Regional imbalances in the development of CSOs in Russia

How to overcome the regional imbalance in the development of the CSO sector: The Community Forum on the results of the Regional CSO Ratings


The leaders of non-profit organisations tell how, with the help of resource centres and municipal ratings, they manage to develop the sector in their regions




Yesterday the Community Forum dedicated to the Regional CSO Ratings was held in Kazan, which the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation was preparing for the third year in a row in partnership with the RAEX-Analytics agency. The rating characterises the development of the non-profit sector in each region of Russia and how effectively the potential of the sector is applied in practice. Its results were presented at the Community Forum in Moscow in November 2021. The rating results will also be presented in the capital in the autumn at the final Community Forum.


Regional differences


The results of the study demonstrated a significant imbalance in the development of the sector from region to region. Some regions have already begun to develop mechanisms to overcome the existing disparities.


The size of the regional budget is not always related to the effectiveness of the sector’s development as it depends much more on the support of the head of the region, said Olga Zanko, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for the Development of Civil Society, Issues of Public and Religious Associations. “If we guarantee that the Key Performance Indicators(KPIs) of governors include indicators related to the non-profit sector, development will speed up”, Zanko said.


Rating of municipalities


Tatarstan was in the top three of the ratings. The Chairman of the Public Chamber of the Republic of Tatarstan, Zilya Valleeva, noted that CSOs in the region receive strong grant support, and this pushes organisations to a more responsible approach and aids the growth of new projects.


One of the important incentives for the development of CSOs can be the rating of municipalities. For example, in Ugra this has been implemented for five years. Olga Sidorova, a member of the Commission of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Non-profit Sector and Support of Socially-oriented CSOs and member of the Public Chamber of the Khanty – Mansi Autonomous Okrug of Ugra, describes how.


“The rating in Ugra includes criteria such as the availability of municipal support and development programmes for CSOs, the availability of municipal property and financial support from CSOs, the number of recipients of this support, non-governmental provider access to social services, and the availability of resource centres in each municipality,” Sidorova said.


Reliance on resource centres


For the sector to develop, it is important for the region not only to address its faults but also to bolster its stronger assets, said Ekaterina Frygina. Frygina is a member of the Commission of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Non-profit Sector and Support for Socially-oriented CSOs, a member of the Vologda Oblast Public Chamber, and Director of the Road to Home Foundation


Frygina cited the Vologda Oblast as an example, which climbed ranks from 28th place in the first Rating to the top five a year later. This was achieved by the focus on interaction with the Public Chamber and resource centres. In the region, there are many formally existing CSOs that are no longer running but were still persuading active public associations to register as legal entities. This also helped to increase their position in the ranking.


The non-profit sector of the Ulyanovsk Region has grown 40% over the past ten years, said Elena Shporkina, head of the Centre for Development of CSOs in the Ulyanovsk region. According to Shporkina, foreign investments in the region have increased tenfold, which, of course, is a great help.


“Our main life hack is the creation of a resource centre at the Public Chamber. This way, the chamber is always aware of the current needs of CSOs and operational feedback is established. Meanwhile, CSOs are strengthening the role of the chamber in the region”, says Shporkina.




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