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WACSI and Change the Game Academy – Leading Civil Society Beyond Aid

Foreign AidCivil society in Ghana remains a key constituency in ensuring the advancement and consolidation of democratic governance. Increasingly, civil society in Ghana has begun to reflect on its sustainability due to dwindling donor funding and shifting development priorities.

It has become clear that there is a need for civil society to rethink their resource mobilisation and alliance building approaches. Domestic resource mobilisation for most CSOs is particularly difficult for several reasons including: excessive competition among numerous groups for scarce local financial resources, poorly regulated operating space for CSOs, the difficulty for CSOs in establishing credible references, practical issues with resource transfers, numerous tax issues and the lack of diversified resourcing strategies.

Furthermore, development partners are shifting their priorities and in some cases even withdrawing funding support following Ghana’s attainment of middle-income country status in 2010. Meanwhile, the pressure on civil society to be more representative and responsive is increasing and its space to operate as an independent development actor is diminishing and in other instances threatened. More than ever, it is imperative that civil society mobilises domestic resources and adopts sustainability models to be more robust and resilient.

WACSI’s work has revealed that there is an overdependence on external donor funding sources and a lack of appreciation of potential resources from local communities. In addition, civil society actors have inadequate knowledge of tools that could be utilised to raise resources from local sources.

Therefore, WACSI has partnered with the Change the Game Academy and the Wild Geese Foundation to design a pilot training and technical assistance programme to boost the domestic resource mobilisation capacity of over 6o Self Help Groups (SHGs), Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) within a period of five years.

To kick-start the partnership, eight members of WACSI’s training team were taken through a training of trainers facilitated by MDF Training and Consultancy, Netherlands in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from January 15-26, 2018. The training of trainers was a two-week intensive programme that was designed to transfer knowledge and expertise on training grassroots organisations on fundraising and mobilising community support.

The local fundraising course is designed to help CBOs and NGOs raise funds within their own communities including the middle class and companies. The course provides the opportunity for participating organisations to develop fundraising strategies and practice communication skills required to implement the plan.  In addition, a complimentary course focused on mobilising support will also be run to help CBOs and the NGOs to claim specific rights from local and national authorities. During the course, participating organisations develop a plan in which they identify their opponents and allies and plan advocacy activities.

It is envisaged that the programme will empower CSOs in Ghana to develop resource mobilisation strategies that create multiple funding streams focusing more on utilising local assets and an increased capacity to mobilise in-kind support. 

By Charles Kojo Vandyck

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