31 Open Society Africa Grantees Commit to Work Towards their Sustainability

31 Open Society Africa Grantees Commit to Work Towards their Sustainability

[Accra, 18 March 2024]- “Resource mobilisation encompasses more than just finances. It can encompass anything that enhances organisational efficiency, whether it be human resources or assets,” says Charles Vandyck, Head, Capacity Development Unit, West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). 

Vandyck echoed these words during a training for civil society organisations (CSOs) from Anglophone West Africa in Accra. This was done to enable organisations to expand their understanding of the vast opportunities they can attract for their organisations by not skewing their efforts to seek financial resources only.  

Group photo of participants.

During the training, it became evident that many CSOs concentrate solely on financial resources, neglecting other potential avenues. As a result, they face difficulties in accessing other types of resources. 

This trend has further been exacerbated by aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic on CSOs in West Africa. The Covid-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of civil society organisations (CSOs) in West Africa.  

In Anglophone West Africa alone, more than half of the 313 CSOs surveyed teetered on the brink of collapse due to lost or dwindled donor funding directly attributed to the pandemic, a 2020 report by the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) revealed. 

Titled the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on CSOs in West Africa, the report uncovered the struggles CSOs in six Anglophone West African countries faced in the wake of the pandemic.  

It further highlighted the plight of those heavily reliant on donor support for their sustenance. It underscored the peril of over-reliance on donors for survival and stressed the imperative for CSOs to diversify their sources of funding and resources to achieve sustainability.  

This recommendation appears to have resonated with many donor organisations, as they are aligning their priorities toward strengthening the operational capacities of their grantees to enable them to weather adversities and advance their transformative agendas.  

The Open Society Africa is one of the key donor organisations deeply concerned about the sustainable growth of its grantees. As it transitions, the organisation is strategically investing in the operational capacities of its grantees with the aim of fostering sustainability.  

In February 2024, thirty-one (31) grantees participated in a five-day training in resource mobilisation and organisational sustainability facilitated by WACSI. This training inspired them towards developing robust   sustainability action plans. 

Cross section of participants.

The training took place in Accra, Ghana’s capital from 19 to 23 February. It exposed 31 participants — primarily executive directors and managers — to various resource mobilisation approaches and proven sustainability techniques. 

They were deeply inspired as the WACSI team guided them through a step-by-step process for developing sustainability plans for their organisations.  

“Until this training, we believed we had a solid sustainability plan. However, this training helped me identify some organisational gaps,” remarked Jennifer Agaldo, Operations Manager at TASCK Creative Company Limited, Nigeria. 

An area of particular interest for the participants was Alternative funding models. This segment introduced them to the Alternative Funding Online course, a programme in which WACSI played a crucial role in its development with support from Wilde Ganzen under the Change the Game Academy initiative. 

 “I was delighted to learn these techniques. As an Administrator, upon returning to my country, I will diligently explain every aspect of this training to my Executive Director,” said Ibrima Babo, Administrator of the National Federation of Farmers of Sierra Leone.  

“I will discuss with him how we can create a better resource mobilisation and sustainability plan for the organisation,” he added. 

Throughout the training, participants engaged in case studies, practical sessions, and role plays, acquiring essential skills and new techniques to transform their organisations.  

“I particularly valued the session on stakeholder mapping. For years, we’ve been chasing every potential donor in the hope of securing support. However, this training has highlighted the importance of strategic approaches,” remarked Bernice Mpere-Gyekye of the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition. 

A participant doing a presentation on behalf of her group.

The training drew participation from 31 CSOs in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia, including the Public Health Initiative Liberia, Women in Mining in Nigeria, Community Healthcare Initiative, Rights and Rice Foundation, Lady Ellen Women’s Aid Foundation, and Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (the National Chapter of Transparency International).  

Additionally, attendees included the Kids Educational Engagement Project, Methodist Church Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone Albinism Foundation, National Coalition for Community Legal Empowerment, Justice and Peace Commission – Caritas Kenema, Flomo Theater Production Inc, the Independent Probe Newspaper, and the Whiteink Institute for Strategy Education and Research.  

Also present were Our Lady of Mercy Community Services, Network Movement for Justice and Development, Mindfreedom Ghana, HEDA Resource Centre, Farmers Union NetWork-Liberia, Informal Workers Organisation, Liberia Center for Outcomes Research in Mental Health, and Prison Fellowship Liberia.  

Others included Mental Health Society of Ghana, Development Education Network-Liberia, National Advocacy Coalition on Extractives, Institute for Research and Democratic Development, Braveheart Initiative for Youth & Women, and We-Care Foundation. 

As these organisations embark on their sustainability journey, armed with newfound knowledge and strengthened networks, they stand poised to effect positive change in their communities and beyond.  

The ripple effects of their endeavours promise to shape the future trajectory of civil society in West Africa for years to come. Special thanks to the Open Society Africa for making this possible.  

 

 

 

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FIIFI BOATENG

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 KANKAM KUSI

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 ADWOA ANIMA

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 ODEI

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

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

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

GEORGE ADU-MINTAH

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

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

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

BETHEL KWAME BOATENG

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

WHITNAY SEGNONNA

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

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 ASANTE

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

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.

LILLIAN DAFEAMEKPOR

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

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 CHANASE

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

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

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

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 A. SOMBO

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 T. BALOGUN

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

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 KOJO VANDYCK

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 ASANTEWA AFADZINU

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.