Increased CSO Organizational Capacity and Support AICS

Civil society has long been an active partner actor in addressing the full range of issues in the social, cultural, religious, humanitarian and political life of Afghanistan. Maintaining and deepening public trust on the part of CSOs is critical for ensuring their active participation as partners in development. Despite successful partnerships between the government and civil society, there is still too often a negative perception within the public sphere about the role and value of CSOs. With increasing influence, status and resources on the part of CSOs comes the need for increased public accountability and transparency.

The Afghanistan Institute for Civil Society (AICS) is a concept that came out of the 2007 Afghanistan Enabling Environment conference in Kabul. One of the key recommendations from the conference was to establish independent certification bodies for CSOs that are recognized by the government, the private sector, donor agencies and civil society. Since 2007, Afghan civil society representatives have worked as the AICS Working Group to design and begin implementation of AICS. 

Under ACEP, the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) is working with a range of organizations, including partners Counterpart International and Internews Network, to establish and launch AICS as an independent, Afghan-led and owned institution. The goals of AICS are to:

i)    Raise the credibility of the civil society sector in Afghanistan by certifying CSOs against locally defined and internationally recognized standards;

ii)   Systematize capacity building efforts by coordinating the support and growth of CSOs against measurable performance indicators;

iii)  Strengthen the role of civil society in Afghanistan by acting as a national platform for engagement with government, donors and the broader sector, to promote the value of a robust civil society in Afghanistan’s development.