On 30 April 2020, the West Africa Civil Society Organisation (WACSI) in collaboration with the Ghana CSO Platform on the SDGs organised a webinar to discuss the expediency of the Ghana Beyond Aid (GBA) vision in the wake of emergencies such as the new corona virus or COVID-19 pandemic vis-à-vis civil society’s readiness, resourcefulness, responsiveness and overall sustainability.
It is recognized that COVID-19 significantly threatens every facet of society, not just public health. Countries all over the world are grappling with macroeconomic instability, while private corporations and civil society organizations (CSOs) are facing an unprecedented resource crisis due to impacts of the pandemic. The anticipated global economic downturn in the wake of the pandemic will inevitably compound resource crisis for all sectors, especially the third sector which has not fully recovered from the 2008 economic crisis that led to a devastating reduction in traditional donor funding facilities.
As COVID-19 is fundamentally changing the world, including our domestic context – Ghana, it is imperative that we re-assess the relevance and adequacy of some national policies in responding to the pandemic and associated impacts. One such national policy that became worthy of a revisit in the context of the raging pandemic is the GBA agenda.
The joint WACSI-CSO Platform on SDGs webinar therefore allowed civil society to re-open conversation on the shortfalls of the GBA as earlier raised by CSO groups; re-evaluate the adequacy or otherwise of GBA in response to emergencies such as COVID-19. Further, it allowed for the assessment of the threats of GBA to civil society financial sustainability and response to national emergencies.
The webinar attracted insights from four distinguished panelists and CSO/INGO leaders — Mr. George Osei-Akoto Bimpeh (Country Director – SEND Ghana); Ms. Nana Asantewa Afadzinu (Executive Director – WACSI); Ms. Ugonna Ukaigwe (Former National Coordinator – Ghana CSOs Platform on the SDGs) Ms. Teiko Sabah (Head of Programmes – STAR Ghana Foundation) and; Mr. Tijani Hamza (Country Director – Oxfam International Ghana) — and a cross-section of members of the CSOs Platform on SDGs and other civil society including the INGO community.
Panelists with participants proposed practical opportunities and recommendations to support the revision of the GBA Charter, promote collective ownership and realistic strategies to achieve the vision of the agenda, as well as ensure civil society sustainability.
The recommendations are outlined below:
The session concluded with a call to action for civil society to as a matter of urgency:
The moderator, Mr. Bimpeh, closed meeting by thanking all panelists and participants for taking the time to be part of the discussions. He acknowledged that this was just the beginning of conversations for a better and inclusive GBA and civil society sustainability.
For more information on the webinar, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org