Civil Society and Ghana Beyond Aid (GBA) Agenda in the context of COVID-19: A strategic opportunity to revisit the GBA Charter

Civil Society and Ghana Beyond Aid (GBA) Agenda in the context of COVID-19: A strategic opportunity to revisit the GBA Charter

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On 30 April 2020, the West Africa Civil Society Organisation (WACSI) in collaboration with the Ghana CSO Platform on the SDGs organised a webinar to discuss the expediency of the Ghana Beyond Aid (GBA) vision in the wake of emergencies such as the new coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic vis-à-vis civil society’s readiness, resourcefulness, responsiveness and overall sustainability.

It is recognized that COVID-19 significantly threatens every facet of society, not just public health. Countries all over the world are grappling with macroeconomic instability, while private corporations and civil society organizations (CSOs) are facing an unprecedented resource crisis due to impacts of the pandemic. The anticipated global economic downturn in the wake of the pandemic will inevitably compound resource crisis for all sectors, especially the third sector which has not fully recovered from the 2008 economic crisis that led to a devastating reduction in traditional donor funding facilities.

As COVID-19 is fundamentally changing the world, including our domestic context – Ghana, it is imperative that we re-assess the relevance and adequacy of some national policies in responding to the pandemic and associated impacts. One such national policy that became worthy of a revisit in the context of the raging pandemic is the GBA agenda.

The joint WACSI-CSO Platform on SDGs webinar, therefore, allowed civil society to re-open conversation on the shortfalls of the GBA as earlier raised by CSO groups; re-evaluate the adequacy or otherwise of GBA in response to emergencies such as COVID-19. Further, it allowed for the assessment of the threats of GBA to civil society financial sustainability and response to national emergencies.

The webinar attracted insights from four distinguished panellists and CSO/INGO leaders — Mr George Osei-Akoto Bimpeh (Country Director – SEND Ghana); Ms Nana Asantewa Afadzinu (Executive Director – WACSI); Ms Ugonna Ukaigwe (Former National Coordinator –  Ghana CSOs Platform on the SDGs) Ms Teiko Sabah (Head of Programmes – STAR Ghana Foundation) and; Mr Tijani Hamza (Country Director – Oxfam International Ghana) — and a cross-section of members of the CSOs Platform on SDGs and other civil society including the INGO community.

Panellists with participants proposed practical opportunities and recommendations to support the revision of the GBA Charter, promote collective ownership and realistic strategies to achieve the vision of the agenda, as well as ensure civil society sustainability.

The recommendations are outlined below:

  • Civil society must make their voices heard on the shortfalls of the GBA and in a coordinated manner. This could involve the writing of open letters to the government and relevant ministries, the commissioning of an independent analysis of the GBA in the context of COVID-19 – and beyond – and use for advocacy for change.
  • Civil society organisations must build alliances especially with local businesses and philanthropy, as well as work with existing partners to expand their influence in policymaking and governance.
  • Civil society should consider its previous engagement strategies (for example, the government’s close collaboration with civil society on the SDGs) with the government that have worked and use the same approaches to engage.
  • CSOs have an opportunity through the NGO Bill and the National Policy for Strategic Partnership to engage government and relevant ministries for inclusive policymaking and development.
  • CSOs must hold each other accountable, but also support accountability and integrity within. They must also strengthen their credibility with their constituents. CSOs ability to mobilise local resources would suffer should we not take this seriously.
  • CSOs must invest in technology and digital tools (with local resources) that would support civil society work, especially in a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Civil society must invest in data gathering, curation, and knowledge management to better make case for the sector’s enormous – yet hardly noticed – contribution to socio-economic and human development.

The session concluded with a call to action for civil society as a matter of urgency:

  1. Re-open conversation on the GBA and advocate for the necessary changes;
  2. Write open letters to government and the relevant ministries on the shortfalls of the GBA, especially under COVID-19 and way forward and;
  3. Commission an independent study of the GBA in the context of COVID-19 – and beyond – and use analysis for advocacy.

The moderator, Mr Bimpeh, closed the meeting by thanking all panellists and participants for taking the time to be part of the discussions. He acknowledged that this was just the beginning of conversations for better and inclusive GBA and civil society sustainability.

For more information on the webinar, please email:

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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.