Civil Society and Media - Strengthened Together and Advancing in New Directions

Civil Society and Media - Strengthened Together and Advancing in New Directions



Civil Society and Media – Strengthened Together and Advancing in New Directions (CSM-STAND) is a five-year Leader with Associates Award with Pact as the holder of the leader award and recipient of the Leader Award, and IREX as co-lead and head of the media component. Its goals are to foster independent civic forces; enhance civic engagement; and build vibrant, resilient, and self-reliant civil society and media sectors that cultivate more pluralistic, democratic societies. CSM-STAND is comprised of leading global, regional, and technical practitioners specializing in different sectors who bring extensive practical experience and knowledge of fundamental principles, key issues, current practices, and emerging trends in the Democracy Rights and Governance community. 

CSM-STAND is implemented across two regions and is managed by Pact, which co-leads a consortium of organizations with IREX. 

Our Challenge  

Thriving, inclusive, and independent civil society and media are key to vibrant democracies. Yet in many countries, declining social trust, shrinking civic space, and polluted information ecosystems undermine the ability of civil society and media to serve the people they are intended to represent and inform. Despite important examples of progress, too many countries are facing increasingly authoritarian governance, erosion of basic freedoms, restrictions on independent media, and the exclusion of entire groups of people from meaningful participation in civic life. 

Even within the most restrictive environments, dedicated civic and media activists work to serve and inform their constituencies, sometimes at great risk. Through CSM-STAND, Pact, IREX, and our partners are working closely with USAID to build civil society and media’s capacities to credibly represent citizen interests and hold governments accountable through advocacy, oversight, and outreach to constituents. 


  • Build civil society and independent media capacity and leadership to constructively engage in civic space
  • Provide the democracy, rights, and governance sector with cutting-edge technical resources and adaptable program options
  • Operationalize and effectively manage a broad-based, diverse consortium of implementors

Project Activities

  • Associate Awards: CSM-STAND is currently implementing six associate awards in Africa, Asia, and Latin America 
  • Learning Management System (LMS): In October 2022, CSM-STAND launched the online platform Spark, a space for civil society and independent media learning, resource exchange, practice, preparation for action, research, and knowledge mobilization. 
  • Learning Agenda: CSM-STAND has just launched a learning agenda, which will direct how we develop learning questions to be answered through our applied research and participatory learning activities globally. The learning agenda has three focus areas and four cross-cutting priorities: 
  • Collaborative technical strategies and thought products: The collaborative development of technical strategies and other products, such as the Participatory Design and Co-Creation Guidance, Private Sector Engagement for Civic and Media Space strategies, and the IREX-led strategy on Mitigating the Impacts and Spread of Manipulative Information.

CSM-STAND Activities


  USAID and Pact logos

Our consortium includes talented global, regional and technical partners with proven expertise and commitment to strengthening civil society and media. In addition to Pact and IREX, our global partners include the Aga Khan FoundationInternational Center for Not-for-Profit Law and The Asia Foundation. In Africa and MENA, our regional partners are AfriLabsArab Network for Civic EducationSamir Kassir FoundationSonke Gender Justice and West Africa Civil Society Institute. In Asia, Europe and Eurasia, and LAC, our regional partners are European Journalism CentreMAKAIAPrague Civil Society CentreFORUM-ASIA and Fundación Gabo. Across both projects, we’ve assembled an innovative team of technical partners including MoonshotOmdenaeQualitie and TechSoup.


CSM-STAND Partners



Contact information: Laura Agosta, Michelle Sucameli