The Country Director of CARE Ghana, Ambassador Elkanah Odembo, has noted that even though Civil Society (CS) will continue to be central to the growth and development of Africa, its sustainability was being threatened.
Ambassador Odembo said the threat emanated from the fact that for far too long, CS sustainability had been equated to the ability to raise funds, as a great deal of energy and time had been spent planning and strategizing on how best to raise funds to support the work of CS, to the detriment of other critical elements of CS sustainability.
He, therefore, urged Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to direct their focus on issues of organizational efficiency and effectiveness, credibility, image, relevance and impact on society, and of socio-economic development, such as food security and education, for example.
Ambassador Odembo also called on CSOs to see self-regulation as an important tool in their work as stakeholders in national development efforts.
He was delivering the key note address at the launch of a Research Report on the State of Civil Society Sustainability in Ghana in Accra on Tuesday.
The Research Report, captioned “The State of Civil Society Sustainability in Ghana—Striving, Surviving or Thriving”, was commissioned by the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), with support from STAR-GHANA.
The Report is the first fruit of a project by WACSI to ensure the long-term sustainability of CSOs in West Africa in the context of the changing aid and development landscape in Ghana.
The Report provides new insights about the sustainability of CSOs and makes recommendations on what CS in Ghana must pay attention to in order to remain valuable, and relevant to Ghana’s future development.
Among the recommendations are the diversification of financial resource mobilization to include domestic resource mobilization, crowd-funding and on-line, and interest in Diaspora philanthropy; institutionalization of structures and practices of good governance; investment in capacity building; wide dissemination of results of programmes and impacts, and strong alliances with the private sector.
The launch of the Report formed part of a Regional Workshop on Strengthening Civil Society Sustainability in West Africa, which also formed part of a week of joint deliberations on CSO sustainability programmes.
About 30 participants—made up of representatives of CS networks, organizations, policy makers, funders and researchers—attended the workshop which aimed to explore the challenges faced around sustainability and to find potential solutions.
The workshop took stock of issues and initiatives around sustainability, provided the platform for dialogue between different stakeholders on sustainability and presented examples of how CSOs are responding to sustainability challenges.
In addition, the workshop explored mechanisms for supporting sustainability and identified priorities and developed initiatives for action on training, organizational development and research in the West African sub-region and in other parts of the world.
It was organized by WACSI in collaboration with the International NGO Training and Research Centre (INTRAC), a not-for-profit organization which exists to strengthen the effectiveness and sustainability of Southern CS to challenge poverty and inequality, empowering people to gain greater control over their own future and realize their potential as citizens.
In a welcome address to open the workshop, Mrs Nana Asantewa Afadzinu, Executive Director of WACSI, disclosed that throughout 2015, WACSI and INTRAC had been developing ideas to galvanize stakeholders in the West Africa sub-region, bring together global expertise and best practice and to provide the impetus for sustainability programmes in other parts of the world.
Mrs Afadzinu noted that with shared visions for a dynamic CS, capacity building as a core area of work and strong links to international experts working on the topic, WACSI and INTRAC were uniquely placed to develop the programme of work to address sustainability challenges of CSOs.
Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)