Vice President of policy think tank, IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil has challenged Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to be unrelenting in effecting societal change by holding leaders accountable.
Such posturing, he believed would not only inure to sustaining public confidence in CSOs but help attract needed funding for their activities in the wake of decline in donor funds.
Mr Bentil was contributing to a panel discussion on resourcing active citizenship as part of measures to strengthen impact and sustainability of the work of civil society groups in the country.
Organised by STAR-Ghana Foundation, the multi-stakeholder meeting which had representatives from donor communities, private sector, academia and partner agencies, opened the third annual strategic learning event (SLE) of the foundation.
The SLE provides a learning platform to reflect on strategies implemented by the foundation to date and draw implications where necessary to chart its course moving forward.
“Without civil society active oversight, active pressure on our leaders, they will never do the right things.
“At the moment we are on our way to making the biggest mistake with bauxite and no one is talking about it. Everyone is quiet. If we do not actively hold them accountable things will remain the same,” he argued.
According to IMANI’s Vice President, CSOs that engaged in consistent activism were likely to secure funding as their works impacted national development.
“It is because more often than not, we have nothing to show for our activities so the donor partners are pulling out,” he stated.
Michael Ohene-Effah, co-founder of Lead Afrique, a non-governmental organisation urged CSOs to have a clearly defined vision so as to serve the best interest of the populace and not be manipulated by funding agencies.
“Make an identity for yourself so you are not compelled to do what donors want you to do. Frame your organisation around a specific course to attract needed partners,” he advised.
Mr Ohene-Effah who outlined some reasons for the decline in donor funding including mismanagement of funds called for CSOs to have organised institutional structures “such that if the Executive Director is not around, the vision can still run.”
Executive Director, Star-Ghana Foundation, Ibrahim Tanko Amidu was worried about the shift in focus of CSOs to empower citizens to doing the bidding of donors due to financial constraints.
He charged CSOs to go back to the drawing table to put necessary ‘pressure’ on authorities to implement policies and initiatives to the benefit of citizens.
By ABIGAIL ANNOH