The state of civil society’s sustainability in Ghana remains challenging. This was realised from research on the State of Civil Society’s Sustainability in Ghana published by the West Africa Civil Society Institute in collaboration with STAR-Ghana.
Civil society organisations (CSOs) across the country have been engaged to share their experiences on how they have been operating within a changing environment. WACSI, with support from STAR-Ghana, convened over 100 CSOs across the country to reflect on strategies that can enable them to become self-sustaining entities; being able to carry out operations without full dependence on foreign support.
Ms Teiko Sabah, Head of Programmes at STAR-Ghana emphasised on the importance of the four meetings. “It is important for CSOs to be at the heart of the discussions, sharing ideas and building strategies that would be implemented to guarantee the sustainability of the sector”, she said. To her, this is critical at this time when funding is increasingly being reduced and aid agencies are reviewing and or withdrawing their support from the sector in Ghana.
Between September and October 2018, Star-Ghana and WACSI have organised four civil society sustainability convenings for CSOs in Ghana. At the meetings, CSOs agreed on the need to develop a national sustainability strategy that would be implemented to ensure that the civil society sector exists as an independent entity within the Ghanaian society that contributes to driving positive social change.
The CSOs also proposed long-term goals that will inform the national strategy; recommending that capacity building should be a continuous process to allow CSOs to acquire the needed skills to be operationally efficient. They also acknowledged the need to enhance their communication, foster collaborations through networks, specialise based on their strengths and enforce actions to diversify their sources of financial resources.
According to Mr George Bimpeh, Country Director of SEND-Ghana, “the focus of CSOs should not be limited to accessing funding as the only means to becoming sustainable. The problem is more complex than that. We need to explore the depth of the problem.”
CSOs were called upon to conduct a self-analysis to define how robust their identity, operational, intervention and operational sustainability dimensions are as a basis to define the strategy they will adapt to become sustainable.
CSOs agreed on the need for a national regulatory framework for all organisations operating within the sector in the country
“We need to rethink the role of the regulatory body and the incentive it gives to CSOs”, said Ms Karen Sai, Programmes and Resource Mobilisation Manager of the Institute for Democratic Governance.