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Participants at the convening (photo: WACSI)

Participants at the convening

WACSI, Innovation For Change Hold Conference On Alternative Funding Models For CSOs

The West Africa Civil Society Initiative (WACSI), in partnership with Innovation for Change, has put together a three-day conference in which participants are expected to share ideas on alternative funding models for civil society organizations (CSOs).

The event started on Monday, November 26, 2018, and would end by Wednesday, November 28, 2018, in Accra. The participants were drawn from Africa, Latin America and the Carribean, and also Asia in order that a wide range of enriched ideas and perspectives would be shared.

In a brief opening statement, the Regional Programme Coordinator for I4C Hub Afrique, Njambi Wagacha, noted that it was high time CSOs were fortified through various means to achieve self-reliance.

She noted that donors' interests keep shifting which means that a time would come when there would be no external funds to sustain the work of the CSOs, therefore, self-reliant is key.

Touching on the objectives of the conference, she said it is to create a space for CSOs to learn and share best practices of mobilizing funding through non-traditional approaches. It will also provide an opportunity for the CSOs to strengthen their knowledge in financial sustainability and alternative funding mechanisms.

The three-day event also sought to strengthen the capacity of CSOs to apply various innovative tools to enhance their resourcing efforts.

Meanwhile, the Head of Capacity Development Unit as WACSI, Charles Kojo Vandyck, noted that CSOs have become a key part in governance and democratisation process. He likened it to a three-legged stool which would not function properly when one of the legs is broken, stressing that when CSOs are taken out, every country's governance system would fail.

Against this background, Mr Vandyck believes CSOs attaining self-reliance for sustainability, is key. He, however, dispelled the notion that CSOs were not going to accept aid anymore.

“This doesn't mean that there will be no more aid for CSOs. Aid is something that is going to be with us, but the focus is on developing internal funding models to shift power, and diversify to reduce excessive dependence on it,” Mr Vandyck explained.

In presenting what CSOs in African need to do to be financially sustainable, he said that civil society organisations need to re-orient the mindset of staff and board members towards internal fund mobilisation.

He added that CSOs must also set up robust and agile internal accountability and transparency structures and system. Being accountable with internal funds, he said, would lead to more of such funds coming in.

Mr Vandyck also said CSOs must also cultivate a culture of innovation that promotes adaptation and experimentation. He further called on CSOs to also plan for sustainability as a core strategic objective.

The WACSI head of capacity development unit announced that a guidebook would be developed after the conference to help participants and other CSO networks.

Source: Modern Ghana

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