co-create with target audiences to develop advocacy campaigns that are more effective in reaching their intended goals.