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Kleptocratic Cooperation in Africa: How Russia and China Undermine Democracy

August 1, 2023

The two essays in this report highlight ways in which two global authoritarian powers, Russia and China, provide surge capacity to kleptocratic networks in Africa. In his essay, "Criminal States, Militarized Criminals, and Profiteers: Russia, Africa, and the Evolving Ecosystem of Transnational Kleptocracy," J.R. Mailey (senior expert at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime) dissects the Wagner Group's illicit activities in key parts of Africa. The Wagner Group's activities are complex, but Mailey zeroes in on the fact that the military support offered to African kleptocrats has little to do with providing security and stability for the African people. Rather it is focused on extracting resources, advancing geopolitical goals, and serving as a brutal cog in the authoritarian mutual support machinery. Even if the ultimate fate of the Wagner Group remains unclear, these trends are unlikely to abate. The opaque economic relationships that the Wagner Group has developed on the continent no doubt are too lucrative for the Kremlin to surrender.China's party state and its proxies are entrenched in corrupt networks in Africa as well. Chinese-linked kleptocratic networks are tapping into likeminded networks on the continent, helping to embolden and empower local kleptocrats seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of their populations. Andrea Ngombet Malewa's (activist and founder of the Sassoufit Collective) essay, "How China Fuels African Kleptocratic Networks: The Case of Congo-Brazzaville," highlights the ways in which Beijing facilitates Congo-Brazzaville's deeply kleptocratic regime. In addition to long-standing Chinese involvement in the timber and extractive industries, Ngombet's analysis spotlights the establishment of a Sino-Congolese Bank for Africa that could allow kleptocrats to bypass the transparency requirements of Western-linked banks, thereby affording opportunities to launder money with impunity. This development has significant implications for accountability norms worldwide.Civil society and independent media seeking to identify and expose kleptocratic networks in Africa face enormous challenges. They often lack the resources, specialized knowledge, and skills needed to track illicit financial flows, and the complex vehicles kleptocrats use to move money around the world. Resourcerich regimes in countries such as Congo-Brazzaville, Sudan, and the Central African Republic already suffer from gaping deficits in accountability and transparency. Despite these odds, both authors identify critical steps to elevate civil society's essential work exposing and combatting kleptocracy.

Young, Feminist, and Fearless: Holding the Line - State of Youth Civil Society Report

July 19, 2023

We live in uncertain times! Worldwide, we are witnessing attacks on the rights of women, girls and non-binary persons , threatening our foremothers' hard-fought gains. From preventing access to sexual health services in the United States and banning girls from education in Afghanistan, to restricting digital feminist organising in China and brutally suppressing feminist activism in Iran, the global rollback of rights is coordinated, wellfunded, and gaining momentum everywhere.Young feminist activists are revered as sheroes and are often at the frontline of democratic struggles, employing creative methods to hold the line- yet we fail to realise the toll of activism on their wellbeing, mental health, and hopes for the future. This is particularly critical for young women and non-binary young people involved in feminist movements, as they are both uniquely vulnerable and forced to be increasingly brave. Their actions appear fearless from the outside, but this work is fraught with danger and comes at a personal cost.This year's State of Youth Civil Society Report - Young, Feminist, and Fearless: Holding the Line, focuses on feminist movements and their critical role in making the world more equitable, safe and accessible for everyone. Young feminists are fearless and hold the line despite the dangers to their security, the uncertainty that today's world presents, and the cost to their mental health. They are pushing back against tyranny!

The Imperative for Religious Literacy Evaluation: Context, Key Insights, and Recommendations

June 27, 2023

Religious literacy education is a nascent field. Its proponents make substantial claims about its ability to lead to social change, both in countering negative forces that threaten social cohesion and in producing positive, pro-social changes in attitudes and behaviors. Yet at present, religious literacy educators have little empirical evidence to demonstrate the proposed relationships between religious literacy education and positive social changes in civil society. This report seeks to ameliorate this issue by providing an overview of current research and practices related to the evaluation of religious literacy. There is no one-size-fits all version or approach to religious literacy education—it is a context specific endeavor. Accordingly, there is also no one way to approach its evaluation. In response, this report highlights the challenges and advantages of evaluation, as well as current barriers to the practice. The recommendations, along with the companion guidebook, encourage scholars and practitioners across the field of religious literacy education to begin incorporating more research and evaluation across programs and initiatives.

A Guidebook for Religious Literacy Evaluation: Resources for Planning and Design

June 27, 2023

At present, many scholars and programs make large claims about the impacts of religious literacy education, but do not have empirical evidence or clear models to demonstrate those impacts to funders, school administrators, educators, students, or other practitioners in this field. This guidebook is intended to support religious literacy educational initiatives. It is not a complete primer on evaluation and does not dictate a particular methodology or approach to evaluation. Rather, with guiding questions at each step, it provides an introductory evaluation framework to help educators and researchers engaged in religious literacy educational initiatives.The companion report, The Imperative for Religious Literacy Evaluation: Context, Key Insights, and Recommendations, provides more detail and background about the need for evaluation in religious literacy education and a review of current practices and literature.

Make the Invisible Visible: Method Guide - How to engage with hard-to-reach citizens for policy development?

March 30, 2023

Climate change, energy crisis, digital divide, rising inequality, global pandemics – these are only some challenges and transition processes our societies are currently facing. A communality of all these challenges: economically and socially disadvantaged citizens (e.g., unemployed people, low-income workers, migrants, single parents, young people, or elderly citizens, as well as people threatened with the loss of their jobs due to these transitions) are most affected, not only by their impacts but also by policies adopted to meet them. Also, they are often not sufficiently represented or heard in political debates and in policymaking. Their voices are not present in the transition debates: they are "invisible".At the same time, it is increasingly difficult to get in contact with structurally disadvantaged groups yet involve them in policy dialogues. If not part of any representative organization, these hard-to-reach citizens do not have a say in the debates. This increases the representation gap. For this reason, it is important to find new strategies, instruments, and methodologies for reaching out to these specific target groups, to listen to their needs and ideas, and to involve them in decision- and policymaking processes. New ways of recruiting, engaging, and communicating must be discussed to bridge the representation gap and to establish a truly inclusivedeliberation.

Proven Principles of Effective Climate Change Communication

March 7, 2023

Climate change is a complex, interdisciplinary issue, and effectively communicating climate change requires combatting misinformation and reaching across divides to engage people in action.The Communication Working Group of the Commission on Accelerating Climate Action developed 12 principles for effective climate change communication, ranging from communicating consensus on climate change to framing climate change as an in-group issue. Using examples from across the media landscape, the two publications of this working group highlight needed changes to the ways that climate is discussed broadly.

PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Their Government (March 2022)

March 24, 2022

The world order was upended when the Russian military invaded Ukraine, an action that has caused widespread death and destruction. In response, the international community imposed harsh economic sanctions on the Russian government. Californians felt the shock waves through rising prices at the gasoline pump that added further fuel to inflation fears. In recent weeks, COVID-19 cases have plummeted and the omicron surge has given way to an easing of mask and vaccination restrictions. Meanwhile, statewide and legislative candidates for the California June primary made their plans known by the March 11 deadline. This report presents the key findings of a statewide survey on state and national issues conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California from March 6 to 17, 2022.

American Values Atlas

October 15, 2021

The American Values Atlas (AVA) is a dynamic interactive online map of the United States' cultural landscape. The AVA draws upon data from more than 100,000 bilingual telephone interviews conducted among a random sample of Americans, with 40,000 interviews each year on political and cultural issue areas. Because of its large sample size, the AVA allows analysis of specific census regions, all 50 states, and even 30 major metropolitan areas, while providing a rare portrait of smaller religious communities and ethnic groups.The American Values Atlas draws upon 50,000 annual telephone interviews among a random sample of Americans to deliver an unprecedented level of detail about the United States' cultural and religious landscape. With its large sample size, the AVA provides a rare look at the profiles of smaller religious communities, such as Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Hindus, Buddhists, and others, who are often omitted from depictions of the country's religious population. The AVA's scope also allows its users to explore the increasing diversity of specific regions, all 50 states, and 30 major metropolitan areas.One of the key advantages of the American Values Atlas, and one that differentiates it from other large-scale studies, is that it is a dynamic, ongoing project. Each year, PRRI will conduct a new wave of approximately 50,000 interviews, which will provide an up-to-date view of America's changing religious, cultural and political landscape.

The Color of Justice: Transitional Justice and the Legacy of Slavery and Racism in the United States

April 26, 2021

This briefing paper examines how transitional justice approaches can guide the discussion around dismantling systemic racism in the United States to focus on root causes of violence and racial injustice. Drawing from relevant experiences internationally and within the United States, it provides ideas for what steps can be taken to advance acknowledgment, redress harms linked to the legacy of slavery, reform institutions, and prevent future recurrences.

Building Strong, Resilient NGOs in India: Time for New Funding Practices

March 17, 2021

This report is the product of a newly launched, multiyear Pay‑What-It-Takes (PWIT) India Initiative committed to building stronger, more financially resilient NGOs. The initiative is led by The Bridgespan Group and the five anchor partners: A.T.E. Chandra Foundation (ATECF), Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), EdelGive Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Omidyar Network India. Each partner believes strongly in the importance of better understanding true costs and approached the initiative from a different perspective.

2021 Ariadne Forecast for European Social Change and Human Rights Funders

March 1, 2021

To create the 2021 Ariadne Forecast, 275 Ariadne members and friends of the network filled in surveys, participated in interviews, and attended online forecast meetings to share their insights into trends in European social change and human rights philanthropy for 2021.The report looks at the challenges and opportunities this year might bring for grantees; how funder practice could change; which political events are likely to affect their work; what will become more important in the months ahead; and -- perhaps most importantly -- what to feel hopeful about. There are chapters on France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, and the UK, plus a broader, global focus.The challenges ahead may be great, but philanthropy can play a role in helping us overcome them.

Body-Worn Cameras in Policing: Benefits and Costs

March 1, 2021

Body-worn cameras (BWCs) are an increasingly common tool for police oversight, accountability, and transparency, yet there remains uncertainty about their impacts on policing outcomes. This paper reviews what we know about the benefits of BWCs and how those benefits compare to the costs of this new technology. We make two contributions relative to existing research. First, we update prior meta-analyses of studies of the impacts of BWCs on policing outcomes to incorporate the most recent, and largest, studies carried out to date in this literature. This additional information provides additional support for the idea that cameras may affect a number of policing outcomes that are important from a social welfare perspective, particularly police use of force. Second, we carry out a benefit-cost analysis of BWCs, as financial barriers are often cited as a key impediment to adoption by police departments. Our baseline estimate for the benefit-cost ratio of BWCs is 4.95. Perhaps as much as one-quarter of the estimated benefits accrue to government budgets directly, which suggests the possibility that this technology could, from the narrow perspective of government budgets, even pay for itself.

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