A cross section of participants at the training
Understanding the rationale: Strengthening the capacities of partner CSOs from Four Francophone West African countries
“There is one thing that I consider as a fact, it is the indispensable nature of civil society in democracy and good governance processes in our young West African democracies. Based on this assumption, building the capacity of civil society to help them better contribute to policy formulation and policy engagement in those countries will surely empower them in the achievement of democracy, good governance and development in West Africa.”
This statement was echoed by Mr. Mathias Hounkpe, Guinea Office Coordinator of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
Mr. Hounkpe, alongside his colleagues; Ms. Aita Sarr, Administrative and Financial Officer; Ms. Khaita Sylla, Acting Grants Manager; and Mr. Hutton Hounsinou, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer provided succinct explanations and guidance on OSIWA’s grants application procedures and requirements. While Ms. Sarr and Ms. Sylla addressed issues pertaining to funding requests, management and reporting, Mr. Hounkpe provided clarity on proposal formulation and Mr. Hutton on monitoring and evaluation issues.
These key OSIWA staff were given the opportunity to provide background information on OSIWA’s objectives and share their impressions with respect to the recent Capacity Development Programme for civil society organisations (CSOs) for OSIWA’s partners from Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin and Niger. The training was organized by WACSI from August 28 to September 8, 2012 in Conakry, Guinea.
The OSIWA Guinea Office Coordinator and Coordinator of the capacity building programme for 26 CSOs from West Africa shared his hope to have a more effective civil society committed to bring about change in governance structures and practices, both internally and at the national/state level in West Africa.
Ms. Khaita Sylla emphasised that this is the very essence of the establishment of WACSI. She explained that OSIWA conducted a needs assessment in 2005 in fourteen ECOWAS countries which enabled OSIWA to identify the existence of capacity gaps within civil society; at the levels of individual competencies and organizational strengths. This definitely led to the creation of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) which was established with the mandate of strengthening the institutional and operational capacities of CSOs to enable them become more professional and influence policy change and policy reform processes in West Africa.
In the process of completing and setting off to implement their post-action plan, one participant from Cote d’Ivoire who was recently engaged through a phone conversation showed that the organisations are active to put the best of their efforts to make this programme a very successful one and achieve this joint-mission.
Ms. Emilienne Coulibaly a participant at the training expressed her satisfaction in taking part in the training. She explained that the training has enhanced her understanding of how to manage her organisation. She noted that staff from CSOs from Cote d’Ivoire who benefited from the training meet regularly and discuss on the engagements of their respective organisations. These meetings enable them to collectively strategise on how to put in place specific measures to strengthen institutional best practices acquired from this training. “This is enabling us to build our confidence and leverage on the strengths of colleagues to promote organizational values and programmes”, she noted.
Mr. Charles Vandyck, Capacity Building Officer of WACSI stated that the Institute is committed to a new process of strengthening the capacity of CSOs on a longer term. Mr. Vandyck explained that the Guinea programme has developed a new capacity building model for the establishment of robust CSOs in the region.. “If we want to have a more robust, influential and credible civil society in the region we should learn to build long-term partnership with organisations, by walking them through, coaching and mentoring with the resolute commitment of the organisation to make change”, Mr. Vandyck noted.
Commenting on the overall process, Mr. Vandyck emphasised that preparation is key to programme success. “This programme has benefited from steadfast communication with the beneficiary organisations and other stakeholders and a conscious effort to take charge of any single aspect that can help achieve this goal. The Capacity Building Officer explained that the organisations have been committed through a Post-Training Action Plan framework that will guide them to put into practice the benefits of the training and to apply the necessary measures that will definitely lead to stronger structures and better impact within the organisations.
The two-week programme organised in Guinea is the first phase of a two-year capacity development initiative undertaken by WACSI and OSIWA. The purpose of this regional intervention is to enable OSIWA and other development partners interested in promoting development and democratic values to have a pool of robust, effective, efficient and results-oriented strategic partners in Niger, Guinea, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire. Twenty-six (26) CSOs benefited from this programme organised by WACSI and OSIWA from 27 August – 8 September, 2012. They were groomed on Board Governance, Strategic Management and Corporate Leadership, Organisational Assessment and Strategic Planning, Human Resource Management, Financial Management and Grants Reporting and Monitoring and Evaluation...
Franck Sombo is Programmes Assistant at WACSI
This blog post is provided for information purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are not in any way intended to inflame passions. The views expressed in this message are solely those of the author in his or her private capacity, except where the author specifically states them to be the views of a named organisation. WACSI and its partners are not liable for any claims which may arise as a result of the contents of this post, and do not accept responsibility for the security of information contained herein.
Follow us on Twitter
Join us on Facebook
To submit articles for our blog, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Find the Guidelines here