13 February, 2013 / Posted by: Jimm Fomunjong
Participants undertaking a networking exercise during the training in Freetown, Sierra Leone
Successful networks demonstrate credibility of CSOs
“It is very important for civil society organisations (CSOs) to collaborate through networks to address common social issues they seek to redress.”
This call was reiterated by Mr. Nikiema N. V. Athanase after a 6-day training on Introduction to Policy Advocacy and Networking and Alliance Building for IBIS Partners in Sierra Leone which he co-facilitated.
Mr. Nikiema facilitating the training
“When CSOs work in networks, it demonstrates that they are working in synergies rather than as competitors as it often seems”, he added. He emphasized that successful networks proves that civil society is mature and other partners would be comfortable and willing to collaborate with such networks. He encouraged CSOs to collaborate through networks to achieve common goals because a network of CSOs adds value to the portfolio of respective member organisations. “Networks enable CSOs to amplify their voices, gain more attention and stamp their credibility”, he added.
He expressed his satisfaction with the training organised by WACSI for IBIS partners in Sierra Leone which took place from February 4 – 9 in Freetown. “Participants were highly interested and fully engaged during the training. There was a high level of interaction between participants and facilitators as participants demonstrated great interest in the training”, the satisfied facilitator pointed out.
Mr. Nikiema hopes that participants would make judicious use of the knowledge acquired during the training. He encouraged them to make use of best practice strategies identified during the training and refer to their training manuals for practical guiding steps on how to consolidate best practices in their networks.
The facilitator was particularly pleased after the training because participants made him to understand that they gained a deeper understanding of the concept of advocacy. He explained that participants demonstrated that they have developed a good mastery of the policy process and the role civil society can play in influencing such processes to achieve the development and implementation of relevant policies in Sierra Leone.
Mr. Nikiema used this opportunity to encourage IBIS to continue in its culture of strengthening the capacities of its partners to contribute towards sustainable development in their communities. He lauded WACSI for its strategic and professional approach towards the empowerment of CSOs in West Africa. He called on the Institute to follow up with beneficiary organisations to ensure that they are effectively utilizing the knowledge and skills gained to sustain their networks. He explained that this will enable WACSI to develop subsequent programmes that would address challenges faced by these CSOs.
Mr. Nikiema noted that the training was good. “It was an interesting experience and it was a success” he emphatically stated.
Engaging group exercise during the training
This training was one of several collaborations between WACSI and IBIS to empower CSOs and practitioners across West Africa with robust knowledge, skills and strategies to promote democracy, good governance and development in West Africa. WACSI and IBIS have collaborated to train IBIS partners working on the West Africa Human Rights and Democratisation project on Monitoring and Evaluation and Advanced Policy Advocacy. WACSI also delivered training on Rights Based Approach to Development for IBIS’ partners in the Northern region of Ghana working on the education project in the country. The Institute has trained IBIS’ partners in Burkina Faso on Introduction to Policy Advocacy, Networing and Alliance Building and Advanced Policy Advocacy.