Summary and Recommendations

Results of the second phase of mapping Syrian civil society actors

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  • Raising the level of governance: Syrian CSOs are required to raise the level of transparency, accountability and representation on all echelons of their administrative entities. All of the aforementioned requires that the CSOs in question undergo basic training in drafting hierarchies, policies, procedures and mechanisms of enacting them. Most important of all is the separation of powers in these organizations by keeping the board of directors separate from the executive branch in order to raise the level of accountability and transparency.
  • Increasing the level of transparency by developing departments for monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL), all of which was not paid proper attention in the organizations that were sampled in this study. This requires awareness programs that stress the importance of such departments and provide training in their respective fields. Additionally, a policy of transparency must be emphasized through the publishing of financial reports or by stating organizations’ intervention policies.
    Increasing the level of representation for women in a way that mirrors Syrian diversity across administrative bodies on all levels, in addition to thoroughly investigating the reasons behind the low levels of participation of women in managerial levels in Syrian organizations.

Increasing the level of independence for Syrian CSOs that largely rely on governmental and international grants, and emphasizing the need for these organizations to launch profit-oriented programs that increase their financial independence and pushes them to engage in charitable work instead of pro bono activities. Additionally, the position of Fundraising Officer is almost nonexistent in most organizations, reflecting a mentality of total reliance on donors for designating funding resources.

For organizations working in the fields of development and relief:

• Raising awareness of civil work culture and the principles of humanitarian intervention, in addition to promoting a human rights centric approach when designing and executing projects.

• Raising the level of coordination with local administrative bodies, especially local councils of the supporting international parties

• Increasing support for building institutions whether it be through a core fund aimed at consolidating the structure of the organization or by effective training and constant guidance, particularly for local CSOs inside Syria.

• Fair distribution of funds that is based on the respective financial needs of the various Syrian regions

• Cooperating with Syrian CSOs as equal partners which entails their inclusion in the process of formulating general directives, transcending the role of project executors.

• Supporting communication and networking among Syrian CSOs regardless of their respective geographical areas of operation.

• Accepting Arabic-language applications and employing Arabic speakers

• Improving communication with nascent organizations and initiatives, particularly those operating in Syria.

• Supporting networks and coordinating parties that include several organizations and granting them the required attention

  • Building standardized mechanisms to register organizations and declare their respective activities in a way that doesn’t limit their activities or jeopardize the status of its members or beneficiaries.
    •  Neighboring countries: Draft laws to register Syrian organizations and their staff members.
  • Easing monitoring and restrictions on bank transfers for Syrian civil institutions, particularly those that are formally registered in neighboring countries and Europe, in addition to regulating outcoming and incoming financial transactions between these organizations to parties located inside Syria.
    • Backing the presence of the nascent Syrian Civil Society in negotiations dealing with Syria’s future through the inclusion of its representatives in any talks concerned with the issues of political transition, development and the process of rebuilding the country.