Conservation Organisations in Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone at the Brink of Transformation

Conservation Organisations in Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone at the Brink of Transformation

The year 2020 marked a turning point for many civil society organisations (CSOs) in West Africa. The COVID-19 pandemic affected the performance of these organisations in diverse ways, making it difficult for most of them to remain effective. The need to stay relevant pushed some organisations into forming partnerships and networks with more stable organisations to enhance growth.  

The West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) in partnership with the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) concurrently carried out a two-week face to face capacity strengthening training in Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone between 17 and 25 May 2021. The training was geared towards enhancing the effectiveness of 11 organisations: six in Cote d’Ivoire and five in Sierra Leone.  

The training forms part of the two-year project entitled: Strengthening CSOs’ Capacities for Effective Stakeholder Engagement in Biodiversity Conservation, funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). The project in January 2020 and will be implemented for two years. It seeks to strengthen the institutional and organisational capacities of CSOs working in the field of biodiversity conservation in Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea.  

The operational training was spread over two different modules: (1) Introduction to Advocacy and Communication and (2) Financial Management. In the framework to cover all aspects related to the modules, each training module was subdivided into four sessions over four days.  

This training module on Introduction to Advocacy and Communication was tailored to respond to the policy influencing and communication capacity gaps identified among the selected organisations. The course introduced participants to key concepts on policy advocacy and engagement. Participants were also exposed to relevant laws and policies on biodiversity and conservation and their implementation, especially at local and sub-national levels. The course will enable beneficiary organisations to mobilise the required support towards the achievement of their mission and to hold duty bearers accountable at the local/district level.  

On Monday 24 May 2021, the teams embarked on the 4-day financial management training respectively in both countries (Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone).  

This training enabled participating organisations to take effective actions to ensure that their limited resources are used effectively while implementing programmes. The training looked at the essential financial management procedures, financial accountability and control mechanisms that are paramount to effective operational management and helped them to maintain budgetary control in line with an organisation’s financial management procedures.  

  It further provided participants with effective resource management strategies and techniques and built their confidence in managing and reporting on institutional donor grants to meet donors’ financial terms and conditions. The training targeted finance staff and project teams of the participating organisations. 

 At the end of the session, certificates were handed to participants. 87% of the participants testified that the training had helped to enhance their knowledge and skills in the different domains. 

 “We have been doing a very good work in the communities except around advocacy. How to communicate the impacts had been a problem for us but now with the knowledge acquired from this training we will use it to communicate the impacts gained from our implementation”, a participant from Sierra Leone shared in the daily feedback form – a daily monitoring tool used by WACSI to assess the training as it happens  

A participant from Cote d’Ivoire also commended the training. “The training content helps to understand the essential elements of internal control and budgeting. The section was punctuated by practical cases and good moments of exchange and sharing of experiences,” the participant said. 

WACSI’s team will be visiting Guinea in the weeks ahead to organise the same capacity enhancing activities for 6 organisations in the country.  

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. Their fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.”  

 

 

 

 

 

About the author

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Whitnay Segnonna is a bilingual (French and English) development professional, passionate about sustainable development in Africa. She holds Bachelor’s Degree in International Management from the University of Benin.
Whitnay has gathered more than 3 years of experience in managing complex projects and contributing to organisational growth. She is currently serving as a Project Assistant at the West Africa Civil Society Institute within the Capacity Development Unit.

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Whitnay Segnonna

Whitnay Segnonna is a bilingual (French and English) development professional, passionate about sustainable development in Africa. She holds Bachelor’s Degree in International Management from the University of Benin. Whitnay has gathered more than 3 years of experience in managing complex projects and contributing to organisational growth. She is currently serving as a Project Assistant at the West Africa Civil Society Institute within the Capacity Development Unit.

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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 10 years progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa. She joined WACSI in November 2009 as an Advocacy Consultant. And later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer in 2010 and Head of Policy Influencing and Advocacy unit in 2015. As head, she offers strategic direction to the institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organized 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.


Previously, Omolara 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. She also served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa where she teamed up to design and implement two programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

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.