Helvetas Symposium 2024

Hybrid event: Berne, Switzerland and online
november 5, 2024, 2:00 - 5.30 Pm CET, followed by a Networking happy hour

Helvetas Symposium

We are working on the program, but save the date now already:

Tuesday, November 5, 2024


The registration form will open soon. Please contact us at symposium@helvetas.org if you have questions before.

Experience the 2023 symposium once again:

Reclaiming Civic Space

Authoritarianism is on the rise globally. Civic space is shrinking, and social movements and local civil society organizations are under pressure in many countries. To counter these tendencies and maintain the role of civil society as a driver for change, INGOs and donors must revisit the concept of cooperation, and question power structures and funding relationships in existing partnerships.

At the symposium, we will facilitate a dynamic discussion about:

  • New and innovative practices for protecting and reclaiming space for rights-based civic action amidst global democratic backslides
  • Emerging alternative approaches to empowering an interconnected local-to-global civil society and promoting collective action for social justice
  • The enablers and restraints in international development cooperation for locally led civil society
  • How partnerships between INGO/donors and civil society organizations in the Global South need to be redefined
  • Innovative funding models that allow local actors and NGOs to define and follow their own agenda for change, while furthering civic rights
  • Best practice models and tools for initiating and supporting change


Watch the recording of the the Helvetas Symposium  2023


13:30   Registration

14:00   Welcome to Helvetas Symposium “Reclaiming Civic Space»

14:15   Introduction

14:25   Keynote speech

14:45   Panel discussion with international activists

  • Maja Stojanovic, Executive Director of the Civic Initiatives Organization in Serbia
  • Stephenson Meus, Director of the Executive Committee at Kouraj pou Defann Dwa Moun in Haïti
  • Fumba Chama, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Arts in Zambia, known as Pilato, musician and activist

15:45   Break

16:15   Ukrainian-designed social e-game "Reclaiming Civic Space" played in small groups

17:00   The view of foundations

  • Otto Saki, Ford Foundation, Program Officer, Civic Engagement and Government International

17:15   Closing

17:35   Networking happy hour at Hotel Bern

20:00   End

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