Establish partnerships with donor agencies for transformative development …CSOs urged

Civil society organisations (CSOs) have been urged to establish relationships and partnerships with donor or funding agencies and other organisations to ensure transformative development in communities.

In addition, CSOs have also been entreated to adopt the strategy of co-creation of ideas by jointly defining problems in communities and addressing them.

According to the Executive Di­rector of Star Ghana Foundation, Alhaji Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu, this had become import­ant due to changes in traditional flow of aids, and other con­tributing factors.

Alhaji Amidu said this at the forum and launch of an eight-year Civil Society Strengthening Programme/Shift the Power (CSSP/ StP), by Star Ghana Foundation in Accra last month.

The programme is being implemented by Star Ghana Foun­dation and the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) with funding from Comic Relief and United Kingdom (UK) Foreign Commonwealth De­velopment Office (FCDO).

It is aimed at providing long term support to Civil Society Actors (CSAs) in Ghana, contributing to their resilience, responsiveness, and effectiveness in delivering the priori­ties of its constituents.

The Shift the Power initiative is about changing mindset about how resources for development can be raised.

It is about changing paradigms about the sources and types of re­sources; what can be done creatively and innovatively with what is avail­able; and how to coordinate efforts to achieve sustainability.

The Executive Director noted that the concept of Shift the Power had been in existence over the years in different forms while highlighting the role CSOs had played over the past years by involving communities in developmental projects, though it came with its own challenges.

Similarly, he said the sustained attempt to put the concept at the front and centre of dialogue and ac­tion had been inspired by a number of developments such as the emer­gence of new social movements, activists and CSOs who tend to be quite dissatisfied with their dealings with donor, grant makers and other organisations.

This, Alhaji Amidu said required developing new ways in which donors, philanthropists, CSOs and other organisations work together, thereby, involving the communities.

“Relationships are the heart of everything. How you develop it, what you focus it on and the terms of the relationship will determine whether you are actually shifting power,” Alhaji Amidu added.

He further noted that relation­ships should not be viewed as “a one size fits all” because the way in which CSOs enter into relationships with other organisations vary and often required time for the develop­ment of trust.

According to him, using grants as the starting point of building re­lationships distorts the way donors or funders provides assistance, and therefore said partnership should precede grant making or resourcing.

“Partnerships should be based on what are the issues, what needs to be done, what are we bringing to ta­ble, and then the issue of resources can come in,” he added.

Alhaji Amidu also underscored the need for CSOs to consider ways of strengthening their capacities as part of the relationship building with donor and funding agencies.

Delivering the keynote address, the Development Director, FCDO, Ghana, Mrs Beth Cadman indicated that an estimated amount of 16 million pounds would be invested in the programme.

According to her, “the value of the programme was not just for its long term nature, but the bold step to support civil society actors to become more resilient, responsive and effective.”

The Chairperson of the Govern­ing Council of Star Ghana Foun­dation, Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, lauded the UK FCDO and Comic Relief for the initiative adding “it will be an opportunity to validate some of the values that Ghanaian societies have held dear over the years.”


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