Anticipating futures for civil society operating space

A three-year initiative (2022 – 2025) focuses on strengthening anticipatory capacities and future readiness of civil society professionals who are working to defend and expand civic and civil society operating space.


About the initiative

To create an enabling environment for civil society, the civil society sector needs to develop more anticipatory and proactive mechanisms to complement its reactive responses to civic space restrictions and changing operating conditions. The initiative “Anticipating futures for civil society operating space” aims to increase awareness and readiness of (international) civil society organisations – (I)CSOs – to address challenges at the intersection of civic space and crises, develop future scenarios, and translate them into concrete strategies to become more futures-ready. The initiative creates synergies between the Solidarity Action Network’s (SANE) community of civic space-focused sector professionals and the Scanning the Horizon’s community of civil society futures thinkers and strategists, both hosted by the International Civil Society Centre (ICSCentre).

The “Anticipating futures” initiative will increase the signal-scanning and future-facing capacities of (I)CSOs, following three main objectives:

  • Increase the awareness and readiness of (I)CSOs to address current and future challenges at the intersection of civic space and crises
  • Offer a convening and collaborative space for civil society professionals to develop future scenarios in the context of civic space and crises
  • Translate developed scenarios into concrete strategies and strengthen capacities at the individual, organisational and sector level

It consists of four phases:

  1. Preparing the ground and kicking off the initiative: June – December 2022
  2. Developing and engaging on future scenarios: January – December 2023
  3. Moving from scenarios to building concrete readiness: January 2024 – June 2025
  4. Evaluation and follow-up needs assessment: July 2025 – December 2025

The video introduces the initiative and shows its kick-off at the International Civic Forum 2022.

Phases of the initiative

Project supporters

The “Anticipating futures” initiative is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Ford Foundation. The Open Society Foundations, Deutsche Postcode Lotterie, and Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung supported phase two of four focused on developing future scenarios for civic space.

Invitation to partner

We welcome partners to get involved in strengthening anticipatory capacities and future readiness of (I)CSOs and invite you to support the initiative in one of the following ways:

1) Resource partner to financially support the project or parts of it

2) Content partner to co-develop this initiative or engage in one of its phases, bring in new ideas, insights and perspectives

3) Network partner to help us connect to content experts, potential contributors, funders and further relevant stakeholders or reach out to new audiences to deepen the quality, relevance and application of the work

For more information, please contact Senior Project Manager, Eva Gondor.

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