The West African Civil Society Organization (WACSI) has organized a one-day capacity building workshop for civil society organizations (CSOs) in Accra.
The aim of the workshop was to build the ability of civil society groups, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and sector, and having considered their approaches, successes and failures to enable them work effectively for their target groups, and to influence decision making of policy makers.
The over 60 participants were drawn from various registered CSOs from all ten regions of Ghana. There were also professional associations and coalitions present at the event.
Speaking on the need for capacity building, the Executive Director of WACSI, Nana Afidzanu, said capacity building helps to equip CSOs in terms of skills and knowledge sharing, which would help to sustain them.
This, she said, is the focus of her organization; to ensure that the CSOs and the sector is strong enough to effectively influence policy making and be able to sustain themselves.
According to Nana Afidzanu, the civil society sector must be commended for how far it has established itself, through the hard work and sustainability of the CSOs.
She further observed that considering the state of the sector and how things are being done now, if care is not taken, in about 4-5 years to come, most NGOs or CSOs will not be in existence.
The WACSI Executive Director explained that adaptability, capacity building and sustainability are not taken seriously by some organizations.She was however quick to add that “But we are addressing all those issues of concern in this workshop.”
She urged the participants to make good use of the workshop and afterwards apply the skills and knowledge they would acquire in their management of work.
Nana expressed the hope that the one-day capacity building workshop would yield a fruitful outcome for the benefit of all CSOs in Ghana and West Africa.
A representative from Star-Ghana (a civil society institute and partners to WACSI), Mad. Mary Tobbin-Osei, who is the Team Leader of Star-Ghana, lauded WACSI for coming up with such an initiative.
She reiterated that capacity building prepares the organization, or individual to have knowledge and be able to take part in decision making to influence policy making.
She stated for example, that the government appointment of Nana Oye Lithur, Mr. Raymond Atuguba, and many others who prior to their appointments were civil society workers were based on the knowledge they have exhibited in the past years, and their contribution to policy making in the country.
Mad Mary said capacity building is essential, and helps the CSOs in diverse ways including managing donor-funds and putting them to maximised use and making critical opinion for policy makers to ensure sustainability.
She stated that more of such training programmes must be held to support the CSOs for them to give off their best, and called on other civil society organizations to do same.
In an open discussion on capacity building, a participant, Mr. George Abubakar, from the Northern Region opined that capacity building for CSOs must focus on two main agenda, which are: integrity and adaptation.
According to him, adaptation is the ability of the organization to continue to survive by doing things differently, or exploring new and more avenues within the vision of the organization for sustainability and effectiveness.
Integrity, he explained, has to do with the inroads made by the organization which has earned it the public trust and interest.
These, he said, when taken seriously by the CSOs would make them vibrant and ensure that they perform effectively for those they are working for, as well as towards achieving sustainability.