Ghanaian CSOs Step up their Game in Digital Security Amid Growing Threats 

Ghanaian CSOs Step up their Game in Digital Security Amid Growing Threats 

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 [Accra, 28 May 2024] – In a proactive move to bolster digital security, Ghanaian civil society organisations (CSOs) have crafted robust strategies to safeguard their operations. During a three-day training session organised by the Civic Space Resource Hub for West Africa (CSR-Hub) in Accra, the CSOs developed actionable plans to protect against evolving digital threats. 

Under the expert guidance of Jerry Sam, Executive Director of Penplusbytes, they explored the intricacies of digital risks and vulnerabilities.  

Sam emphasised the critical importance of cautious data management. “Be careful what you feed AI with and how much access you give it to your organisation’s data,” he cautioned. 

𝘑𝘦𝘳𝘳𝘺 𝘚𝘢𝘮, 𝘌𝘹𝘦𝘤𝘶𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘋𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘰𝘳, 𝘗𝘦𝘯𝘯𝘱𝘭𝘶𝘴𝘣𝘺𝘵𝘦𝘴

The training, held from 6-8 May 2024, leveraged practical exercises on risk assessment, data protection, and password management to deepen participants’ understanding in some of the best security practices.  

Participants left the training equipped to confidently navigate the digital landscape, expressing newfound assurance in their capabilities. 

Hamdia Yakubu, Communications Officer at YEFL-Ghana, praised the training’s practical value. “It has been educative and thought-provoking, making you aware of the small oversights in your organisation that could escalate into serious problems,” she noted. 

 Awal Ahmed Kariama of RISE Ghana highlighted the human element in digital security, noting, “The weakest link in any organisation’s digital security is the human beings.” 

Fauzia Issahaku, Communications and Media Relations Officer at the Center for Communities Education and Youth Development, found the training beneficial both professionally and personally.  

“I learnt to assess online risks and create policies to safeguard our organisation from stress, viruses, and hackers. The session on backup plans was particularly enlightening,” she shared. 

𝘍𝘢𝘶𝘻𝘪𝘢 𝘐𝘴𝘴𝘢𝘩𝘢𝘬𝘶 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘯 𝘣𝘦𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘧 𝘰𝘧 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘱

Precious Ankomah, Head of Programmes at Penplusbytes , who facilitated a session of the training, underscored the urgency of digital vigilance, especially in the post-COVID-19 era where digital threats have become more prevalent.  

“For civic space, digital security is crucial. Understanding how to protect ourselves against these threats is essential,” she remarked. 

Comprising the second Ghanaian cohort of the Hub, other organisations that participated in the workshop included Girls Advocacy Network, Savannah Women International Development Agency, Human Rights Development Foundation, Center for Peace and Progress Advocacy Ghana and Youth and Women Empowerment.  

Also in attendance were Human Security Research, Media Foundation for West Africa, Presbyterian Relief Services and Development, E-Governance and Internet Governance for Africa Region and the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition.  

𝘗𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘱𝘢𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘴𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯

Supported by Ford Foundation, CSR-Hub is a capacity building platform for civil society organisations pushing back restrictions to open civic space, enabling environment, civil liberties, and open society in West Africa. It is designed to reinforce the institutional, financial, and digital resilience of the civil society in a bid to respond effectively to emerging and longstanding challenges to civic space, human rights and freedoms in West Africa. 

The hub has trained 186 civil society actors from 59 organisations in West Africa so far. And it plans to continue empowering even more. 

Click here to watch a summary video of this training.

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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.