The West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) with the support of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) facilitated a 3 – day institutional strengthening training for staff of the newly created Non-Profit Organizations Secretariat (NPOS) from the 5 – 7 October 2021 at the NPO Secretariat in Accra, Ghana.
The training focused on building skills on data management and compliance; administration, operations, and communications; and financial management.
At the inaugural session, the Head of the Secretariat, Dela Ashiagbor, in his remarks underscored the importance of the training as it will strengthen the capacity of the fledgling secretariat to better finetune its operations and engagement with civil society. Omolara Balogun, Head, Policy Influencing and Advocacy Unit at WACSI, on her part, reiterated the partnership between the Institute and the Secretariat as they both strive to strengthen relations and collaborate on strategies to support operationalisation of the secretariat, and as well provide technical expertise on regulatory frameworks guiding operations of NPOs in the country (including proposed NPO Bill 2020). She added that stronger relations between civil society and the secretariat, which is crucial for national development cannot be overemphasized, promising continuous strategic engagement and collaboration with the Secretariat.
On details of the workshop, the first day focused on improving skills of the staff of the secretariat in data management and compliance. The session included how to understand, manage, and better process the data that the secretariat generates and works with (mainly NGO data) in an organised manner. All the necessary components needed to understand how data is managed were explained, including the planning, collection, storage, processing, and analysis of the data. The session also included several practicums which allowed participants to apply skills while learning.
Day two of the training focused on financial management. During the session, the NPOS staff were introduced to the principles of financial management relevant to the work of the secretariat. Among the key areas discussed during this session were the basic principles of financial accounting, including uses of accounting information; users of accounting information; why and how we prepare financial statements; and the interpretation of financial statements.
The last session focused on strengthening administrative procedures and operations of the Secretariat, particularly understanding the basic principles of office management, administration, and communications. Through a combination of mini-lectures, practicums and discussions, the secretariat staff were able to learn the dynamics of office management, effective communication, whether internally or externally, and effective teambuilding necessary for organisational success. At the end of the training, staff of the secretariat expressed gratitude for the training and looked forward to more collaboration between the Secretariat and civil society. They believe the new skills will allow them to better serve and interface between civil society and government for national development. WACSI on its part remains committed as a technical partner to the NPOs, and looks forward to providing further support to strengthening the Secretariat’s capacity to better respond and engage with civil society on many policy processes and issues including threats to civic space, civil society operations, and on regulatory environment and laws that guide civil society operations.