Since its establishment in September 2004, GuideStar International (GSI; formerly known as Civil Society Systems) has been making great strides. It is now supporting the development of GuideStar systems in South Africa, India, South Korea and a number of countries in Europe.
Inkanyezi GuideStar is now a registered non-profit organization in South Africa, having received incubation support from the Nelson Mandela Foundation and GSI. The interim Management Board is made up of SANGOCO, Archimedes Foundation and the network of community organizations called CORN Gauteng. Inkanyezi or iGuideStar – it will be known by two names – is working closely with government agencies, associations of foundations and GSI staff to generate extensive information about the work of South African CSOs. The iGuideStar website is expected to launch during 2007.
India provides a highly challenging environment, but the project’s leaders believe that there is substantial potential for data development and a real need for it. The initiative in India is a collaboration of Credibility Alliance, Give Foundation, GSI and other interested individuals and institutions. A formal Indian entity is expected to be established this year.
GSI’s work in Europe is supported by the European Commission’s eTEN Programme. Over the next 18 months, GSI will work with DZI and the Maecenata Institute in Germany, NIOK in Hungary, Centraal Bureau Fondsenwerving (CBF) in the Netherlands, and Irish Charity Tax Research in the Republic of Ireland to explore the development of the model in those countries.
GuideStar UK, which successfully launched its operations in December 2005, will also participate in the development of a pan-European search facility.
In South Korea, the inaugural meeting for GuideStar Korea was held in March when 12 civil society leaders were appointed as trustees.
In September, GSI’s country partners and associates from around the world will gather in London for the GuideStar International Assembly to exchange ideas and lessons learned and to discuss the relevance of GuideStar systems in the wider debate of ‘Transparency, Civil Society and Effective States in an Age of Information’.
All these national systems will provide highly searchable and comprehensive catalogues of reports on a country’s civil society organizations, enabling them to communicate their work effectively and easily to national and international audiences. GSI works closely with national civil society leaders to ensure that each system meets the specific requirements of that country.