Happening now  !!! WACSI node Nigeria  Launched In Abuja  – To  Float Civil Resource Hub 

A deliberate and futuristic intervention  aimed at enhancing the operations of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Nigeria has led to the launch  of  the Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI)  in Abuja today.
Addressing journalists, the Executive Director  WACSI node Nigeria, Nana Afadzinu hinted that the institute ‘s launch would reduce the  dependency of the CSOs on the shrinking foreign sources of support.
In addition to launching the WACSI Node would  also hold a Tech event that will showcase what service offerings exist for civic actors in Nigeria.
With support from the Ford Foundation, WACSI is also implementing the Civic Space Resource Hub in collaboration with Spaces for Change to provide the needed resources to civil society actors in these countries to build their resilience and also confront the civic space challenges.
Specfically ,WACSI node would l act as a liaison office and connect civil society organisations and their partners to the various service offerings provided by WACSI. These include training, mentoring and coaching to strengthen capacity in institutional governance, management and operations of non-profit organisations; and this is not limited to NGOs.
 This programme targets three West African countries, including Nigeria.Civil society actors in Nigeria are therefore a key player in WACSI’s sphere of influence.
“I am particularly happy to be back in Nigeria where I worked as Country Coordinator of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) for three years from 2008, supporting Nigerian civil society organisations in their efforts to promote an open, free and inclusive society.
Today, I am back in Nigeria, with very good news for civil society actors in the country- the establishment of the WACSI node in Nigeria on 16 November 2022.This is a significant milestone for the Institute but also opens up more opportunities for civil society in Nigeria.
WACSI was conceptualised by OSIWA, in consultation with civil society in West Africa and set it up in 2005 with its base in Accra, Ghana.”Nana Afadzinu  said
Lamenting  that the  Civil Space in Nigeria like many other West African countries is shrinking and creating a disenabling environment for its effectiveness, the institute is expected to open more opportunities  and  create greater access for partners.
According to the Dirextor, WACSI’s pool of Associates based in Nigeria would be developed further and expanded,” this presents an opportunity to showcase the knowledge, capabilities, and capacity of Nigerian professionals and civic actors, not only nationally but internationally.
“As a regional organisation, WACSI’s longstanding engagement with ECOWAS will also be enhanced with its presence in Abuja.
Going down the memory lane Nana Afadzinu said the  Institute began operations in 2007 with the mandate to strengthen civil society in West Africa.
It focus is to ensure  responsive, collaborative, representative, resilient and influential partnership amongst CSOs through knowledge sharing, learning, connecting and influencing.
” Over the past 15 years of dedicated service to civil society organisations, the Institute has equipped 8,899 participants from 5,452 civil society organisations. These participants came from across the world.
“Over the years  we  have witnessed a keen interest in our programmes by civil society actors in Nigeria. WACSI’s programmes have so far benefited over 1392 participants from 1004 organisations in the country.
“WACSI being physically present in Nigeria now means, Nigerian CSOs can easily access our services and trainings to build their capacity to be able to mobilise domestic resources and become sustainable.
“The pandemic also exposed the vulnerability of CSOs to digital security threats and the technological capacity gaps plaguing actors within the sector.
“We also noticed an increased interest in our programmes by civil society actors in Nigeria in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic. From a study WACSI commissioned to ascertain the extent of the impact of COVID-19 on CSOs in Nigeria, it became evident that CSOs were significantly affected, negatively.
” Out of the 80 CSOs who took part in the survey, 38.4% reported to have funding reductions from major donors whereas 58.1 % CSOs were unable to raise any domestic resources during the pandemic to complement external donor funding.  55.8% of the CSOs agreed that they did not have the capacity to mobilise domestic resources.” the Director said .
“In response to the technological capacity gaps faced by CSOs in the country, the Institute, with support from TechSoup Global, donated 14 laptops to 6 organisations, relevant software, and training to enable effective use of these. This was a pilot project that was notably beneficial to the institutions that benefitted from it and based on the results, WACSI is pursuing more opportunities to support needy civil society organisations in a like manner.
“Given the large number of civil society organisations in the country, comprising of approximately 46,000 non-governmental organisations (and counting) across the six geo-political zones of the country, it became evident to the board and management of WACSI that to be more responsive to the demands of civil society in Nigeria, we needed to make the Institute’s services easily accessible and more affordable to civic actors in Nigeria.
“One way to do this, in addition to others that we are already undertaking such as providing services online, is to address the proximity challenge and especially make WACSI’s services available to organisations and civic actors that may not have the means to engage effectively online.
 “There are several hard-working civic actors and organisations that are not in the big cities and many may not have easy access to the capacity building opportunities.
“And like the popular saying goes, “Naija no dey carry last”, this has been the case even for us at WACSI. Civil Society actors in Nigeria have over the years been at the forefront of requesting support and using WACSI’s services and resources every year.
“We have had many of these participants travelling from different parts of Nigeria to take part in some of our training programmes in Accra, Ghana and in other regional programmes. In some cases, our programmes team travel to Lagos or Abuja to deliver programmes in the country.
Outlining the gains of the Institute, Nana Afadzinu  said “over the years, through our flagship internship programme, (Next Generation Leadership Programme) and our mid-level Civil Society leadership programme, WACSI has enhanced the civic consciousness and professional capacity of sixty-nine (69) young graduates from sixteen (16) African countries who had an interest in the work of civil society.
“Ten of these graduates (representing about 14 percent of the beneficiaries of the programme) are from Nigeria.
” Many of them have emerged to be key players within the sector today. WACSI can also boast of great talents from Nigeria who are part of our diverse workforce and associates. ” Accra, Ghana.” Nana Afadzinu  posited.

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