The Initiative de Base pour la Gestion des Ressources Naturelles (IBGRN) is increasingly gaining recognition as a credible civil society organisation (CSO) that responds to the biodiversity challenges plaguing the country.
Seeking a sustainable solution to this challenge has been a critical plight of the organisation. Over the years, IBGRN has benefitted from the support of many partners to address this challenge.
According to the Executive Director of IBGRN, Oua Justin Bilivogui, key partners that have supported their work over the years included only the Critical Ecosystem Partnership fund (CEPF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)- Guinea.
However, their encounter with the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) in 2020 has been a key driver in finding a lasting solution to the dire resource challenge that made the organisation to struggle in realising its goal to protect Guinea’s rich biodiversity despite being in existence for close to two decades.
“The encounter with WACSI has been advantageous to the organisation,” said Oua Justin Bilivogui.
“We now have more projects thanks to the support of WACSI,” he said.
“At the start of this capacity building project with WACSI, the organisation had only 2 partners that provided financial support to its work. These were CEPF and UNDP – Guinea. But, today, we have CEPF, UNDP, International Union for Conservation Nature (IUCN), Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC), Bafing Falémé of UNDP -Guinea and Gret/Saveur-GF of Kissidougou,” the Executive Director happily explained.
IBGRN was among six CSOs from Guinea that work to promote biodiversity conservation in the Guinean Forests of West Africa that were supported by WACSI.
Through a capacity building project designed to enhance the capacities of 17 CSOs from three West African countries (Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Guinea Conakry), WACSI trained these organisations in the domain of governance and leadership, resource mobilisation and proposal writing, results-based monitoring & evaluation, project management, financial management and communication and advocacy. This was done to ensure that these organisations are equipped with the requisite skills to effectively manage their organisations and ensure effective delivery of programmes geared towards protecting the rich biodiversity of the Guinean Forests of West Africa.
The project offered a series of capacity strengthening activities to participating organisations including (1) training; (2) mentoring and onsite coaching; (3) support to apply for small grant proposal.
The support enabled IBGRN to address a key challenge that impeded the organisation from mobilising sufficient financial resources.
According to the Executive Director, the organisation has been plagued with a perennial problem of being able to understand and effectively utilise standard proposal development templates from partners.
With support from WACSI, IBGRN has been able to surmount this among other challenges that impeded the organisation from mobilising sufficient resources for its work.
Surmounting this challenge has enabled the organisation to mobilise more financial resources. In 2021, IBGRN was awarded support by GAC to the tune of half a billion Guinean francs (about fifty thousand dollars).
The board chair attributed this success to the support IBGRN got from WACSI.
“The support from WACSI contributed significantly to this success. With the advocacy and communication tactics gained from the capacity building support from WACSI, the organisation communicated effectively with stakeholders in mining communities. The new partnerships with partners like Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC) is a key result obtained from the usage of the tools and skills gained from WACSI. The tools helped us to gain visibility and to win the interest of the mining company that provided us with this support which accounts for about 50% of our annual budget in 2022” Bilivogui stated.
Through this support, IBGRN has secured valuable resources that would enable them to expand their support communities working to protect their environment.
“We are now securing growing projects within a competitive environment based on our improved competences,’ the board chair satisfactorily admits.