An international alliance of groups that promote citizen action, CIVICUS, is undergoing an analysis of civic groups in Mexico to get a better idea of their structure, as well as their means of obtaining and using financial resources.
According to official statistics, Mexico has about 9,000 non-governmental organizations —ranging from groups that fight against poverty and provide attention to the elderly to those that promote human rights— though this number could actually be higher since inscription into the registry is voluntary. Last year, registered non-governmental groups received about US$142 million from the Mexican government. This money represented 8 percent of the total resources they received. The role of these non-governmental organizations in Mexico is of particular interest since they are seen as a means to promote democracy, transparency and accountability within the state.
The study —called the Index for the Civil Society— appears to be the first comprehensive project of its kind, according to La Jornada. CIVICUS is an international alliance established in 1993 to nurture the foundation, growth and protection of citizen action throughout the world, especially in areas where participatory democracy and citizens’ freedom of association are threatened, according to their website.
The Index intends to evaluate the state of civil society in various countries in the world, including in Mexico. It will be based on certain indicators drawn from surveys, and taking into account external factors such as the government. The process will also include focus groups comprised of twenty people in regions throughout the country.
From the July Justice in Mexico Project’s Monthly News Report:
“Mexico, Sociedad Civil a Examen.” La Jornada. July 1, 2009.