25 CSOs Receive Training on Civic Space Protection

25 CSOs Receive Training on Civic Space Protection

[Accra- 19 October]- Twenty-five (25)  civil society organisations (CSOs) will now be able to effectively contribute towards the fight for a resilient civic space in West Africa having received training on civic space protection at a regional workshop in Accra, under the Civic Space Resource Hub for West Africa (CSR-Hub) project. 

 The workshop mobilised the 25 CSOs including national NGOs, youth networks and women’s organisations from the pool of over five hundred (500) applications received from the three targeted countries–Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria.  

This group of beneficiaries (also referred to as cohort 1) would receive series of trainings, technical assistance, coaching, and support services aimed at strengthening their institutional, operational and financial resilience. 

The two-day regional workshop took place from 12 to 13 of October 2022 under the theme: “Contextualising civic space in west Africa: Interrogating the Rapidly Changing Context, Dynamics, Emerging Issues of Restrictions and Threat to Civil Liberties.” This was anchored under Civic Space Protection, which is a key component of the five-year project being funded by the Ford Foundation.   

The training was at the behest of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), the lead implementing partner of the project. A strategic partner, Spaces for Change (S4C) and five other supporting organisations would be serving as resource experts for the various thematic areas of the project.  

The supporting organisations include Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO), Busara Africa, Penplusbytes, Paradigm Initiative, and Placements Ghana.  

In an opening remark, Nana Asantewa Afadzinu, Executive Director of WACSI, noted that West Africa in recent times has suffered coups, which has worsened the plight of civic actors in their fight for an open civic space. 

She underscored the impact coups have on the democratic credentials of the region and how it muffles citizens’ voices and threatens civil society’s existence while also challenging citizens’ collective power for inclusive development.   

Afadzinu also decried the failure of CSOs in the region to work together and support each other, especially at a time when the civic space is under numerous threats. “Solidarity in the civic space has become weak, partly because we are all struggling for resources,” she said. 

For these reasons, the WACSI Executive Director considers the CSR-Hub project as a timely intervention to empower and resource CSOs to work collaboratively towards a common goal. 

Resource expert and Executive Director of NNNGO, Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi, who facilitated the workshop noted that West Africa suffers threats to civil liberties and the civic space continues to be under pressure and restrictions.  

In many West African countries, state authorities are taking more and more measures, to restrict the work of civil society,” he noted while urging the cohort 1 project beneficiaries to seize the opportunities the project offers to build resilience and become a formidable force for the protection of the civic space.   

The Head of Policy Influencing and Advocacy unit at WACSI, Omolara Balogun, indicated that all capacity development, training, and coaching services under the project would be tailored to the needs of the beneficiary organisations.   

She said the CSR-Hub had a global outlook. “The project will connect us to global civic actors. It will help us broaden our scope of knowledge about civic space. Our knowledge of how we can protect the civic space will not be limited to only West Africa,” she emphasised.   

She urged the beneficiaries to take advantage of the opportunity given them to address institutional and the resources gaps that impeded their efforts to pursue their mandates in the civic space.  

The CSR-Hub for West Africa seeks to strengthen the capacity of CSOs working to expand civic space and promote open societies in West Africa. 

Specifically, it provides capacity-strengthening support and technical advice to CSOs around four strategic thematic areas: Civic Space Protection, Organisational Governance and Regulatory Compliance, Digital Security and Protection, and Resource Mobilization and Financial Resilience 

The project is part of the global “Weaving Resilience” programme, an $80,000,000 initiative which aims to strengthen civil society resilience in the Global South. 


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Fiifi is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Communications and Information Officer at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. He joined the Institute in December 2020.


Nancy is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Programme Officer in the Knowledge Management unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. She joined the Institute in January 2021.


Agnes is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Head of the Administration unit in the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2021.


Doris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social sciences (Economics and Sociology) from the University of Cape Coast. She is passionate about impacting young lives hence co-founded Impart Foundation. A non-profit organization which seeks to empower young lives through education, technology and entrepreneurship.


Prince Akowuah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Assistant in the Translation Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


Maxwell Apenteng is a Ghanaian and joined WACSI in September 2010. He provides gardening and janitorial services at the Institute.


George Adu-Mintah is a Ghanaian and currently the Protocol Assistant/Driver at the West Africa Civil Society (WACSI). He joined the Institute in October 2006.


Ibrahim Kwaku Gbadago is a Ghanaian. He joined the Institute in 2008 and provides janitorial services and assisting the institute's errands. Before joining the Institute, he worked at the Palestinian embassy in Accra, Ghana.


Ruth Yakana is from Cameroon and currently the Receptionist at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


Bethel is a Ghanaian. He provides technical and IT related support to the Institute. He joined the Institute in October 2006.


Whitnay Segnonna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Management from the University of Benin. With 2 years of experience, she has a strong knowledge of organizational and project management. Combined with her bilingualism, she is very passionate about her work. She joined WACSI as Project Assistant on Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) for the Capacity Development Unit.


Stella Yawa Wowoui holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation Studies. She has a perfect grasp of both French and English, as well as an intermediate level in Spanish. She is currently working as a Project Assistant on the Techsoup Project.


Kwame is an experienced IT Consultant/Software Developer. He is skilled in Web Applications Development, Digital Security, Database Management, Digital Marketing and Brand Management. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and is a Microsoft Programme Alumni. He is currently serving as a Marketing and IT Officer on the Techsoup Project.


Grace Akpene Ziggah is a Togolese and currently the Logistics Officer and also assists in administration duties at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in June 2009.


Lilian Dafeamekpor is a Ghanaian and currently the Assistant to the Executive Director at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


John P. Frinjuah has expertise and interests in civil society, international development, democracy and governance, conflict, crisis, and security. He has extensive experience working with civil society and international development organizations where he supported and managed research, programmes, and provided technical assistance on a variety of themes around public policy, governance, and development. He is an alumnus of the University of Ghana and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy - Tufts University in the United States, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from two institutions respectively. John speaks English, French and several Ghanaian and regional West Africa languages.


Gervin has extensive international development experience, including 5 years of policy advocacy and capacity building of grass root organisations. He has implemented over the years a combination of agriculture value chain, livelihood, food security and governance and rights programmes.
Prior to joining WACSI, Gervin worked on two USAID projects focusing on agriculture value chain development and governance in northern Ghana
Gervin holds a master’s degree in development & Governance from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany as well as a Masters in Global Studies from the Universities of Vienna (Austria), Leipzig (Germany) and California (Santa Barbara), USA. He is passionate social justice and inclusion.


Leandre Banon, Beninese, joined WACSI in September 2014 as Capacity Development Programme Assistant. Since then, he has worked in various units within the Institute to support operational and institutional capacity strengthening programmes for civil society in the region. Currently serving as Capacity Development Programme Officer at WACSI, his main responsibilities involve designing, planning, implementing and monitoring capacity development programmes for civil society constituents and grouping across the West Africa. Leandre is a certified Change the Game Academy Programme Trainer. His background lies in the areas of economics and development planning.


Samuel Appiah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Officer in the Finance and Administrative Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in May, 2016.


Jimm Chick Fomunjong, Cameroonian, joined WACSI in May 2018 as the Head of the Knowledge Management and Communication Units of the Institute. He has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and a development communications expert. He has a vast experience in supporting African organisations to strengthen their internal and external communications, building and sustaining relationships with the media and, leveraging on the power of social media to promote their mission. He is also excellent at supporting organisations to set up and operationalise functional communications and knowledge management systems. He has a deep passion and expertise in supporting Africans and African civil society organisations to document their praxis, share and learn from experiences documented from the African civil society sector.


Franck Sombo is a development practitioner with the drive to lead self and others to influence productivity and efficiency. His work involves supporting organisations to develop strategic plans, design monitoring and evaluation systems, develop and use relevant performance measurement tools to track progress, assess organizational growth and institutionalise learning. Franck has eight years of experience working with WACSI where he currently serves as the Head, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning. His academic qualifications include Masters in Organisations’ and Projects’ Management, and in Business Sciences and a High National Diploma in Finance and Accounting.

Franck is a Fellow of the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) and a graduate of the Graduate Training Institute (GTI) - Ghana with specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Leadership. He has a rich experience in Project Management, Capacity Development, Strategic planning, Data Analytics, Monitoring and Evaluation, Training and Facilitation, Mentoring and Coaching among others.


Omolara is a development practitioner and advocacy strategist with over 15 years of progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa.

She joined WACSI in November 2009 as a Regional Advocacy Consultant and later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer of the Institute in 2010.

She was promoted to Head of the Policy Influencing and Advocacy (PIA) Unit in 2015. As the Head of the PIA unit, Omolara offers strategic direction to the Institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organised and organic civil society actors; and influence regional and global discourses on crosscutting policy issues including—civil society regulations, sustainable development goals, civic space and enabling environment, aid effectiveness, gender equality, and civil society accountability.

Previously, Omolara served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa (WIPSEN-Africa), where she worked with her team to design and implement pan-African programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

She also served as a Service Development Marshal at TVQ Consulting Group, a customer service firm focused on designing strategic customer relationship and business growth plans for private and public financial institutions in Nigeria.

Omolara is a social justice advocate, a network weaver, and a convener. She has a postgraduate degree in Peace and Conflict Studies; a degree in International Relations and History, from the University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria respectively.

She also holds executive certificates in Behavioral Science in Public Policy from Harvard University Executive Education in Cambridge and in Citizen Advocacy from the Coady International Institute, St Francis Xavier University in Canada.


Kwabena Kroduah is a Ghanaian and currently heads the Finance Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in January 2008.


Charles currently serves as the Head of the Capacity Development Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). Charles has over 10 years of experience working in international development and social justice issues in Africa. Charles has expertise in strengthening civil society and public agencies including the design and implementation of governance and leadership programmes, development of knowledge pieces and policy advice. Charles was the founding Board Chair of Innovation for Change (i4C)-Hub Afrique, as well as the founding member of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon), an initiative of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. Charles currently serves as the Member of the Governing Board (Coordination Collective) of Africans Rising. He is a Member of the Development Studies Association, United Kingdom. Charles is a 2017 Stanford University Fellow for Nonprofit Leaders and a certified Change the Game Resource Mobilisation Trainer.


Nana Afadzinu is a Ghanaian and currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2010.