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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. 

A Handbook on anti money laundering and countering financing of terrorism for not-for-profit organisations in West Africa

February 8, 2022

Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) perform a vital role in different communities worldwide, often remote, and challenging/hard to reach.Their functions may include but not limited to providing relief and support to groups of the population in need in urgent crisis; advocating for peace, democracy, and the rule of law in countries that suffer deficits of the same; striving for the realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms and promoting a human rights culture in a non-violent way.Unfortunately, the FATF policy regulation has linked some non-profit organisation operations and funding to illicit sources and the facilitation of discrete processes and intent to finance terrorism.

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. 

Branding Tips for Civil Society Organisations

April 22, 2021

There is no gainsaying that branding plays a central role in ensuring the success of any corporate organ, its product(s) and/or service(s) in any market milieu, notwithstanding the challenges. When done properly, branding not only creates instant recognition for an organisation in a given niche or industry, it also builds irresistible loyalty in the minds of clients, and thus amplifies community influence, social impact, and income of the said organisation. Branding may be defined in our context as, an organisation's ability to tell its story in a manner that creates positive experiences, attracts loyalty to its mission, fosters corporate philosophy and assures stakeholders about the significance of its interventions. Branding is therefore an active rather than passive exercise. It requires a conscious and consistent effort by the organisation. In recent years, corporate branding seems to be predominantly undertaken by for-profit business entities; with little or no effort being invested in the branding of not-for-profit businesses. Nonetheless, if what is good for the goose is also good for the gander, then corporate branding is as essential for civil society organisations (CSOs) as it is for profitmaking entities. It is essential for CSOs because it is a vital means to get development stakeholders to be more informed about their work. This would enable informed development stakeholders to support an organisation's mission, programmes, and interventions.

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.

The Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon and the Imperative of the Cohabitation Pact Building Peace from the “Great National Dialogue”?

April 22, 2021

This paper intends to analyse the underpinnings of the Grand National Dialogue as a strategic and operational framework for the construction of a public problem in the crisis between the Cameroonian government and the separatist movements of the North West and South West. The dynamics and related trajectories within the framework of a complex otherness reflect the efforts of the public authorities to domesticate violence and establish the imperative of a "one and indivisible Cameroon" and of living together as structuring frameworks of solutions to crises in the country. The stake of this Grand National Dialogue also refers to the logic of de-internationalization of the treatment of the crisis; however, this dialogue did not have the desired effect. The denial for a long time focused on the crisis, combined with the problem of underdevelopment accentuated by nepotism, ethnic exclusion, corruption and marginalization, the sequence and consequence of bad governance, has been used by the separatists as a pretext to resort to arms as a means of expressing their 'grievances'.

How CSOs Can Set Up and Sustain an M&E System: An Introduction for Development Practitioners

April 7, 2021

Most civil society organisations (CSOs) grapple with the difficulty of measuring and demonstrating impact. While many factors account for this, the inability of CSOs to institutionalise and make monitoring and evaluation (M&E) an integral part of the organisational architecture is one of the greatest impediments to track performance and demonstrate results effectively. Nonetheless, the ability to measure and demonstrate impact provides the raison d'etre for continuous donor funding/support and legitimacy of many CSOs in the global south. This assertion finds more credence in the ever-changing global milieu of international development cooperation, where funding partners in the global north are increasingly fixated on better results from their partners (CSOs in the global south) to justify the use of taxpayers' money for aid. In the face of this reality, CSOs may still find it extremely difficult to show the results or impact of their work without a robust system to provide a framework for M&E and learning activities.This paper provides short practical steps to enable CSOs to set up, own their M&E system, and propel them on a path to achieving and measuring change. It shows in the end, with determination, CSOs can adopt and adapt an M&E system that is relevant to its context.

Youth Leadership in the Public Service Sector in Africa: Opportunities for Engagement?

April 7, 2021

The popular belief that the youth have not contributed much to national development in pre- and post-colonial Africa is grossly erroneous. As study has revealed that low level of active youth leadership on the continent is not due to lack of interest and effort on their part, but more because of the hostile political, economic and social environment, rigid structural barriers to youth mobility in politics and the economy in many West African countries. 'Harmful' cultural practices that require young people to defer to older ones make it hard for the youth to 'liberate' themselves (Sesay, 2014). Young people have also not been able to successfully organise themselves into workable pressure groups to effect positive political and economic change in their favour (Sesay, 2014).There is a direct link between the plight of Africa's youth and the prevailing governance systems on the continent. It is essential to convince the old political class that youth empowerment and inclusion in governance processes is a sine qua non for overall national development, peace, and security. The demographic picture of youth makes it patently evident that engaging youth fully in development is not a matter of choice, but rather an imperative for national development. In not-so straightforward circumstances of political leadership as has been observed in Africa, only some form of affirmative action can take us anywhere close to achieving democratic equity for the youth in matters of political leadership on the continent. Given the way power is exercised, the power to change these cultural contexts considerably rely on head of states who in a snap of their fingers could change the deal if they had the will; and the king-makers and advisers of both the former and the latter, who often are more influential than the head of states themselves.Equally, as today's old generation was yesterday's youth, it is imperative for young people to not become different as they grow older. Especially, as they experience the realities of power, they are encouraged not to become corrupt themselves and maintain integrity in order not to perpetuate the cycle. The youth must always remember Annan's saying: "you are never too young to lead, and you should never doubt your capacity to triumph where others have not."

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

March 30, 2021

This research report assesses the impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Liberia. The research further looks at CSOs' resilience during the pandemic, their contributions to the fight against the COVID-19, as well as their programming and operations during the pandemic. The study was informed by a sequential explanatory mixed methods design which involves first collecting and analysing the quantitative data followed by the qualitative data. It is however important to mention that the study began with a desk review where the in-country researcher reviewed existing literature on COVID-19 and its impact on the civil society sector.The findings from the review informed the development of survey questionnaires which was administered to 27 randomly selected CSOs in Liberia from the Electronic directorate of CSOs in West Africa by the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). The analysis and findings from the quantitative phase informed the design of the qualitative phase. The qualitative phase of the research collected data through Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with ten (10) CSOs comprising of eight (8) urban organisations and two (2) rural organisations randomly selected from the list of 27 CSOs who participated in the survey.

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Civil Society Organisations in The Gambia

March 30, 2021

The pandemic affected the funding of Gambian CSOs in many ways with 44% reporting delayed or reduced funding from donors. This notwithstanding, the study found that the COVID-19 pandemic has no significant impact on CSO-donor relations as the majority (43%) of CSOs consider donors to be flexible with regards to their needs.The majority of CSOs revealed that the current situation makes them feel distressed over their long-term sustainability. CSOs are not so optimistic about the effects of COVID-19 on the overall sustainability of the CSO sector with 94 % (50% to a very high extent) having this feeling. Nevertheless, the majority of the sampled CSOs (81%) reported that they had adopted the strategy of working in partnership where they actively collaborate with other CSOs in mitigating the effects of COVID-19.