[Accra- 19 August 2022] Eighteen months into the implementation of the Giving for Change (GfC) programme, the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) and STAR-Ghana Foundation have achieved outstanding milestones and continue to layout mechanisms to propel the objectives of the five-year initiative.
Funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the GfC seeks to strengthen civic space and civil societies through domestic resource mobilisation, philanthropy and community giving for social change and development.
The programme which was launched in June 2021 is implemented through Alliances and covers eight countries in Africa, Asia, and South America with STAR-Ghana Foundation being the Anchor institution and WACSI being a strategic partner in Ghana.
Creation of Communities of Practice (CoPs) and a Central CoP
A little over a year into the implementation, the two organisations have unanimously created communities of practice (CoPs) across different regions and zones in Ghana as channels to drive the objectives of the programme.
This year, a central CoP was created in addition to the existing Northern and Southern zones. This comprises of organisations that have promoted social justice at the community level including those that have national outlook with focus on policy influencing as well as mobilising funding locally to support social change and development.
The central CoP has a primary objective of supporting the other two CoPs by advancing advocacy issues beyond the community level especially on policies that impede local philanthropy.
Member Organisations in the three CoPs continue to make steady progress in local fundraising. Creditably all 22 members are collectively embarking on a community water project, where they plan to raise resources locally to provide a WASH facility at Boete community in the Obuasi East district of the country.
Launch of Matching Fund Initiative
An initiative dubbed: “Matching Fund” has been launched to motivate organisations to drive local fundraising plans around specific issues in their communities.
It will among other things, help bridge the gap between acquisition of new skills and actual testing of new skills.
Out of 22 organisations, 17 applications have been received, with eight pre-selected to receive small grants to undertake interventions with their constituents and their communities.
This project is aimed at building mechanisms and platforms to enhance accountability in local philanthropy initiatives. Some of these interventions include providing social support to communities through local giving.
Another key social intervention initiatives being carried out also include the Cape Coast Schools Alumni Project which will mobilise resources from old students’ union to provide information technology learning materials to support Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind, and also provide access to e-learning platforms for public schools in disadvantaged communities.
Promoting Local Philanthropy
Favourable conditions have been created to promote local philanthropy as a form and driver of social and systems change. Leveraging local ownership of development processes, 30 individuals and institutions have subscribed to the FAAKO Social Fund as monthly donors. The Yen Somu Bi online giving platform, during trial has raised 7,850.098 cedis. The platform has been upgraded to include a first level security and an accessibility widget with options to transcribe texts to speech, change colour contrast and magnify texts.
The project witnessed a progressive increase in community participation. In the Upper West region, community commitments have led to the construction of a community clinic in Kusali; an ongoing construction of a clinic in the Bouti, a commitment by the Dondoli township to construct a youth information and communication centre.
STAR-Ghana Foundation has developed and begun the implementation of its Active Citizenship Strategy for promoting national volunteerism, promoting civic awareness, consciousness, and activism among the citizenry. The strategy is facilitating the emergence and strengthening of citizen and social movements around issues of social inclusion, good governance and governance of public goods and services delivery. Models of national volunteerism are currently under draft and will be rolled out through pilots.
STAR-Ghana Foundation is leading an Advocacy Committee comprising diverse actors, including academia, social entrepreneurs and civil society actors to advocate on enabling environment for social enterprise development in Ghana. Social enterprises, when leveraged can be an alternative domestic source of financing of social change activities. The first phase of advocacy focuses on influencing the approval of the draft Social Enterprise Policy.
Civil society organisations (CSOs) reach consensus on instituting a CSOs platform to coordinate civil society organizations across various thematic and geographical networks on issues of common interest to the sector’s viability and sustainability. The CSOs platform, facilitated by SGF would address the gaps in coordinated CSOs front on issues of CSOs regulation, self-regulation, and other issues of sustainability. The platform will also address issues of CSOs voice on emerging critical national issues.
Hosting of Partner Learning and Reflection Meeting in Ghana
In July this year, all the GfC alliance and partners converged in Ghana to share experiences around building better communities, creating spaces for emerging innovations and documenting best practices and lessons learnt.
The convening, which was at the behest of WACSI, and STAR-Ghana Foundation helped partners to appreciate that to shift power, there is the need to internalise and institutionalise key principles captured in the #ShiftThePower Manifesto. Some of these principles including moving away from the preoccupation with quick ‘solutions’ and seeking to embrace a vision of ‘good society’, changing language used currently so that it enables new ways of working and thinking rather than constraining them and changing ourselves and confront how we use our power.
The partners also explored new ways of capturing change through leveraging storytelling, video and voice documentation while nurturing and developing the constituencies (institutions, government, champions, trailblazers, agents of change) needed to develop a desired society.
The convening attracted massive media attention and was aired by national television of Ghana.