Strengthening Civil Society

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Shatil, NIF’s action arm in Israel, has significantly expanded the range of its client organisations, providing essential assistance to grantees along with a diverse group of like-minded organisations. The compounded crises of 2020 saw expanded demand for the services of NIF’s action arm, reflecting not only the overwhelming challenges facing social change groups, but also Shatil’s ability to remain on the cutting-edge of organizational adaptivity.

In part this was due to Shatil’s move to online trainings and consultancy, which has allowed a larger number of groups, especially from Israel’s geographic periphery, to benefit from Shatil’s services.

Shatil provided some 300 organizations over 17,800 consultancy and organizing hours. During the first six months of 2020, more than three times as many social justice groups requested consultancy from Shatil, compared to this period in 2019, reflecting the socioeconomic problems heightened by COVID-19.

Over 20% of Shatil’s consultancy time aimed at supporting democracy and human rights groups, which worked to address issues related to freedom of expression and government efforts to restrict the right to protest, as well as fighting government efforts, under the guise of COVID-19-related restrictions, to erode democracy and curtail Israel’s independent judiciary.

Shatil’s blog SHIFT became a resource for activists during this time. It was the first of its kind: a blog devoted to assisting civil society groups during the COVID-19 crisis. Shatil consultants also created videos, expanding the tools by which Shatil provides assistance to organizations and activists. Blog traffic tripled over the course of 2020, with a substantial jump immediately following the March outbreak of the pandemic in Israel. Content on community-building was in high demand, as organizations sought to create solid bases of support to help them through the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating health, social, and economic ramifications.

Shatil helped groups develop new tools and capacities for remote and hybrid work, digital community engagement and mobilization, and financial management in uncertain times. These have become essential for every effective organization. During these times of shrinking democratic space, economic hardship, and political instability, Shatil is more committed than ever to helping Israel’s progressive non-profit sector thrive.