Civil Society

is seen as a social sphere separate from both the state and the market. The increasingly accepted understanding of the term civil society organizations (CSOs) is that of non-state, not-for-profit, voluntary organizations formed by people in that social sphere. This term is used to describe a wide range of organizations, networks, associations, groups and movements that are independent from government and that sometimes come together to advance their common interests through collective action. Traditionally, civil society includes all organizations that occupy the 'social space' between the family and the state, excluding political parties and firms. Some definitions of civil society also include certain businesses, such as the media, private schools, and for-profit associations, while others exclude them.

(World Health Organization)

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