The Training that Transformed Dramani’s Organisation – SILDEP

The Training that Transformed Dramani’s Organisation – SILDEP

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Tumu, a semi-urban town in the Upper West region of Ghana is known to be a home to the rosewood, Ghana’s golden forest resource. It is a border town to Burkina Faso. Located some 1000km from Accra, capital of Ghana, Tumu seems to be too far away from the development hotspot of the country. Hence, Tumu, like the entire Sissala East district, is plagued with several development challenges. Low literacy level, high poverty levels, high level of rural urban migration, gender-based violence, high levels of teenage pregnancy and child marriage, just to name a few.

Moses Dramani, a son of the soil, painfully explains that it takes about six hours to cover a 150km stretch from Tumu to Wa, regional capital of the Upper West region. As a development worker in the region, he says it is very challenging to work in the region. Yet, this has been a source of motivation that spurred him to establish a community-based organisation – Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP) – to eradicate poverty in the region. For Dramani, SILDEP has grown from a one man organisation to a forebearer of community development thanks to one training organised by WACSI on resource mobilisation in 2011 – the organisation’s first ever training.

“Over the past 12 years, WACSI has contributed to improve SILDEP … It is because of you that we exist in a rural community,” Dramani, founder of SILDEP says.

SILDEP was created in 2009 to mitigate rural poverty through advocacy and skills development. SILDEP was also keen on reducing the high illiteracy level which according to Dramani, 85 percent of men and women in the district were not literate.

He sought and he found

The founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SILDEP knew he needed more than passion to achieve his goal. He knew that he needed the skills to define a feasible roadmap that would complement his passion to help improve on the living conditions of Tumu and its environs.

“As a new organisation, we were curious in getting partners and donors to work with in order to generate funds to enable us make contributions to communities within the Sissala District,” he says.

This drive pushed him to search and locate the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). “… We went to the internet where we chanced on WACSI’s website and sent an email through to see the possible ways which we could partner,” Dramani admits.

This was in 2011. The year Dramani will never forget because his encounter with WACSI enabled SILDEP to acquire the knowledge that has contributed to transforming SILDEP into a pace setter for development in the entire Sissala district. The organisation is prominent, has gained

outstanding recognition in the communities they serve and is like a visible and unshakeable iroko tree in a dense tropical forest.

This was as a result of Dramani’s participation in a resource mobilisation training organised by WACSI in 2011.

Sparks of success

“I trace my successes and wellbeing as a founder of an organisation and a CEO of an organisation to that initial, first ever capacity building workshop I attended,” Dramani says.

“The resource mobilisation workshop that we did, capacitated SILDEP to put in the appropriate structures, … [and acquire] the necessary software resources that we need,” Dramani happily admits.

He explains that the training enabled him to identify one of SILDEP’s weak points at the time – communication. From the training, Dramani understood the importance of communication in resource mobilisation. As a result, SILDEP developed a website through which it shared updates on its work with the public. Dramani also learned about the importance of leveraging on both traditional and social media, establishing and utilising networks to fundraise, and the need to have an up-to-date and informative website. The spark that brought SILDEP into the limelight was the launching of the organisation’s activities – a tip he learned from the training. The CEO invited the then regional minister, Mr. Issaku Saliah, to launch the programme activities of SILDEP in 2011. The launch was covered widely by the media and the information was shared widely and on the organisation’s website.

Dramani also realised the importance of effective board governance in boosting organisational credibility and attracting the right partners. Hence, he transformed SILDEP’s board from a group of ‘handpicked’ individuals to a team of professionals who add value to the organisation’s mission.

“From that training, we got to know what donors need, what we need to put in place. From there, I had to constitute a vibrant board. My board was not strong. They were handpicked. So, I now knew the proper way of constituting a board and the role the board should play in fundraising,” he testifies.

Over the years, the board members have become indispensable assets for the organisation’s sustainable growth and impact. The passionate indigene of Sissala attributed these milestones to his participation in the WACSI-led resource mobilisation training in 2011.

The mustard seed effect

SILDEP, which Dramani describes as a one-man non-governmental organisation in 2011, can now boast of a remarkable staff strength of 21. The CEO is quite happy with this milestone. Most importantly, he is satisfied with the impact on the lives of a wider number of community dwellers in the Sissala district.

“So many people have benefitted from the services we have offered in the past years,” Dramani says. As a result of SILDEP’s interventions since 2011, over 8000 women are benefitting from a village savings and loan scheme, some 130 households benefitted from an acre of farmland each with maize and soya bean seedlings, some 50 girls have benefitted from scholarships to gain vocational training skills and over 4000 pupils have access to a conducive learning facility, among other accomplishments. In all, Dramani modestly notes that at least a third of the over 112,000 people that make up the entire population of Sissala district have benefitted from SILDEP’s interventions.

Although he attributes much of SILDEP’s exponential growth to the mustard seed of knowledge and skills planted by WACSI in the organisation, Dramani will never forget the phone call that brought the fruits of development to the communities in Sissala district.

“One day, in 2011, I got a call from the Dutch Ministry in Netherland that they wanted to start a project called Girl Power Project in Ghana,” he recalls. The partner learned about SILDEP’s work on mitigating rural poverty, reducing illiteracy and improving the lives of women and the downtrodden from the astonishing online presence SILDEP deliberately created after their participation in its first ever training at WACSI.

“The information [about SILDEP] was gotten from our website which we developed and applied based on the skills we acquired from our first ever training as a new NGO,” Dramani reiterates as he recalls how he applied practical and basic communication tips he gathered from the resource mobilisation training.

SILDEP was on boarded as a partner of the Girl Power Project to deliver interventions in the Upper West region.

“The project was a five-year project and we had a minimum budget of 100,000 United States Dollars per annum,” the CEO recollects. He explains that this enabled SILDEP to kickstart projects to realise his passion – to improve the living conditions of the people of Sissala district.

“This enabled us to put in place the structures, bought 15 motor bikes, recruited staff,” he explains.

Through this project, SILDEP was able to establish its first footprint in the community. It constructed two six-unit classroom blocks in Chawee and Lelensi communities in the Sissala district. These facilities contain 45 pupils each. Annually, these facilitate learning for over 540 pupils since 2012.

The CEO is proud of these accomplishments. He is particularly happy to be at the centre of poverty alleviation in one of the poorest districts in Ghana. But according to Dramani, these milestones cannot be celebrated without recognising the key role WACSI played behind the scenes.

“Over the past 12 years, WACSI has contributed to improve SILDEP … It is because of you that we exist in a rural community,” he firmly and happily states.


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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 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 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 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 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 is a Ghanaian and joined WACSI in September 2010. He provides gardening and janitorial services at the Institute.


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 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 is from Cameroon and currently the Receptionist at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


Bethel is a Ghanaian. He provides technical and IT related support to the Institute. He joined the Institute in October 2006.


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 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 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 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.


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 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 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, 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 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, 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 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 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 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 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 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.