In the Extension Center of the Catholic University, the seminar "Society in Action, building Chile from civil society organizations" was held, an initiative led by the Center of Public Policies UC, the Chile + Foundation and the collaboration of Colunga Foundation, which has worked since 2015 with the objective of making visible, relieving and strengthening the contribution that this so-called "third sector" makes to the development of the country.
During the seminar, Ignacio Irarrázaval -Director of the UC Public Policy Center and director of the Society in Action project- was in charge of presenting the main results of the research, highlighting that these organizations are more than 234 thousand, work in a decentralized manner throughout the territory, mobilize around 2 million volunteers and have a high rating of citizenship (70% high rating, according to data from Society in Action). Their challenge then is to move towards more diversified and stable financing, along with reaching a more symmetrical relationship with other actors.
"Civil society organizations are really all of us, pushing any problem of public interest. We all have concerns: the environment, animals, children, music, in short, hundreds of causes that move us. And civil society organizations are the mechanisms that guide all these efforts to bring solutions forward. Most likely, the civil society continue to grow and we want to go out and push these organizations, "said Ignacio Irarrázaval.
In his presentation, the director of the Center of Public Policies UC also gave exclusive data regarding the economic contribution of these institutions. Among them, the role that CSOs have in the labor force stands out: they generate 145 thousand paid jobs in equivalent full days and 164 thousand voluntary jobs in full equivalent days, which represent 3.6% of the economically active population. The sectors of Education and Research, and Culture and Recreation, concentrate 61% of these positions.
The event also featured the outstanding participation of the international guest Lester Salamon -Director of the Center for Civil Society Studies at the Johns Hopkins University-, who presented how the "third sector" of Chile is positioned, in comparison with data from 45 other countries in which the study has been carried out. According to its conclusions, CSOs in our country are a sector of considerable size in the Latin American context, but it is not in line with their current income level.
"Today I saw great enthusiasm from civil society organizations, their size and importance. This is evident in the data, it is a hard thing to see it and to confirm the work we have been doing. Civil society organizations must know that they are part of something big and that they are really an important force in the economic sector. They should be proud of what they are doing and have to dare to lead changes. And for this, the data provided by the study of Society in Action are key, "said Salamon.
Recognize and strengthen civil society organizations
The Society in Action seminar was also an opportunity to publicly present the document "Strengthening civil society organizations. Proposals to boost the CSOs of Chile and build a better country, "which in 6 axes with 18 participatory proposals addresses how to boost the role of these organizations in the national context.
These were delivered during the seminar to representatives of the presidential candidacies of Sebastián Piñera, Alejandro Guillier and Carolina Goic, as well as leaders from the political, business and civil society organizations.
Armando Holzapfel, director of Chile + Hoy, said that from this milestone, the work will now be "to share this information, make it public and extensive to the decision makers, reinforcing these proposals that we present today to the different candidates".
The document was jointly developed by the Society in Action project and more than 200 representatives of CSOs throughout Chile, such as the Hogar de Cristo, Las Rosas Foundation, the Overcoming Poverty Foundation, Teatro a Mil Foundation, Greenpeace Chile, Fire Department of Chile, Major Opportunity, Next to the Neighborhood, and the Federation of Communal Unions of Neighbors' Boards of the Metropolitan Region, among many others.
Source: Society in Action
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