Civil Society, considered as the Third Sector is globally identified and accepted as a significant actor in development. In Seychelles, there are about two hundred organisations which can be classified as CSOs. These legally registered organisations are not-for-profit, voluntary-based operating independently from Government. Most of the active organisations are accredited members of the Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles (CEPS) the platform for civil society organizations in Seychelles.
CIVIL SOCIETY IN SOCIO-ECONOMIC GROWTH
Civil Society is known to bring about multiple benefits from an economic and social development angle. For instance CSOs significantly contribute to the country’s GDP growth and development, primarily through attracting donor funded projects particularly in the environmental, social and health sectors. It is estimated that the Seychelles benefits from an average of 3.5 Million Euros annually through foreign funding secured by local CSOs.
At the national level CSOs have become increasingly active in local issues at district levels and national governance areas, demanding accountability, promoting transparency and access to information, as well as providing basic services to the population. CSOs also contribute towards social development by initiating various programmes that help the community to address socio-economical issues. This is done partly through partnership with Governmental Agencies and also through the initiatives of individual CSOs. Through CEPS, CSOs are represented on national Boards. This enables civil society to have representation and a voice when it comes to the decision making process.
It is important to note that some civil society organisations have established strong roots and productive working relationships with both Government and private sector. A number of CSOs are actively involved in the implementation of talents and skills development programs in their specific focus areas or sector, e.g. Human Rights, Social Development, Family and Parenting.
In addition to its numerous functions CEPS also provides an array of training and capacity development activities for the Third Sectors.