The Fluid Journey of Organisational Growth

The Fluid Journey of Organisational Growth

Imagine spending a whole year putting together resources needed to strengthen your organisationHaving sleepless nights and barely being able to maintain a proper diet for yourself just to ensure that you followed all legal and social requirements needed for operationalising your civil society organisation (CSO) 

One year down the line and you are now a proud Executive Director, having taken out time to cautiously select your employees. Your organisation is on its feet and you are overwhelmed with compliments from family, friends and other stakeholders. Just when you think you have everything under control and you feel like it is time to celebrate, like a heavy downpour, your organisation starts crumbling. Everything you fought so hard for seems to be disappearing right into thin air. 

Donors start withdrawing under the pretext of not having sufficient funds, your projects no longer come to completion due to mismanagement of funds, you just realized that your board was more decorative than functional and the change you thought you were making had not been properly communicated. It all just begins to feel like a nightmare. 

The wave of questions immediately come flooding your mind. “Were our policies and procedures properly designed and implemented? Am I using the right leadership style? Do the employees have the right financial and project management skills? Are our methods of communicating impact strategic and result based?”  

CSOs usually have as a goal, impacting change, either directly or indirectly. Unfortunately, most of them do not succeed in achieving results because they failed to put in place measures and systems to ensure organisational effectiveness. Many of them still go through the hassle of identifying the necessary tools needed for proper organisational management. 

Identifying a problem is one thing. Finding the solution is another. Designing a project to solve this problem and knowing how to manage funds allocated for the project is a whole new level that requires expertise, which some CSOs have not yet acquired. 

In its quest to address these challenges faced by these CSOs, the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) designed a set of training modules to strengthen the skills of organisations to play their roles more effectively and efficiently. This training which targeted CSOs and development practitioners in West Africa comprised of four key modules including: 

  • Organisational Governance and Leadership 
  • Project Management 
  • Financial Management 
  • Communicating Impact 

The programme ran from 22 March to 02 April 2021. The training was delivered through Zoom. It encompassed a variety of learning methods which were participant centred, interactive, involved experience and knowledge sharing, case studies, open discussions and many others. 

During the session on leadership, after identifying the different leadership styles, participants were able to determine which one was practised within their organisations and further brainstorm on which leadership style was more effective and result oriented. Based on the organisation type, it was noted that it is very vital for CSOs to determine which style works better for them. In some cases, there is a need for a combination of two styles to ensure efficiency.  

“Both sessions were wonderful and eye-opening for me. I look forward to the lesson of tomorrow, Markonee Knightley of Planned Parenthood Association of Liberia (PPAL) stated after the session on organisational governance. 

The breakout session during the financial management module enabled participants to understand the value of teamwork in task completion. After being assigned to work on a budget sample in their various groups, Bridget Tukpeyi of LADA Institute, Ghana had this to say: 

Experiences from each and every person contribute to making the budget a more presentable document to a donor.” 

These and many other comments are an indication of how beneficial these sessions were to participants, both at the individual level and as organisations. It is therefore crucial for organisations to identify the areas in which they are lagging and focus on developing these skills through training like these.  

 

 

About the author

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Mabel is a bilingual Cameroonian and holder of a bachelor's degree in Chemistry from the University of Buea. She is currently awaiting defense for her master's degree in Quality Control and Management. She has gained experience over the years as a volunteer and has worked in some local Non-Governmental Organisations in the domain of community development. She is passionate about empowering young girls.

At WACSI, she works with the Capacity Development unit as the Programme Assistant where she provides support in the facilitation of training sessions.

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Shu Mabel Lum

Mabel is a bilingual Cameroonian and holder of a bachelor's degree in Chemistry from the University of Buea. She is currently awaiting defense for her master's degree in Quality Control and Management. She has gained experience over the years as a volunteer and has worked in some local Non-Governmental Organisations in the domain of community development. She is passionate about empowering young girls. At WACSI, she works with the Capacity Development unit as the Programme Assistant where she provides support in the facilitation of training sessions.

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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 10 years progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa. She joined WACSI in November 2009 as an Advocacy Consultant. And later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer in 2010 and Head of Policy Influencing and Advocacy unit in 2015. As head, she offers strategic direction to the institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organized 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.


Previously, Omolara 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. She also served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa where she teamed up to design and implement two programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

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.