It was almost seven years back when Hivos invited the ISS to participate in a new programme that was going to explore possibilities for a ‘knowledge exchange’. The idea of the programme was to take advantage of all the interesting information present in the drawers (and in the heads) of project officers in Hivos and their colleagues in partner organisations worldwide. It was assumed that a ‘treasure box’ existed somewhere out there, containing a wealth of rough but interesting data on civil society dynamics that was begging for systematic and critical analysis. ISS immediately showed an interest, agreed on the conditions, and then became in 2005 the first academic organisation participating in this new ‘knowledge programme’. It soon explored the possibilities for a dialogue between Hivos and its Southern partners on the one hand, and ISS staff and Southern researchers on the other. The knowledge programme focused initially on the practice of civil society building, and in particular on the dynamics of Central American social movements, one of Hivos’ crucial target groups. The ultimate purpose was to learn from the rich experience of Hivos’ partners in order to better understand the complex process of civil society formation.
ISS Staff Group 2: States, Societies and World Development
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Biekart, K., & Icaza Garza, R. (2011). Knowledge dialogues with Central American social movements. ISS Staff Group 2: States, Societies and World Development. Retrieved from