Feedback is a very important aspect of the learning and growth strategy of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). At WACSI, we have taken deliberate steps to elevate the importance of follow-up support and coaching. We believe that it is like “teaching a child how to take his or her first steps.” You cannot hold the child’s hand and after making his first three steps, you let go and assume that the child has learnt and can automatically walk alone. We always stress that, no one should walk alone.
In the months of November, December 2020 and March 2021, WACSI in partnership with Wilde Ganzen Foundation organised a series of training on Mobilising Support (MS) and Local Fund Raising (LFR). These training are a component of the Change the Game Academy Programme and were geared towards equipping selected Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) with the skills to collaborate with key stakeholders, influence decision making processes, hold government and private sector partners accountable and strengthen their abilities to mobilise resources at the local level.
To enable organisations to further strengthen the skills acquired in the first set of training, WACSI organised a follow-up and coaching session for these organisations from 14 to 18 June 2021. The team of four, led by the Head, Capacity Development Unit, Charles Kojo Vandyck, and comprised of Gervin Chanase, Fiifi Boateng and Mabel Shu set off on 12 June 2021 to engage in this exercise. The programme was designed to cover selected organisations located in the Northern part of Ghana. These organisations spanned through Bolgatanga and Navrongo in the Upper East Region and Tamale in the Northern Region.
During this period, the WACSI team visited nine organisations including the Centre for Active Learning and Integrated Development (CALID), TEERE, Community Development and Advocacy Centre (CODAC), Youth Harvest Foundation, SIMBA, Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), YEFL and Rural Initiative Ghana.
Organisations shared their status updates with respect to the action plans that were developed during the training sessions, presented the work they had done after the sessions as well as their achievements and the challenges they faced. The WACSI team proposed possible solutions and noted the points that needed further follow-on support.
With respect to the MS framework, participants explained how they were able to use the stakeholder mapping tool to analyse and identify key stakeholders for their projects after the training. CALID indicated that the Queen Mothers in the Savannah now use their own resources to advocate for the return of teenage girls to school as about 1000 of them did not return after giving birth.
In the LFR domain, participants indicated that the training had re-oriented their views on fund-raising. They were able to use the donor mapping tool to identify potential donors. Some stated that whenever they heard the word ‘fundraising’, all they heard was ‘grants or donors’ but the training changed their view on fundraising and equipped them with the knowledge and skills on how to raise funds at the local level. The Programme Manager of Youth Harvest mentioned that they were able to mobilise over GH15,000 as a result of the knowledge provided to them during the training.
“The training has enhanced my capacity on Local Fund Raising and broadened my knowledge and skills. I now call myself an LFR expert. WACSI has made some of us to impact a lot in our constituents. We are very grateful for the training programmes offered,” said Bismark Adongo, the Executive Director of NORPRA.
The major challenge which cut across most of these organisations was at the level of communication. Most of them had fascinating stories but had no communication strategy and were therefore handicapped at the level of storytelling, visibility and engagement. WACSI agreed to assist these organisations in developing a proper communication strategy and promised to be of assistance in any other domain which required their support.
Most organisations expressed astonishment and were contented with this approach by WACSI. They reiterated that out of all training they attended, WACSI was the only organisation that did follow-up, and this meant so much to them.
At the end of the visits, participants expressed their sincere gratitude to WACSI and their desire in attending subsequent training organised by the organisation. WACSI derives immense satisfaction from being able to transform the lives of its civil society constituents and this coaching exercise proved to be a driving force for the institute.