CSSP-StP Partners Thrilled by Progress of Joint Endeavours in Ghana

CSSP-StP Partners Thrilled by Progress of Joint Endeavours in Ghana

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[ Ghana, 17 May 2024] – In a concerted effort to advance Africa’s development agenda, the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), STAR-Ghana Foundation, Comic Relief, and British Airways visited key community projects they support in Ghana’s Eastern Region.

The three-day visit, held from May 15 to 17, afforded the delegation the opportunity to witness firsthand the tangible impacts of their collaborative efforts within the framework of the Civil Society Strengthening Programme-#ShiftThePower (CSSP-#StP).

The CSSP-StP, an eight-year initiative, funded by Comic Relief and the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), aims to strengthen civil society actors (CSAs) in Ghana, Malawi, and Zambia by focusing on capacity building and institutional strengthening.

During the visit, the partners extended a courtesy call to Naabans Foundation and CELDAR Foundation, both actively engaged in the CSSP-StP programme.

Sarah Adjei, Project Manager at STAR-Ghana Foundation, expressed gratitude to Comic Relief and FCDO for their ongoing support.

“The support from Comic Relief and FCDO is instrumental in helping organisations like CELDAR Foundation and Naaban’s Foundation to develop robust structures and policies, thus enhancing their competitiveness for funding,” she said.

Representatives from British Airways, a dedicated fundraiser for Comic Relief, joined the visit to better understand the impact of their contributions. Charlie Keech, Head of Partnership Management at Comic Relief, described British Airways as a “vital partner” in this initiative.

The visit to Naabans Foundation in the Oboadaka community was greeted with traditional and cultural celebrations, where the partners were warmly welcomed. Amidst the rhythmic drumming and lively dancing, the community conveyed heartfelt appreciation for the support provided by Naabans Foundation.

Nana Abena Asomakyere (I), Maawerehemaa of Oboadaka and Executive Manager of the Foundation, outlined the organisation’s vision of fostering positive change by providing essential resources and education opportunities to its constituents.

“The support from STAR-Ghana and WACSI have been instrumental in advancing this vision,” she said.

On his part, Chief of the Community, Bafour Okyere Fianko, expressed gratitude for the support received and pledged further collaboration to drive development initiatives in the community.

The visit also marked the commissioning of some infrastructure projects, notably a water facility and a library/computer lab for the Oboadaka M/A Basic School. Additionally, the Foundation supplied learning materials such as pens and books to support educational endeavors at the school.

Visit to CELDAR Foundation

The delegation concluded their visit at CELDAR Foundation, situated in Anum, a small town within the Asuogyaman District of the region, where they toured some community projects. CELDAR Foundation is among the organisations that have received catalyst fund support under the CSSP-StP.

Throughout the visit, community members shared inspiring anecdotes highlighting the transformative impact of the fund’s support. These stories highlighted innovative grassroots initiatives that are driving sustainable development in the local community. One of the notable initiatives is the Anumman Development Foundation, a self-help development organisation aimed at addressing key development challenges in the area and leading local efforts.

The delegation also learnt about a community market project underway to boost economic activities, reducing the need for residents to travel long distances for trading and shopping. This project is a testament to the community’s proactive approach to solving local problems. The visit included interactions between the delegation, the Anum Traditional Council, and the Anumman Development Foundation. These discussions underscored the importance of collaboration in empowering communities and creating lasting change.

A highlight of the visit was when STAR-Ghana Foundation, WACSI, Comic Relief, and British Airways received citations from the Anum community. These citations recognised their contributions to building assertive CSOs and fostering community empowerment and change.

Asafoaste Okumani Gyan, Board Chairman of Anumman Development Foundation, praised the unwavering commitment of the partners, noting that their collective action symbolises the achievements and progress made through collaboration and a shared vision for a better future.

“The people of Anum say thank you for your ongoing support, WACSI and STAR-Ghana,” he said.

Sarah Adjei, Project Manager for CSSP-#StP, reflected on the visit’s impact. She urged the partners and the community to continue carrying forward the momentum and passion that have fueled their journey.

“We can’t help but reflect on the inspiring moments, profound learnings, and the strong connections we have built along the way, from the captivating stories of change shared by community members to invaluable insights exchanged among us, this journey has been transformative and informative,” she said.

During the visit, the team also donated educational items to the Anum community, further supporting local development. The delegation also met with the District Chief Executive of Asuogyaman, Mavis Opokua Akunnor, and other senior officials at the District Assembly.

The warm reception and insightful discussions highlighted the importance of collaboration and open dialogue in driving progress and investment at the district level. This visit reinforced the power of partnerships in fostering community development and demonstrated a collective commitment to creating a brighter future for all.

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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.