Lesson 2, Topic 7
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Civil Society

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The World Health Organisation describes civil society in the following way:

Civil society refers to the space for collective action around shared interests, purposes and values, generally distinct from government and commercial for-profit actors. Civil society includes charities, development NGOs, community groups, women’s organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, trade unions, social movements, coalitions and advocacy groups.

The World Health Organisation

It is generally considered to be a space between the government and govenrment agencies and businesses and corporations in the private sector.

Civil society has grown significantly since the end of World War II, and it plays a critical role in any healthy democracy because of the way in which it can enable citizens who are underrepresented to have a voice and make an impact on society, and it enables issues to be highlighted that have not been prioritised by the political system.

See the source image
President Obama meeting with Civil Society leaders

For more information into what civil society substantively involves, this page by the World Economic Forum gives some useful insight.