Civil society refers to individuals and agencies independent of government and not associated with the private sector. This includes professional associations, indigenous and community groups, and charitable, faith-based, and nongovernmental organizations. These entities are key to implementing community health programs that end preventable deaths of mothers and children.
For MCSP, civil society played a crucial role not only in supporting innovative and evidence-based community health programs and policies, but also in increasing accountability for global initiatives, such as UNICEF’s A Promise Renewed. Linking civil society and government partners enhances program innovation and solutions for maternal and child health. How MCSP work was carried out in communities throughout the world depended on existing and newly formed civil society networks and relationships with local, state and national governments.
CORE Group, a civil society agency working with maternal and child health, had an extensive background engaging civil society organizations to implement community health programs throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. CORE Group supported MCSP in conducting and publishing a literature review on civil society engagement to strengthen national health systems. In addition, CORE Group provided technical assistance to its member organizations to establish and strengthen social accountability mechanisms involving civil society organizations.
By collaborating with CORE Group, MCSP tapped into the group’s tools, platforms and network of more than 70 organizations that foster learning, idea sharing, and capacity building. This work was facilitated through holding global and U.S.-based conferences, conducting national and regional meetings, and building the administrative and technical capability of network associations and their members.
CORE Group also supported MCSP through its membership meetings, working groups, and workshops, portfolio of tools and training packages, diffusion of learning through the Community Health Network, and country-level coordination. Additionally, CORE Group provided expertise in knowledge generation and management (creating, capturing and distributing information within organizations) and knowledge sharing (disseminating information to external organizations for widespread use and impact).