Domestic resource mobilisation is a daunting challenge faced by many civil society organisations (CSOs) in Sierra Leone. GREENLIFE, an organisation that focuses on addressing economic challenges and improving the wellbeing of communities across West Africa in the domains of health, education, environment, and economic development is no exception.
According to Sahuna Bangura, Program Officer of GREENLIFE Sierra Leone, the organisation was facing major challenges in resource mobilisation. Key among these challenges was the limited ability of the organisation to raise funds to run operations. According to him, this was largely due to the organisation’s inability to write excellent grant proposals to attract donors’ attention.
This situation however began to change for the better due to the two-year capacity strengthening that GREENLIFE benefited from the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). The programme was funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) to provide a solid framework for the sustainable conservation of Sierra Leone’s biodiversity for the benefit of present and future generations. GREENLIFE and four other organisations participated in the programme.
“As a result of the support, we are now well equipped in writing excellent and convincing project proposals than we use to do back in the days. and the reason for this change is honed on the exceptional trainings received from WACSI and this has not only benefited GREENLIFE Sierra Leone but has spanned across our other offices in Liberia and Ghana”, Bangura said.
The project offered a series of capacity strengthening activities to participating organisations including (1) training; (2) mentoring and onsite coaching; and (3) technical support to apply for small grant proposals.
One significant change that has occurred since the beginning of the capacity building project is the high level of teamwork and collaboration among staff in the organisation.
Emanating from the support from WACSI and the training on resource mobilisation, GREENLIFE Sierra Leone has been able to secure grants from Wetlands International (PAPBIO) and CEPF.
“One unforgettable moment for us was when we were informed that we would be awarded CEPF funds. This was memorable because as a team, we put in our best in writing the proposal following keenly the guidelines, procedures and utilising skills gained from WACSI’s training and coaching”, Bangura happily testified alluding to a grant of $25,000 won by his organisation.
It crystalises the significant efforts made by the organisation to apply lessons learned from WACSI, being more focused and strategic towards the achievement of its goals. Prior to WACSI’s support to GREENLIFE, the organisation was operating with no strategic plan and finding it difficult to align their proposals and activities with their vision and goals.
But now, with the support of WACSI and their active participation in the training on governance, GREENLIFE Sierra Leone have been able to develop an organisational strategy for 2022 – 2027, develop an organogramme and clearly define their roles of personnel in the organisation.
Insights gained from the training on governance enabled the organisation to review its board charter to highlight the duties of the board members and to ensure segregation with management.
The support from WACSI has increased performance, facilitated uniformity of work and improved organisational structure of GREENLIFE Sierra Leone.
Looking at all these successes generated through the support, GREENLIFE Sierra Leone has all the tools to leverage on to become more influential and successfully contribute to conservation of the biodiversity in Sierra Leone and across West Africa.