Covid-19 and Civil Society Sustainability
When COVID-19 struck, it affected every facet of society across the world. For civil society in West Africa, the impact of the pandemic amongst others exacerbated the sectors’ struggle to mobilise requisite resources to sustain its primary programmes amid dwindling donor funding as well as finance initiatives to curb the spread of the virus especially in the most vulnerable communities. Though funding for most Southern civil society organisations (CSOs) traditionally originates from Northern donors and development partners (DPs), the advent of the pandemic did not only trigger increased resource gaps in grantmaking, but it also introduced frequent changes in donor priorities; difficulties to meet new funding criteria and principles, as well as constraints for existing grantees (partners) to deliver measurable impact based on preagreed grant/funding terms and conditions. Likewise, the pandemic also led to an abrupt diversion of focus, time, and resources of many CSOs from their core mandates and/or original plans for the year to emergency COVID-19 responses.
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