Africa in the 21st century faces many challenges, but it has incredibly valuable opportunities as well, requiring the attention and collaborative action of scholars and researchers, practitioners in civil society, business, and policymakers alike. The Association for Research on Civil Society in Africa (AROCSA) seeks to create a platform for meaningful engagement of these and other stakeholders, with the goal of knowledge generation and dissemination on civil society by African scholars and practitioners, reflecting global excellence standards and propelling development on the continent.
AROCSA was founded in September 2015 in Accra, Ghana, under the auspices of the Association for Research on Non-Profit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), to promote and advance a community of excellence in research and practice on civil society in the service of African development.
There are multiple, stand-alone efforts to encourage research and knowledge-sharing on the ‘third sector’ globally, and this is evident in the existence of various organizations, conferences, academic journals etc. in various parts of the world. In Africa, the contemporary complexities of governance and relationships between sectors – public, private, non-profit, and academia — has led to the rise in the relevance of civil society and the citizen sector in general. It is therefore crucial to have a continent-wide organization that will serve as the bedrock of advancing knowledge and practice in the area of civil societies in Africa. This is why AROCSA was set up.
AROCSA expects to operate in the five areas listed below:
- The creation of a fund to support research and scholarship on civil society in Africa
- An annual conference bringing together scholars and practitioners for networking, learning, and skills-building
- A regional academic journal focused on African civil society
- Fellowships for doctoral students and civil society professionals
- Training for scholars and civil society organization (CSO) staff on applied research methods and evidence-based work.