The need for CSOs to be buoyant, self-reliant, self-financing, and sustainable has dominated the civil society sector in recent years. As an organisation with a huge expenditure owing to the sheer weight of their interventions, the Kumasi based non-profit organisation, Street Children Project, embraced the Civil Society Sustainability workshop organised by WACSI in September 2018 with open arms. Rev. Sister Umoh, the Executive Director, explained why she found the workshop to be on time for her organisation.
“The organisation needs funding because of high staff cost, cost of rehabilitation, volunteer cost (travel and transportation), cost of skills training of any kind for beneficiaries. This provides the stimulus and the interest to think sustainability,” she said.
“Until the training, we did not know one can be sustainable through local support”
Street Children Project is a Kumasi based non-profit organisation operating under the auspices of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kumasi working with street children by providing them with basic needs and skills training. This faith-based organisation (FBO) also provides social and entrepreneurial services to other vulnerable groups such as head porters and also work in related areas such as human trafficking, domestic violence, and any form of child slavery. The organisation boasts of a drop off centre, daycare centre and a skills training centre. Furthermore, the outfit has sponsored over 500 kids through school.
Commenting on her key learning points during the workshop in Kumasi, Sister Olivia intimated that the workshop enabled her to understand the possibility of sustaining the organisation through local funding.
“This is because until the training we did not know one can be sustainable through local support…We also realised that financial sustainability would come if all other dimensions of sustainability such as operations, interventions are given priority.”
Spurred by the newly acquired ideas and possibilities, Sister Olivia and her team decided to give practical meaning to some of the recommendations/action points emanating from the workshop. To provide a fulcrum for steering the sustainability drive of Street Children Project, they developed a sustainability strategy including a definition of the sustainability vision and how to work towards it.
As a result of the workshop, the Street Children Project implements a new sustainability strategy
This sustainability document according to Sister Olivia was based on a detailed strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats ( SWOT) analysis of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Based on this strategy they began in earnest to develop some vital internal policies to increase the operational sustainability of the organisation.
“We have put new structures in places such as staff manual, review of child protection policy, procurement policy, finance policy, and leaflets, posters, pull-ups on services we provide,” she said.
A desk Officer for Communication was also appointed to publicise and help with the rebranding of the organisation.
Sister Olivia mentioned that these actions have enabled her organisations to achieve some strides in saving limited resources.
“Using the new procurement policy, we have been able to save some money for the organisation. Initially, we could lose up to between GHC2,000.00 and GHC3000 due to malpractices in our procurement but now we can save about the same amount quarterly,” she testified.
She mentioned that they have also stepped up local fundraising and now use every avenue to raise funds. This yielded significant results within the last quarter of 2018 with an amount of GHC1,089.00 raised.
To encourage more giving, Street Children Project redesigned the annual report to better communicate their impact, increase visibility and transparency of their work with tailored messages, which are propagated via social media platforms, brochures, leaflets, etc. They also managed to refurbish the staff room with furniture to make it more comfortable and to brighten up the image of the organisation and boost staff morale. According to Sister Olivia, this boosted a sense of belonging among staff.
Street Children Appeals WACSI to continue handholding such workshops
Reflecting on the enabling factors that played a major role in the progress made thus far, Sister Olivia highlighted with strong conviction that the workshop benefitted her organisation because she tried some of the recommendations/action points. She also mentioned the commitment to share with the management team and staff and quite importantly, the crucial role played by WACSI.
“The support from WACSI even after the workshop was enormous including mentoring and coaching, tools, and virtual support to lean on,” she added.
Sister Olivia concluded by appealing to WACSI to continue handholding them as they seek to become a leading name in child protection in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.