“If civil society is to play a role in combating poverty, we need a vibrant, independent voluntary and community sector”, argues Barry Knight, Executive Director of CENTRIS and adviser to the GFCF, in a recent article in the New Statesman. Climbing the Ladder is the lead article in a special supplement on Civil Society and Poverty.
“Much of the voluntary sector contributes little to civil society because it is highly professionalised, possessing few connections to local people other than through the delivery of services” says Knight. “Resources should instead go to organisations such as London Citizens, which is composed of citizens themselves and enables them to build their own power. We can also learn from international organisations like the Global Fund for Community Foundations, which helps citizens’ groups to build their own asset base so they can be free from the persistent ‘projects’ demanded by official aid agencies.”