The challenges faced by civil society organizations in Nigeria in their struggle to obtain international funding were the focus of discussion during the Second National Conference on the Operating Environment of Civil Society held in Abuja last week.
Many organizations were accused of failing to consider the potential benefits of collective efforts and shared goals in their efforts to attract funding.
The conference featured panelists such as Chris Okeke, Senior Governance Advisor at the Office of Foreign Affairs, Commonwealth and Development; Oreoluwa Lasi, Founder and CEO of Women Technology Empowerment Centre; Wynyfred Egbuson, Project Director, Civil Society, Human Rights and Youth Governance, Peace and Migration Section, Delegation of the European Unionand Irene Ayanwale, Division Head, Business Support Services, Nigerian Exchange Limited, among others.
Speaking at the event, Ms. Ayanwale emphasized the importance of aligning organizational objectives to ensure focus, suggesting a thorough review of areas of focus.
Beyond that, he said it is better, on a small scale, to first do free outreach before starting to write down the cost of funding, so that such organizations can figure out if they are willing to go further with such projects or purposes. review.
“You need to run your CSO like a business, adopting and absorbing the true principles of business, although it will not be run for profit but as a community service, but it needs to be run on business principles,” he said. saying.
“The CSO must have a good financial funding character, which must also include a financial strategy and plan,” he said.
For her part, Mrs. Egbuson spoke about the importance of localization in international development with emphasis on publicizing each activity carried out.
He said publicizing each activity ensures that trust will be established for support and funding from larger organizations.
“It is necessary for each CSO to have a website and social media pages where all data and activities carried out can be disseminated for advertising purposes. “When people see what you do, it builds public trust and it builds credibility with donors,” he said.
“People can easily visit your website to see what the organization is about, its purposes, mission and objective. It will provide deeper insights.”
In his remarks, USAID Organizational Development Advisor for Strengthening Civil Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE), ThankGod Obosun, spoke about capacity building for SOs in the country.
ThankGod said there is a need to build capacity, especially among the youth.
“To achieve this, we have partnered with Nassarawa State University to integrate courses on capacity building. A memorandum of understanding has been signed and we now have educational development studies and promotion development studies as courses of study in the school,” he said.
Regulation of CSOs
At the beginning of his presentation, the Executive Director of the African Center for Leadership, Strategy and Development, Otive Igbuzo, said there is a need for CSOs to increase the call for regulations to restrict people who impersonate an organization that participates in criminal activities. including terrorism and money laundering.
Igbuzo, however, said government regulation of CSOs in most cases results in repression against advocates of transparency and accountability, making self-regulation of CSOs necessary.
READ ALSO: CSO and others push for enactment of whistleblower protection law in Nigeria
While highlighting the arguments for self-regulation of CSOs in Nigeria, stating that the development of any country requires the cooperation and partnership of government, civil society and the private sector, he however commented on the failure of the government and the approach of the private sector. on profits.
He said: “There is a growing role for civil society around the world and also a growing challenge in terms of legitimacy, transparency and accountability. Furthermore, there is increasing regulation of civil society and a demand for greater regulation. Globally, civil society organizations have developed self-regulation mechanisms.”