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Civil Society Organisations’ Contributions to National Development in Ghana

March 23, 2022

This report analyses the role and contributions of civil society organisations (CSOs)1 to Ghana's national development. In doing so, the report focuses on CSOs' engagements with and contributions to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) responses and post-pandemic recovery. It also discusses the barriers facing CSOs in their attempt to contribute to national development and towards a desired future post COVID-19 in Ghana. 

Forgotten by Funders

December 1, 2021

This report highlights the underfunding of work with and for imprisoned and formerly imprisoned women and girls,  alongside a worrying increase in the global female prison population. The report draws from the survey responses of 34 organisations, most of which are based in the Global South and have women with lived experience of the justice system involved with or leading their work. Calling to donors that fund human rights, women's rights and/or access to justice, the report concludes that this heavily gendered area of human rights tends to fall through the cracks of donor strategies, including recent Gender Equality Forum pledges. 

Localisation Agenda, Shift the Power and African Philanthropic Models in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal

October 19, 2021

This report presents the findings from a qualitative empirical research undertaken by the West Africa Civil Society Institute and Global Fund for Community Philanthropy aimed at understanding localisation agenda and shift the power as mechanisms to strengthen power and resource flow to local and local civil society organisations (CSOs) working in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal. The report also seeks to develop a better understanding of how African CSOs including philanthropic organisations understand localisation agenda and shift the power, and to support growing efforts to build a future of increased localised humanitarian action and a balanced power where there is equal opportunities and well-balanced resource between donors and CSOs in the humanitarian aid system. The report further examines the role of African philanthropic organisations and the added value and challenges of pooled or intermediary funding mechanisms in promoting the localisation agenda and shift the power.This report draws on data from semi-structured interviews conducted with sixteen participants who are experts and professionals working within the development and humanitarian aid sectors. The participants were drawn from CSOs including philanthropic organisations at three geographical levels: Global, Africa and West Africa. 

A Synthesised Report on the Impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic on Civil Society Organisations in West Africa

July 5, 2021

This report presents a synthesis of the findings on the impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic on civil society organisations (CSOs) in West Africa, with particular focus on Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. In particular, the report document show the COVID-19 pandemic has affected CSOs' operations, funding prospects and relationships with donors and stakeholders. Given that CSOs are agile actors with an agency, this report further analyses' strategic responses for mitigating the effects of the pandemic in ensuring their short-term survival and long-term sustainability. The findings, therefore, present data-based evidence to inform stakeholders' engagement with West African CSOs.The implications of the findings for policy and practice are further discussed.The findings in this study are informed by a sequential explanatory mixed-method design which involves first collecting and analysing the quantitative data followed by qualitative data. As part of the quantitative phase of this study, a survey questionnaire was administered to 313 CSOs across the six countries (i.e., Cameroon – 36 CSOs; The Gambia-16 CSOs; Ghana-86CSOs; Liberia-27 CSOs; Nigeria-80 CSOs; and SierraLeone-68 CSOs) between June and July 2020. Following the quantitative data administration and analysis,6 focus group discussions were conducted with 48 CSOs who first participated in the quantitative phase between July and September 2020. Additional, key informant interviews were conducted as part of the data collection in each country. The final analysis in this report integrated the quantitative and qualitative data, which provided nuanced perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 on CSOs' in West Africa. 

Civil Society’s Response to COVID-19 in Ghana: Actions, Results and Lessons Learned

April 22, 2021

The advent of COVID-19 in Ghana from 27 March 2020 created palpable fear and panic among citizens on the nation's ability to manage this novel virus. In response, STAR Ghana Foundation in partnership with eight civil society organisations (CSOs), from April to August 2020, rolled out a CSOs COVID-19 Response Project (CRP) to support government's effort to prevent, manage and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in the country. The project fostered key engagement with the media and other state actors.Using a qualitative approach, this paper presents the key highlights of the outcomes, impact and lessons learned from CSOs' responses to COVID-19 in Ghana. This paper provides a repository of information on CSOs' responses to COVID-19 in Ghana for civil society in Ghana and other countries to learn from to ensure effective responses to crisis. It also seeks to increase the visibility and reach of civil society responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.The paper reveals that, CSOs' actions on COVID-19 in Ghana has increased citizens' access to information on COVID-19; improved citizens' behavioural change around COVID-19 and adherence to the safety protocols; reduced the negative socio-economic effects of the pandemic on citizens; increased transparency and responsiveness on state response measures to marginalised and vulnerable groups; and improved documentation of the CSO response actions. The paper principally recommends that civil society, government and other stakeholders need to work in a collaborative and coordinated manner in responding to crisis such as COVID-19.

Assessing the Influence of the Media on the Work of Development Organisations

April 22, 2021

This paper assesses the influence of the media on the work of development organisations. It employed case study evidence of the comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) policy and the female genital mutilation (FGM) practice in Ghana. The paper argues that the media does not only impact the works of development organisations but influence their identity, how they are perceived and rated by the public, governments and donors which determines their ability to raise funds and achieve the objectives of their development interventions.The paper equally establishes that development organisations also influence the effectiveness of the media in discharging their duties. The paper calls for close partnership between the media and development organisations in sustaining and advancing their works.

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Civil Society Organisations in Ghana

March 30, 2021

The research findings show that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on CSOs in Ghana has been dramatic in the short term and is expected to have some medium to long-term effects on the civil society sector. The strategies implemented by the Government of Ghana to curb the spread of the virus placed restrictions on movement and large gatherings, amidst social distancing and other protocols. These interventions and response measures affected the operations and programmes of CSOs in the country. The CSOs could not effectively function from their offices nor engage with beneficiary communities.The restrictions imposed some restraints on staff movement, reduced staff strength, led to the cancellation of meetings, conferences, and travels (both local and international), reduced and led to the cancellation of key operations. There was also the cessation of fieldwork and community engagements, as well as the loss of funding to the CSOs. The funding landscape was also largely affected by the pandemic. Eighty-one (81%) of the CSOs reported delayed or reduced funding from donors, as well as funding restrictions and related constraints as key impacts of the pandemic on their organisational funding.

Youth and the News in Five Charts

February 3, 2021

In the rapidly changing news ecosystems of emerging economies, news outlets are struggling to remain relevant and build loyal relationships with youth audiences (18 to 35 years old). As youth populations continue to grow in low-and-middle income countries, it is critical for independent media organizations to understand and respond to the changing news habits of younger generations. A snapshot of youth news consumption habits in Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Thailand highlights that the predominance of smartphones, and increasing access to the internet and social media, is fundamentally altering how youth access, interact with, and value independent news.Youth audiences tend to access news through their smartphone, relying more on social media algorithms and news aggregators than loyalty to particular news brands.Youth generally do not feel that the traditional, mainstream news media reports on issues that are important to them, preferring to access a wider variety of news alongside other kinds of information and entertainment.Despite relying on social media for news, youth are wary about whether the information they see on the internet is true. There is a tension between the convenience social media provides for accessing news and its propensity to amplify misinformation and increase political polarization.

The Journey to Sustainability for Selected CSOs in Ghana: Experiences, Milestones, Challenges, and Lessons Learnt

January 18, 2021

This paper documents and analyses the trajectory, challenges and lessons learnt by civil society organisations (CSOs) in their effort to become sustainable. It explores the degree of relevance of four CSO sustainability convenings and three sustainability workshops which supported 106 CSOs and 56 CSOs respectively to reflect on appropriate strategies to increase their resilience and sustained impact. Its three sections contain solutions to the practical challenges related to civil society sustainability in Ghana; theoretical and practical lessons learnt. The first section focuses on the challenges faced by civil society in a bid to remain sustainable. It explains how Ghana's graduation to middle-income status resulted in donors curtailing some aid programmes in Ghana. Another challenge is the shrinking civic space with the poor regulatory, legal and environmental frameworks that limit the effective operations of CSOs. The second section focuses on the sustainability journey of CSOs in Ghana. It presents the key milestones and highlights many other aspects to sustainability, not just the financial dimension but also the identity, interventions, and operational sustainability. The third section presents valuable experiences and lessons on how organisations are responding to their sustainability challenges.This paper has two main objectives: to document and share civil society's challenges and progress towards sustainability as well as effectively use the evidence to shape the discourse on CSO sustainability in Ghana and West Africa. It is therefore important for development stakeholders in the Global North and South because it presents evidence that strongly reflects issues on the ground that would challenge preconceptions, while still maintaining a relevance to public policy and practice. It offers a broad understanding of civil society sustainability, exploring why this issue matters in the present geopolitical context, reviewing what has changed from previous analyses, and proposing ideas for what needs to change as we move forward.

Local Giving During COVID-19 in Ghana: Uncovering the Potential of Domestic Resource Mobilisation in Ghana

January 13, 2021

The rise of the novel Coronavirus disease affected the development of African countries. The flow of financial resources to support the fight against the pandemic has dwindled. The pandemic has had a severe impact on the programmes and operations of the government, private sector and civil society organisations. In Ghana, local mobilisation of resources through giving was used as an approach to generate internal resources to fight the pandemic. The West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) in partnership with the Special Attention Project and STAR Ghana Foundation, therefore, set out to investigate the trend and the scope of local giving in Ghana and assess its applicability as an alternative resource mobilisation approach for civil society organisations.The study investigated this phenomenon by adopting the mixed-method approach, which includes the use of both qualitative and quantitative surveys. The study found that Ghanaians were giving in cash and kind to support efforts to fight the pandemic. These donations were received mostly from people in the working-age group with high income. Citizens of the high social class, celebrities, leaders of religious institutions as well as members of the civil society sector also donated to the cause. From the study, Ghanaians acknowledge that CSOs have the ability to reach out and support the poor and vulnerable.However, giving directly to the civil society sector was found to be low because of citizens' perception of the sector and the difficulties in identifying organisations to support. The study recommends that government should put in place the requisite formal structures and systems for giving, to facilitate the process of giving to the sector through domestic resource mobilisation as a sustainable approach towards supporting social justice, social protection and social accountability in Ghana.However, for such an infrastructure to be exploited by local donors, CSOs are encouraged to build a strong sense of trust with local donors. They can do this by effectively communicating, ideally via face to face and or social media channels with strategically targetted audiences. According to the findings of this study, CSOs can target working age citizens (persons between the ages of 26 and 60) who have a higher ability to give, hence, are more likely to give to support social causes. 

Learning Through Play: Increasing impact, Reducing inequality

January 1, 2021

What is the potential of children's play to promote equality in outcomes and address learning gaps between children from more advantaged and less advantaged backgrounds? Drawing evidence from early childhood learning programmes across 18 countries, as well as from interviews with the authors of various contributing studies, this report aims to understand whether and how the evidence about play and learning relates to tackling the learning crisis, especially in terms of inequality in learning outcomes around the globe.This report published by the LEGO Foundation shows that play not only helps children learn, it also supports inclusion, and reduces inequality, therefore demonstrating that policymakers and international organisations need to pay close attention to play. Building on their findings, the authors suggest four areas for future investment, innovation and investigation.

Legal Literacy as Integral to Rural Women's Land Rights: The Case of WiLDAF

July 1, 2020

Available statistics indicates that, women form about 35.1% of the agricultural work force in Ghana, and account for 70% of production of subsistence crops. Also, about 90% of the labour force in the marketing of farm produce are women, yet they have limited access to and control over land and other resources necessary for economic development. Thus, the unequal access of women to productive resources such as land has largely led to a worsening poverty situation among many women resulting in increasing illiteracy rate, less access to health and education services with its associated unpaid care work. This Article examines the issue of women land rights in Ghana, focusing on legal literacy as integral to women ability to access land. The first part of this Article operationalizes basic fundamental concepts germane to the discussions. The second part mirrors down on a general overview of land tenure, contextualizing legal frameworks on land rights in Ghana. It then turns to explore the conundrum of socio-cultural issues affecting women land rights in the country. The Article then moves further to lay out the WiLDAF innovative approach in promoting women legal literacy on land rights and finally narrows in on lessons and best practices for future legal literacy and women's land rights in Ghana. Key concepts are operationalized to situate the discussion.