Measuring Civil Society Strength: How and for Whom?
The idea of mapping civil society organizations and developing an index to measure civil society strength goes back to the 1990s, shortly after the Eastern European regime transitions. It started with the efforts by Anheier and Salamon and their Johns Hopkins initiative to map non-profit associations throughout the world (Anheier and Salamon, 1998). This was soon followed by similar mapping exercises in East and Central Europe financed by the large international donors, and implemented by academics such as Goran Hyden (for UNDP), Marc Howard, and James Manor (IDS, Sussex). Stimulated by the interest in the role of the non-governmental sector in governance programmes, these projects wanted to establish some sort of benchmark to judge civil society strength in its organizational dimension (see Heinrich, 2005: 214–5). ...