Civic Activism

Civic activism refers to the social norms, organisations, and practices which facilitate greater citizen involvement in public policies and decisions. These include access to civic associations, participation in the media, and the means to participate in civic activities such as nonviolent demonstration or petition. Civic activism is essential in ensuring that public institutions function in an accountable and transparent manner, with participation and representation for all.

Achieving accountable governance requires not only responsive elites, but also active citizens – and active citizens, in turn, require participation in civic associations, local and international, access to the media, and the means to engage in activities such as nonviolent demonstration or petition. Where there is a strong civic culture of political engagement and participation, countries are more likely to have effective service delivery, reduced corruption, and faster and more equitable economic growth.

ISD measure the strength of civic activism by using data on the extent of engagement in civic activities such as signing petitions or joining peaceful demonstrations, studies of the organisation and effectiveness of civil society, access to sources of media information, levels of civic awareness and information of political matters and concerns, and the extent to which civil society organisations are connected to broader, international networks of civic activity. 

Data used for the 2020 index:

IndicatorVariable nameSourceCountries
Attended a demonstration or protest march: “Yes” or “No, but Would do if I had the chanceparticipate_demonstrationAfrobarometer34
“How often do you listened to radio news?” Percentage answering ‘every day’ or ‘several times in the last week’radio_newsAfrobarometer34
Proportion of mobile cellular telephone subscriptionsmobile_subscripInternational Telecommunications Union181
“How often do you watch TV news?” Percentage answering ‘every day’ or ‘several times in the last week’tv_newsAfrobarometer34
“How often do you read newspaper news?” Percentage answering ‘every day’ or ‘several times in the last week’radio_news_last_wkAfrobarometer41
Per 1000 adults, how many people buy a newspaper daily?newspaper_per_1000Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI)41
Have actually signed a petition or might do it?sign_petitionWorld Values Surveys64
Have actually joined a boycott or might do it?join_boycottWorld Values Surveys73
Have actually attended peaceful demonstrations or might do it?attend_peaceful_demonstrWorld Values Surveys73
Did you search information about politics and political events online?info_politics_onlineWorld Values Surveys42
Did you encourage other people to take any form of political action online?action_others_politics_onlineWorld Values Surveys40
Have actually signed an electronic petition or might do it?sign_petition_onlineWorld Values Surveys41
Have you organized online political activities, events, protests?political_action_onlineWorld Values Surveys40
In the last 12 months, have you participated in a public protest or meetings of political movements and parties?attend_political_protestAmericas barometer9