2012 CSO Sustainability Index for Sub-Saharan Africa


The Civil Society Organization Sustainability Index (CSOSI) has been used by USAID since 1997 to assess the sustainability of the CSO sector in Europe and Eurasia. The CSOSI was first applied in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2009, and the 2012 edition covers 25 countries including Sudan and South Sudan. By gathering data against a set of standard qualitative indicators each year, the CSOSI enables readers to monitor developments and identify trends in the CSO sector over time while allowing for comparisons across countries. It is used by CSO advocates, other development partners, and academics, among others, to identify positive and negative trends in the civil society sector as well as obstacles impeding the sector's sustainability across the region, such as trends pertaining to the legal environment, organizational capacity, and financial viability.


The CSOSI assesses the sustainability of each country's CSO sector based on seven dimensions: legal environment, organizational capacity, financial viability, advocacy, service provision, infrastructure, and public image. USAID's CSO implementing partners in each country lead the process of organizing and convening a diverse and representative panel of CSO experts. The panels of experts discuss the seven dimensions for the year being assessed, and reach consensus on the scores corresponding to each dimension. With the information provided by the expert panels along with desk research, the CSO implementing partners then develop country reports, which are reviewed and approved by an Editorial Committee. Based on its overall CSO Sustainability score, the CSO sector in each country is categorized in one of three groups --- Sustainability Impeded; Sustainability Evolving, or Sustainability Enhanced.


While overall scores for CSO Sustainability across Sub-Saharan Africa generally remained stable in 2012, there were a number of important trends across several groups of countries: human security issues placed new demands on service provision in The Gambia, Sudan, Mali, and Nigeria; elections and leadership changes sparked political and social tension in Senegal, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe; difficult economic environments due to the global financial crisis impacted CSO resource availability in almost all of the countries; and in several countries, relations between CSOs and governments improved as governments in Botswana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia made new policies or created mechanisms to engage CSOs on critical issues. The country reports provide an in-depth look at the CSO sector in each of the 25 African countries covered by this report.

Map and graphs depicting change in civil society organization sustainability in Sub-Saharan Africa

2012 Report

Complete 2012 Report [English]
Executive Summary [English]
Methodology [English]
2012 Score Tables  [English]
Raw Data (csv)

Individual Country Reports

Angola [English]
Botswana [English]
Burundi [English]
Democratic Republic of The Congo [English]
Ethiopia [English]
Gabon [English]
Gambia, The [English]
Ghana [English]
Guinea [English]
Kenya [English]
Liberia [English]
Malawi [English]
Mali [English]
Mozambique [English]
Nigeria [English]
Rwanda [English]
Senegal [English]
Sierra Leone [English]
South Africa [English]
South Africa [English]
South Sudan [English]
Sudan [English]
Tanzania [English]
Uganda [English]
Zambia [English]
Zimbabwe [English]

Last updated: November 07, 2013

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