AusAID civil society engagement framework

AusAID Civil Society Engagement Framework

Working with civil society organisations to help people overcome poverty

Guided by a set of good practice engagement principles, AusAID works with a wide range of civil society organisations (CSOs), through grant arrangements and policy dialogue to:

  • Help define development priorities and identify solutions
  • Respond to humanitarian crises 
  • Deliver services to communities
  • Build capacity in local systems


The Government’s aid policy statement committed AusAID to the development of a Civil Society Engagement Framework that sets out how Australia will work more effectively with civil society organisations (CSOs) in Australia and overseas to increase the impact of aid for the world’s poorest.

The term ‘civil society’ refers to a wide and growing range of non-government and non-market organisations through which people organise themselves to pursue shared interests or values in public life. Examples include community and village-based groups, labour unions, indigenous groups, charitable organisations, cooperatives, faith-based organisations, professional associations, chambers of commerce, independent research institutes and the not-for-profit media.
The Australian Government recognises the emergence of an informed and engaged civil society as an important development outcome in its own right, enabling poor people to claim their rights, and helping to shape development policies and partnerships and oversee their implementation.
CSOs can be powerful agents for change—as partners in the delivery of better services, enabling social inclusion and making governments more effective, accountable and transparent