After completing my first degree in Philosophy, I have incessantly questioned and reflected on the tangible role of philosophy in the new corporate world order. At the time of my undergraduate studies, it was easy to jump onto the ‘bandwagon’ of philosophy students who have always prided themselves in the notion that they represented the greatest “think tanks”for designing creative policies, identifying lapses in judgment and probing codes of behavior.Yet, I felt empty after my university education. The road map that led me onto this academic journey appeared to be a dead end. My accounting, marketing and medical student colleagues could pin-point their relevance in concrete terms, such as balance sheets, advertising and surgery in any organization.
MY INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE
My first degree programme in Integrated Development Studies (IDS) aimed at effectively combining theory with community-participatory dimensions. Its paramount goal was to grapple with environmental problems and socio-economic deprivations that affect Northern Ghana in particular, and other regions across the country. In order to apply what I learnt, I applied and was successfully chosen to be a field research intern at West Africa Civil Society Institute within the Institute's Next Generation Internship Program. My first week at WACSI consisted of technical and administrative procedures, such as establishing an email account. However, from the second week on, I started working on the civil society e-directory project.
Grooming Young Professionals
Civil society is a strategic partner in state building and development. Civil society organisations (CSOs) in many parts of Africa and the world at large are at the forefront of calls for effective policies, good governance, sustainable development, peace and transparency in state affairs.The role of civil society is to make democracy work by bringing people’s issues and the voices of the marginalised to the social and political arenas. Civil society actors contribute towards delivering public services and facilitating democracy and development at the grassroots.Civil society shapes public agenda and influences public policies. They promote the values of human rights, social justice, participation, accountability and pluralism that make democracy and development meaningful. In addition, they hold governments and multi-lateral organisations to account for their policies, programmes and actions.
Raising a New Cadre of Civil Society Practitioners in West Africa
In September 2007, WACSI designed an initiative to identify and build-up new leaders that could proffer practicable solutions to the contemporary challenges confronting West African civil society. The “Next Generations Internship Programme” has become a veritable tool for the institute to discover these prospective leaders that will enlarge the group of civilian actors in West Africa.
INTERNSHIP REPORT BY BASSEY ALAGA
The Next Generation Internship which commenced in January 2008 aims at developing the next generation of competent civil society actors and leaders. The programme is designed to help interns appreciate the challenges of the contemporary world from a civil society perspective and to equip them with the requisite knowledge, leadership and communication skills to function in the civil society sector.
The overall objective of the programme is to develop the abilities of interns in the core areas of policy research and documentation, policy-oriented thinking and advocacy,training and facilitation. The specific objectives of the programme are to enable interns:
- Gain a deeper understanding of the civil society sector
- Acquire professional work experience
- Have the opportunity to contribute to the development of the ECOWAS region
Improving Capacity Building for Civil Society Organisations in West Africa
That civil society is a strategic partner in state building and development is a fact which is increasingly being acknowledged by many. Civil society organisations (CSOs) in many parts of West Africa have been at the forefront of calls for effective policies, good governance, sustainable development, peace and transparency in state affairs.CSOs in West Africa are increasingly getting involved in developmental processes. Thisis demonstrated by the continuous increase in the number of civil society actors in theregion. This increase notwithstanding, its impact is still to be felt in many part of the subregion because most of these organisations are faced with the challenge of limited institutional and technical capacities.