WACSI holds dialogue on civil society contributions to national development and post-pandemic recovery efforts in Ghana

WACSI holds dialogue on civil society contributions to national development and post-pandemic recovery efforts in Ghana

[Accra, Ghana] 24 November 2021 — The West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) held a half-day dialogue on civil society contributions to national development and efforts towards rebuilding better the Ghanaian society post the COVID-19 pandemic.

The incursion of COVID-19 into the country since March 2020 stalled many important national activities, processes, and impacted many livelihoods. Although, civil society has made significant effort in responding to COVID-19 and towards rebuilding the society devasted by the pandemic, it is widely acknowledged that civil society contributions to national development and post pandemic recovery have not been well highlighted. And the impacts of the pandemic will linger without the concerted efforts of all stakeholders – of which civil society is key. It is within this context that WACSI commissioned research that assessed the contributions of civil society organizations (CSOs) to national development and particularly to overall COVID-19 responses and post-pandemic recovery efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dialogue therefore provided the opportunity for the presentation and validation of the research finding as well as enrich and complement the findings through in-depth commentary by civil society actors present on the role of CSOs to national development, efforts at rebuilding society post the pandemic, current challenges, and opportunities for civil society to play its role as a vital force in bringing Ghana out of the pandemic crisis and into a desired future. The dialogue was moderated by Omolara Balogun, Head, Policy Influencing and Advocacy Unit, WACSI, and featured distinguished representatives of Ghanaian civil society, including Beauty Emefa Narteh, Executive Secretary, Ghana Anti-corruption Coalition (GACC); Mohammed Awal, Senior Researcher, CDD-Ghana; and Mary Awalena Addah, Program Manager, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) as panelists.

 

Below are the key highlights of the research:

  • CSOs in Ghana have been instrumental actors in consolidating democratic governance, policy advocacy and influencing in addition to poverty reduction and service delivery.
  • With regards to policy influencing, CSOs have become influential policy entrepreneurs in shaping government’s policy formulation and implementation.
  • CSOs have also been active actors in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through awareness raising and education, advocating for the rights of citizens and ensuring government’s accountability and transparency.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic will not significantly alter the relationship between government and CSOs post COVID-19. At the moment, their relationship is characterised by superficial cordiality and antagonism especially when CSOs criticise the government.
  • CSOs’ contribution to national development and ability to contribute to building back better post the pandemic is hindered by lack of access to information, perceived shrinking civic space, limited funding and lack of credibility and apathy by citizens.

 

Both speakers and participants made important recommendations to rebuild better after COVID 19. These recommendations include the following:

  • The need to generate evidence and data – both national andgrassroots data to showcase the contributions of civil society. Data should not only be provided by big organizations like Afrobarometer, CDD-Ghana, and others. To rebuild better post the pandemic, there is a need for data on the work organizations are doing at various levels that allows citizens and key national stakeholders to have a clear picture of the contributions of the third sector.
  • Further, relating to data collation, big organizations suchas WACSI should support local-based and grassroots organizations to build their legitimacy and credibility through quality evidence generation and use.
  • Within Ghana, grassroots capacity exchanges and experiences are increasingly important. And there is the need therefore to ‘shift power’ within country from national-based organizations to local-based organizations akin to the global efforts championed by organizations like WACSI and its partners to shiftpower from the global North to South non-governmental organisations. National-based organizations must collaborate with local partners at the district/local level and ensure that power and resources are sharedto enable local and grassroots organizations to effectively execute their mandate at the local level.
  • It is important that civil society pays attention to its own accountability. CSOs musthold themselves accountable and to their beneficiaries instead of just the traditional form of accountability where CSOs are only accountable to donors.
  • CSOs need to strengthen their engagement with government on local governance reformsand improving services delivery capacities at the local level
  • CSOs must be proactive and adopttechnology to better deliver on their mandate. The outbreak of COVID-19 has made the adoption of technology a necessity as far as the survival and continuous impact of civil society are concerned.
  • CSOs must amplify their advocacy around COVID-19 responses and national efforts at building back society from the devastation of the pandemic
  • There is a need for meaningful engagement of CSOs in the post COVID processes.CSOs must effectively coalesce and mobilize for an effective role in national development and post COVID-19 recovery. There is a need to present as a united front on national issues that impact citizens
  • CSOs need to re-strategizeanti-corruption actions around COVID-19 responses and recovery efforts given that corruption is heightened during emergency periods.

The dialogue concluded with the clarion call to all CSOs strengthen the way they engage on their commitments to citizens and to their mandate in order to contribute effectively to rebuilding better society. And WACSI is committed to supporting the third sector in the process.

 

 

 

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FIIFI BOATENG

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 KANKAM KUSI

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 ADWOA ANIMA

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 ODEI

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

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

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

GEORGE ADU-MINTAH

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

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

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

BETHEL KWAME BOATENG

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

WHITNAY SEGNONNA

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

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 ASANTE

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

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.

LILLIAN DAFEAMEKPOR

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

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 CHANASE

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

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

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

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 A. SOMBO

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 T. BALOGUN

Omolara is a development practitioner and advocacy strategist with over 10 years progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa. She joined WACSI in November 2009 as an Advocacy Consultant. And later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer in 2010 and Head of Policy Influencing and Advocacy unit in 2015. As head, she offers strategic direction to the institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organized 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.


Previously, Omolara 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. She also served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa where she teamed up to design and implement two programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

KWABENA KRODUAH

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 KOJO VANDYCK

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 ASANTEWA AFADZINU

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.